Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Paradox of Fear

Opportunities are what we make out of the circumstances surrounding us; they don’t come into our life broadcast on flashing billboards, we have to create them. At this very moment our life is full of opportunities, all we have to do is to take the chance and go for them, without looking back.
We tend to hesitate whenever a new door opens in front of us, presenting the chance to try something different. The fear of the unknown freezes us; just the thought of leaving our comfort-zone blocks our nature and immediately switches the “security button” to protect us from any collateral damages. Our very well trained brain raises all the possible alarms we can imagine, and immediately starts telling us: “You don’t stand a chance, this is not for you! You must be crazy if you are thinking on risking everything to follow a dream! What if you lose everything?”
These thoughts and many others populate our mind, convincing ourselves that we are better off doing what we already know than trying something else. We keep reminding ourselves that we can’t afford to daydream, losing the perspective and taking a chance of doing something that is not worth the risk. As a result we choose to keep walking through the paths we already know, the ones that don’t scare us or threaten our self-esteem, even if that means living in discontent.
Naturally we are inclined to believe that things will not work out, paradoxically it will take the same amount of energy and faith to believe the opposite, but instead we choose to trust our fear.
How can we accomplish the realization of the self if we are followers of fear?
Fear blocks our possibilities of becoming who we can be, since we allow it to grow bigger than our faith in ourselves. How can we do that to ourselves? How can we allow that False Evidence Appearing Real to take over and decide who we are?
Isn’t transformation the foundation of our own existence? Can we transform without embracing risk and change?
To be alive is to be fully present in the now, aware of the chances we are holding in our hands and acting on them. To be alive is to dream, believe, transform, experiment, love, to have faith as well as doubts, it is also to be afraid and above all to find the balance in between all of them.
Experiencing fear is a reminder that we are alive, fear should be embrace and let it be, we need to feel it and face it, but we do also need to have faith in ourselves and the courage to transform.

“There is much in the world to make us afraid.
There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid.”
~Frederick W. Cropp

Today, now, exactly at this moment do something you have been postponing for a long time. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake or failing, just follow you heart, listen to it and let things be; bear in mind that failing doing something we love is much more worthy than succeeding in something we hate.
Today, now, exactly at this moment tell your comfort-zone: “I’m leaving…”

“Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile...
initially scared me to death”
~Betty Bender

© 2010 Gabriela Abalo

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ten things that make me happy

"If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator. He will not be striving for it as a goal in itself. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life twenty-four crowded hours of the day."
~W. Beran Wolfe

I have been tagged and asked to make a list of the ten (10) things that make me happy. I’m glad I have been asked to do so, as it gave me the chance to really look and distinguish in between the things that really make me happy and the ones that are not that meaningful.
So, I let my heart do the talking, my hands do the writing and my soul to do the observations. After thoughtful deliberations the ten things that make me happy were spelled out and written down.

1.Teaching Yoga: each class is a journey, each student is different, some are very flexible but not strong, others are strong but not flexible, while others are both or none. Some get frustrated, some embrace the challenge, some struggle but keep trying and others give up. But at the end of each class we all have the same peaceful and content face, a perfect portray of how we feel when a quiet balance has been achieved.

2. Writing: I ponder about everything; I’m a seeker, an observer, an investigator, a risk-taker, a moderator, communicator, provocative and a passionate person. Writing is my way to convey all that and more. I’m very happy and thankful every time I get comments in my blog or someone is willing to talk about some of my posts.

3. Love: being in love and making love without boundaries and reservations.

4. Being me: living life to the fullest, knowing that I’m special in my very own way, expressing who I am without uncertainties or fears. Trying not to take life for granted and ensuring that this is my chance to become who I want to be, while respecting that others have the same right too.

5. Family and friends: for loving me just the way I am

6. Photography: rediscovering the magic and beauty of the unseen world, bringing to light the unnoticed, paying attention to the details, appreciating the whole universe. Recognizing that everything is unique and special in its very inimitable/unusual way.

7. Conversing: having a great tête-à-tête with a good glass of wine with anyone that is up for it.

8. Reading: Reading takes you to places, opens your mind, feeds the soul, liberates the spirit and broaden our choices. Each book or written text is unique, each of them introduces us to different worlds, ideas, realities, cultures, adventures, passions, miseries, etc. I have been reading books since I was eight years old, books have been, and still are my best teachers.

9. Traveling: knowing and experiencing different countries, races, traditions, languages, religions and realities are one of my biggest passions in life. Traveling is like reading a book, with the bonus that one is one of the main characters in it.

10. Flowers: I do believe that flowers have feelings, and that those feelings extend to the human beings who tend them. Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.

Those are some of the things that make me happy. What about you? What rocks your life?

I’m tagging you! Yes, you, the one reading this post, the one that is right now pondering about what really makes you happy. So, take a few minutes, write them down and promise yourself to enjoy at least one of them once a day…

I would love to know what makes you happy.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

When did we become strangers?

I keep asking myself the same question over and over again, as if trying to get an answer that will somehow ease my unsettledness. As time passes by, the sense of uncertainty, discomfort and detachment keep hunting me down, taking control and suffocating me.
Today, I didn’t go to the local pub as I usually do, I’m tired of pretending I’m having the time of my life, when the reality is that it sucks. So, here I’m, sitting on a bench at the square located two blocks away from “our home”, while attempting to kill some time before heading back to our house.
At the pub we all act as if we are there by choice. We watch the news, drink some beers, and smoke a few cigarettes while laughing to some dull jokes. A sad attempt to disguise what really is keeping us there. We all have families to go to, but none wants to do so, as many do not feel welcome any more. By unspoken understanding we don’t discuss our feelings, instead we talked generalities and pretend to be having the time of our life. Then after an hour or two one by one starts heading back to their quarters - which very few can still call home – the parade is over, it’s time to get back to reality…
So, here I am asking myself once again: Where is the woman I married? When did we become strangers? What happened to us? Do you still love me? I want to ask you all these and a hundred more questions, but I can’t do so… You don’t have time for me anymore. When I wake up in the mornings you are already running around the house, getting the children ready for school, shouting and complaining while trying to stop their fights. My presence at the breakfast table goes unnoticed, except for the times when something is broken, or you need some extra money to pay an unexpected bill. You are so busy with the house and the children that you hardly notice I left for work.
Getting back home has no resemblance with what it used to be before the children were born. You do not light candles and fill the bathtub anymore, or dress up to wait for me, or cook a special dinner, or drag me into the sofa so I can sit to listen to your dreams, adventures or the book you were reading.
I miss very much the way we used to laugh, hug, share dreams and life. I miss us!
Here, sitting all by myself, while indifferently watching people passing by, I ask myself once again: When did we become strangers? Was it something I did? What can I do to have our romance back?
The day I married you I knew you were the woman of my dreams, my soul mate, my everything. I pictured our life together, as a couple, sharing the chores, the children, the ups and downs of life. But, I never anticipated we were to end up like this: two strangers sharing the table and the bed…
You don’t know me anymore; you stopped asking me about my work, my dreams and my feelings. You also stopped calling me at work, just to tell me how much you miss me and that you wanted me with you.
What has happened to you? Why did you give up on yourself and therefore on us? You hate your body and hide it from me, ashamed of your stretch marks, your fatty and fluffy tummy and the wrinkles around your eyes. You don’t believe me when I say that I love you just the way you are. That love is more than physical appearance or finding someone to go to bed with. Love is to wake up every morning with the same person and falling in love again despite the imperfections. I hope you believe me when I said: “You are beautiful because I love you” I wish that was more than enough for you…
Whenever I try to start a conversation your reaction is always the same, you either look at me suspiciously and on guard -as if I was the carrier of very bad news - or you just tell me flat and plain: “I’m too busy and tired to discuss nonsense”.
If you just knew how much I wish to come home and find you and the children happily waiting for me. But instead, all I find is them hiding from me and the punishment you promised them from me for not being good. As for you, well… either you are too busy to even notice I’m home or you rush to me to complain about everything. So, I do what everybody is expecting me to do: sit on the sofa, remove my shoes, get the remote control and watch the news until dinner is served.
During dinner the children fight and you shout at them at the top of your lungs: “Stop fighting, I’m sick and tired of all of you” and then you turn and look at me in disbelief while saying: “Aren’t you going to do something? You are their father; you must put control and discipline!” Those are the times when I also want to shout back: “I’m also sick and tired of all this crap!” But instead I zip my mouth, put my head down and let you believe you are right.
At that moment I hate you, not for what you are, but for what I’m when I’m with you…
I don’t know how much longer I will be able to cope with this and which is the way out. Shall I keep drinking at the bar? Shall I find a lover that makes me feel the way you used to make me feel? Or shall I confront you and open up?
With these thoughts in his mind he begins to head back “home”… Counting his steps and breathing slowly, in a desperate last attempt to freeze time.

© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pondering about

And here I was worrying about which dress will I wear tonight, till I read the news!

The New Slave Trade in South Africa: an article exposing one of the many samples of human trafficking happening around us. Thousands of HIV’s orphans are being forced by poverty and lack of social security to leave school in search of some kind of work that allows them sustaining themselves and their siblings. These children are being sold as sexual slaves against their will and therefore forced to work the streets and exposed to all type of psychological and physical abuse. Many of them never see a Tomorrow! (source Yahoo News)

Some see racist theme in alien adventure 'Avatar': the main complaint is: “Why does it always have to be a white person saving the world?” Apparently people are not happy with the movie because the main character was played by a white actor, insisting that the message could have been stronger if it was played by a black actor instead. To be honest the last thing I noticed was the color of the actor! And there I was thinking that the movie was great as it tackles several controversial issues being faced by humanity today, like: capitalism, pitiable moral values, racism, and destruction of nature (I really cried when the big tree was shot down). (source Yahoo News)

Woman arrested for throwing her baby into the garbage container: an NGO Social Worker gave birth on a toilet, and then put the baby on a plastic bag and through it to the garbage container. The body was discovered by one homeless that was searching for food on the containers. The “very well educated” social worker didn’t show any sign of regret or remorse for what she did. (source diario El Pais - Uruguay)

Immigrants run away after violent “hunting” in Rosarno: Around 1,300 immigrants have to run away from an Italian province, as they were being hunted down for protesting against exploitation and unfair labour conditions. 65 of them were wounded during the clashes and many will be deported to their country of origin. (source diario El Pais - Uruguay)

Swiss vote to ban new mosque minarets: Voters in Switzerland have approved a proposal to ban the construction of minarets on mosques, according to results of a referendum held Sunday. The nationalist Swiss People's Party, the largest party in parliament, had pushed for the national vote after labeling the mosque towers as symbols of militant Islam.
Walter Wobmann, president of a committee that backed the initiative, said its aim is not to stop people from practicing their religion, but to stop political Islam and the "further Islamization of Switzerland."
Supporters of the ban claim that allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and the Islamic legal system Shariah, which they claim are incompatible with Swiss democracy.
Amnesty International, though, has warned that such a ban would violate Switzerland's commitment to religious freedom. (extracted from CBS News)

Church attacks in Malaysia deepen racial tension: Christian churches are being targeted by Muslim’s groups. The ministry said the attacks were perpetrated by extremists who wanted to weaken the country's commitment to racial harmony, one of the key draws for foreign investors. "These were not just attacks on houses of worship, they were attacks on the values and freedoms all Malaysians share," the statement said. The attacks were triggered by a Dec. 31 High Court decision that overturned a government ban on the use of "Allah" by Roman Catholics in the Malay-language edition of their main newspaper, the Herald. The ban and the ruling also apply to Malay-language Bibles, 10,000 copies of which were recently seized by authorities because they translated God as Allah. (source Yahoo News)

Marconi, the most unsecured township of Montevideo: a not go place even for the police at night. Total lack of public security. Delivery services are being arranged outside the townships so as to avoid the dangerous areas. Police suggest creating a permanent police station to bring security back to the place. But there is nothing about how to resolve the social-economic problem causing Marconi to be a no go town. (source diario El Pais Uruguay)


It doesn’t matter to which country’s newspaper we look at, the news will still be alike, with different actors and different settings, but the root of the issues will still be the same: disproportion, poverty, discrimination, materialism, analphabetism, egocentricity, intolerance, etc.
The distressing part of all this, is that despite our knowledge on what is going on and what is causing it, nothing really changes. If we stop reading news papers and/or watching the news for two months or more, the only thing that will change will be the date of the day.
After reading the news I couldn’t help it but wonder: “What is going on? Where are we going? How can we find a solution that brings harmony and reconciles the differences, that helps us to remember that we are all and one and act accordingly? Something that helps us look at each other as equals instead of looking down at anyone who tries to be different.
How are we supposed to live a decent and kindhearted life while we are so conscious of the horrors, the injustices and the darkness of humankind? Maybe the answer lies on the fact that we need to accept to live our life in the center of this absurdity and discrepancy, because they are part of who we are and life would crumple without them. The contradictions and the absurdities help us to realize who we want to be. There are no right answers to this dilemma and all what is required from us is a life lived in consciousness of its human quality and spiritual significance.

“Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of humankind.
Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of people.
I have wished to know why the stars shine.
Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.
This has been my life; I found it worth living.”
Bertrand Russell

I’m still pondering on the news and our knowledge on its causes, I’m still pondering on what you and I can do!

© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Everybody’s business

“She is gone… She left… She is with another man…” That is what rumors said…

But are they true? Who knows?

Her husband is looking desperate and destroyed; he is puzzled and is crying all the time. Everybody around is feeling sorry for him and the children. He is saying that she left because she is not in love with him anymore, that she is confused and needs time on her own. But, that is only his version as nobody knows hers.
“How could she do something like that? She is a bad woman, a very selfish one! How could she leave her children? A mother should never do that!”

Everybody knows better than everybody else. They do not have a clue of what is really going on, but they believe they do. So, they spend hours discussing, arguing and judging, convinced that they have a right to do so, as if it is everybody else's business to question someone else's life.
Some feel offended as she went without saying goodbye and/or explaining herself to them. The speculations are many, enough to write a book. But, are they true?
Some did contact her through email, facebook and the chat, but she is not explaining herself to them… “How could she do something like that? They are her friends, they do care and they want the best for her!"

But, is that true?”

“She does not love him! She is bored with her life and only wants to have fun; hence her family is a hassle to her. That’s why she left!” One of them says with conviction while they others nod in agreement.
They are upset with her for taking a step without consulting with them first. That is not how it is supposed to be done. How could she think only of her happiness? Once you are a wife and a mother, you should forget about yourself as they are your life and nothing else should really matter.

But, is that true?

“She is back! She realized she made a mistake, because her place is with her family” says someone.
“She could not get a job and a good life, like the one she had with her husband, that’s why she is back” another says.
“Have you seen her husband? He is looking so happy to have her back; he has forgiven her for going away. He does not realize she is using him” says some else.
Once again the rumors go through the small town, from mouth to mouth, from house to house, from place to place…

But, are they true? Who knows! Only she knows…

Nevertheless, what disturbed them all is that she is not explaining herself despite all their efforts to really know.
When asked, her answer is always the same: “Why do you want to know?” and with a mysterious smile she keeps looking at them right into their eyes…. as if she has nothing to hide.

© 2010 Gabriela Abalo – Author

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