Saccharine Irony

This site is a compilation of fluid thoughts, a collection of poetry, random glimpses of humor and tragedy, spontaneous notions of an extremely sensitive mind.

How to be a Happier Person January 28, 2011

Filed under: confessions,Life,Love — Aimee @ 1:04 am
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Because my mornings these days are unusually cold – it’s been raining since the year started – I usually spend a little more time in bed, curled up, sometimes with eyes closed, oftentimes staring into the windows, thinking of random things. Yes there are people I think about more than the others – okay one person in particular these days, but that’s another story – and then without realizing how it really happens – but it does – my thoughts make a detour and I realize I’m a whole lot happier now.

I’m no guru whatsoever but I will list here some of the ways that can make you a much happier, more balanced person. I realized all these the previous year, and almost all of these discoveries I made through my own personal journey. After all they say that when you are able to get through a most devastating heartbreak, you can get through almost anything. So here:

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from gettyimages

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1. Stop building walls. Walls can make you feel safe, but they won’t make you any happier. Be as open as you possibly can, but guard yourself. People will always disappoint you, walls or no walls.

2. Throw away your expectations. The biggest culprit to our many little unhappinesses and even the huge heartbreaking ones is having way too many expectations. We often love because we want to be loved back, we become good to people because we expect them to be good to us. And while reciprocation will definitely make our lives a lot pleasanter, what happens when none is given? Unhappiness.

3. Give help. Generously, happily. So you have to put in extra hours at work, without the assurance of overtime pay? Or a friend is in desperate need of a wedding planner and she has enlisted you as one of the volunteers. If we give help generously, happily, we become happier. Why? Because you realize you are needed, you have skills. You are not a waste of space.

4. Pray. It doesn’t matter which faith you belong to, says a friend. When you pray, in praise, adoration, thanksgiving, or supplication, you recognize that a greater power is at work. But then you can’t just simply pray. You have to have faith; you have to believe in your prayers. Praying without faith is an insult.

5. Feed on your faith. Stop your senseless worrying and feed your faith. Did your worrying ever get you anywhere? Nope, except maybe at the ER or perhaps  at your friend’s house while you’re bawling over your imagined anxieties.

6. Laugh. Find hilarity in everything- when your Mom is in a bad mood, when you’re stuck in traffic just when you’ve decided never to be late again, or when people are less sensitive than usual. Try to distance yourself from these things, and since you know things fall into place eventually, laugh.

7. Be grateful. It has been said that when you don’t see your blessings as blessings, they become curses. How chillingly true. So be thankful for everything. Be thankful that the sun streams through your window, be thankful that your phone is working, be thankful that you have your eyesight, be thankful that you have your friends. Or that you have a crazy family. Be thankful even when things are not looking too good. Everything, yes everything, is a reason for gratitude.

8. Forgive in a heartbeat. Let go of all your grudges. Allow yourself to be angry but never for far too long. Forgive people, forgive circumstances, and best of all forgive yourself. Love cannot exist without forgiveness.

9. Love the world. You can never be happy without love, without knowing how to love, without knowing how to love without selfishness, without expectations, without wanting anything in return. And the only way you can love the world is to freely give love. Love everyone. Love your friends, love your colleagues, love the people who exasperate you, love your annoying neighbor, love those who are of a different faith,  even learn to love the people you know you will be meeting in this lifetime but have not met yet.

I know loving people you don’t necessarily like is a huge paradox. But you don’t have to all at once. Oftentimes, the willingness to do so is enough. And when you’ve learned to love, without reservations, without necessarily picking who to love and who not to love, you are no longer captive to your expectations, your need for reciprocation, your craving for attention. You love just because. No whys, buts, and ifs.

In the end, only love can make us happy. Because to love is to be courageous, to love means putting your heart out for everyone, to be fish and fodder for everyone (I got this from the corporate worship last night and I was moved). To love is to accept people for who they are and who they are not and to choose to love them anyway.

The scared ones never get to know what love is like, and so the scared ones are unhappy. And if you have only this life to live, wouldn’t it be a wiser choice to live it in happiness, in peace, in friendship, in faith? In love?

So cheer up, have courage, love, and be a sunshine to everyone. You just might end up doing at least one person, possibly even yourself,  a really huge favor. 🙂

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Books, Chocolate, Art December 29, 2010

Filed under: books,Life,Love,Women — Aimee @ 4:20 am
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Yesternight I went to Odessa’s house to drop off the shoes which she’ll paint for me. She’s one of those people whose creativity I deeply admire, and as I’ve known her since primary school, she’s also one of my oldest friends. As a Christmas present of sorts, I gave her the critically-acclaimed book, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. A story about a daughter’s love and longing for her mother and the unexpected places we find love in this lifetime, this book is high on my list of favorites. I hope she’ll love it as much as I did.

And oh, she gave me this too:

Cadbury Caramello. Yay! Right now it’s still in the fridge, sitting all pretty. I’ve yet to finish the Toblerones, Snickers, and a bit of the Ferrero which my sister took home. And then this dark, chewy beauty. Chocolate, how I love thee!

 

The Peacock, Patricia Ariel

I’ll post a pic of the painted shoes here next time. I’ve chosen a peacock pattern for her to paint, and am positive she’ll outdo herself, like she always does. 🙂

 

The Year That Was December 22, 2010

Years from now, if I had to look back on a particular year in my life I will definitely find 2010 to be one of the most remarkable. Not because I’ve spent this year traveling (which I really intend to do very soon) or that I’ve finally come home to my soul mate (a.k.a fallen in love, for good :p) or that I’ve finally found my one place under the sun.

Let’s just say that for this year alone, I’ve learned everything I should have and could have ever learned in the past 27 years or so.  Not everything of course; I know the lessons will never stop coming, but for this year, I know that I have gained more than I have lost. And I believe with my whole heart that I will gain back everything that I may have lost in the past.

First, let me tell you about my control issues. I’m a planner, the most fastidious you may have ever seen. I’m fond of lists too, and in my mind I used to have my future all planned out. Grocery lists, things-to-do lists, things-to-shop-for lists,  marriage plans, vacation lists, list, list, list, list. I plan not merely for the sake of organizing, but more on being able to retain my control. No planner is ever without a list and I’m the planner queen of all planner queens.

I demand control in almost anything and if I don’t get it, well you HAD TO give it to me. Many people who love me know this. And this is why they spend half their time loving me and half their time hating me. Me and my affinity for control and everything that comes with it.

But then I realize that control is selfishness. I was a fool to realize that I control anything or anyone. Yes, I can plan, I can list, I can look forward to a future that isn’t here yet, but I cannot control anything. If it comes, it comes. If not, then why should I lose sleep over it? Why should we sleep over things that are not meant to be? I’ve been juvenile and I’ve been selfish and this year I decided to grow up or at least try to.

I don’t know whether I have gotten rid of all my control issues, but what I’m sure of is that I’ve stopped asking questions. And I’ve stopped demanding the answers right here and right now. I’ve stopped wondering why there are so many questions, or why some things are and some things aren’t.

I’ve finally learned what faith is all about.

I look back on my life and now see all the blessings I’d been given and up until now I get teary-eyed thinking about how ungrateful I had been. No, not teary-eyed, I bawl my eyes out. Seriously. The very reason for my unhappiness had been my ungratefulness. And pride. And for this year, I’ve finally decided to throw them into the shredder and let go.

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Immediately after celebrating the New Year festivities in January of this year, I went on a hiking trip with my brother and his male friend, after having visited about seven or eight churches within the city. My brother then had a special petition for the heavens, but I joined them for a completely different reason. I wanted to pray for a meaningful year, I wanted to offer my thank-yous, and I wanted inner peace. The hiking trip had been the last of our sojourn, and to get to a hilly chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe, we had to traverse a long stream about eighteen times or nine times back and forth. So it was a short hike for a few minutes and then a battle with the currents for longer minutes. We were wet thigh-high, and we had to carry wooden sticks to keep our balance. The small chapel was located on a hilly area, and at the distance you can make out the mountains and some horses and the thick forest. It was a quiet place for meditation and prayer and I remember lighting a few candles as I whispered my gratitude and contrition, my pain and my hopes.

At that time, I wanted to do something to mark out the new year, I wanted to greet another year by doing something concrete about my spirituality. And now that the year is about to draw to a close, I could not have picked a better way to embrace 2010, and for the coming year, I expect to mark out its beginning by doing the same thing. Visit churches, pray, hike, traverse rivers, light candles, and pray.

Because really, we are not here to control anything, or to ask questions, or to demand the answers. We only do the best that we can, nothing more. We can only offer thanks to a Master and a Creator who has designed this universe, this world so beautifully and skillfully that even the brightest minds find themselves perplexed and asking even more questions.

And yes, we are here to love. To love and love and love. To love everyone without exception, to love without ceasing, to love without pride, and to love without shame.

After all, we get what we give. And if only everyone gave out love, all the world would have love.

🙂

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

 

Proud of her Faith, Proud to be a Christian

Filed under: Saccharine thoughts — Aimee @ 12:12 pm
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On that note, Merry Christmas everyone!

May we always remember the child who was born in a manger in Bethlehem, who grew up to preach us about love, peace and forgiveness, and gave the world salvation.

 

May your Holidays be filled with love, laughter, and peace of heart. 🙂

 

Who would have thought… October 9, 2010

Filed under: Food — Aimee @ 4:54 am
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that I could bake bread from scratch, dough kneading and all, and actually get decent, edible (LOL!) results? For the longest time, I wanted to serve fresh bread for breakfast, with jams or eggs or cheese, and more than anything, I also wanted to knead dough on my own. During my baking class last year, we had to do this sweet roll recipe by groups, so the effort had been more or less collective. And since then I’ve wanted to try the recipe again, except that I never got around to buying yeast and never got the time and the audacity to try baking bread on my own.

 

these rolls are made for eatin'

But I tried, and I baked, and now there are about two dozen fresh sweet rolls in the kitchen! They taste good, with the cheese and the butter, and the egg wash making them all nice and crisp and golden, but next time I plan on adding more milk, to add more moisture and softness to the dough. But this first, single-handed attempt at baking bread and serving them for breakfast the following day is already a feat for me. Yay. Today I wish I had a pizza oven so I can start making home-made gourmet pizzas. Daydreams! 🙂

 

Carrot Pineapple Muffins and Some Lovin’ September 21, 2010

Filed under: Food — Aimee @ 1:28 pm
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So today I gave in to some baking frenzy and hit the kitchen just after lunch. The recipe on the agenda: carrot pineapple muffins. I baked a carrot pineapple loaf cake as well, but I just couldn’t resist using those yummy-colored muffin liners I have sitting inside some drawer, so I decided to bake some muffins too. Well, they came out perfect, in all their orange-tinged glory, with the pineapple giving them a palpable sweetness that’s full to the bite.

muffins! now, some coffee please!

Got this recipe from my baking class last year, which essentially just consists of flour, sugar, eggs, butter, shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, baking soda and baking powder. And I added a dash of salt as well, a teaspoon of vanilla, and then lots of love. The last ingredient I think is very, very important. You can’t make a cookie, a cupcake, or a muffin come out perfect without some lovin’. 🙂

Next on the baking frenzy list, perhaps a week from now, are some sweet rolls, which I’ll be making with one-part all purpose flour and one part cake flour, mixed in with generous amounts of milk and topped with pats of butter and lotsa cheese. I can almost smell the rolls just by talking about them! I cannot wait for breakfast tomorrow. And some muffins and coffee and conversations with family.

It’s just Tuesday but why do I feel like it’s already the weekend? 🙂

 

Resolutions of an Impulsive Shopaholic Part 2 September 12, 2010

Filed under: Fashion,Mall Trips,Shopping and Fashion — Aimee @ 2:46 pm
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Three years ago I made a confession about my being an impulsive shopper, or in worse terms, an impulsive shopaholic. Freedictionary defines a shopaholic as someone who shops compulsively or frequently. In my case, I tend to shop frequently and impulsively, hence impulsive shopaholic. I’m sensing you get my point, yesh?

So that being said, I have a few more resolutions to make. In the first blog entry I wrote about making resolutions on my impulsive shopping habits, I remember having resolved to buy only books during mall trips, nothing else. No frilly top, structured handbag, or a nice pair of butterfly earrings. This resolution worked under the premise that books always make excellent investments, no matter that they are bought impulsively. Of course, I will have to update my wardrobe now and then (After all, who wants to be seen in the same dress on three different occasions? A bit of accessorizing, and full-blast shopping, can go a loooong way), but if I should feel the need to shop without thinking, it will have to be books, books, and books.  After all I can re-read them anytime I want, recommend them to friends and lend them for reading, and use them to fill up my living room bookshelf, which my future home should not be without.

This time however I am resolving to put a halt to my impulsive shopping tendencies, period. Even my book purchases will have to be planned, and if I do want to shop on impulse, I will have to do so at the nearest Book Sale bookstore and not in any of the branches of National Bookstore where a single paperback can easily cost me a little less than 500 pesos. At the Book Sale, I can buy second-hand copies of good books at 100 pesos or even less. One time, I was able to get a copy of The Secret Life of Bees at only 50 pesos. In the course of a few months, I have almost tripled or quadrupled my book collections. There are many newer titles which the Book Sale doesn’t have however, so I will still need to shell out a bit for my NBS or PowerBooks and Fully Booked trips. But on impulsive days, at least I won’t be 500 bucks poorer and then spend an entire week wishing I could kick myself in the butt. Books are always great investments but I don’t have to buy a new one when I still have some credit card bills to worry about!

Last week, I spent some days cleaning my closet and discovered a few handbags which I have stored in black garbage bags for safekeeping. Some of them were from 3 or 4 years ago, and are still in very excellent condition. Just because I was in the mood for some cleaning, I checked out my shoe boxes too and realized that I actually have a few pairs which haven’t seen the light of day in years. Cute suede loafer with kitten heels, some pointy black denim flats, and patent wedges. Now why do I need to buy some new shoes when I still have a few slightly-used pairs sitting around and gathering dust? Wow. I sound like the most practical shopper in the world. :p

After some rumination, I decided to put a halt to my unreasonable shopping binges for now and let my frugal side take over. And yes, this frugal fashionista’s blog has inspired me to stay below budget and maybe save a few pennies for the not-so-sunny days. Who knows, maybe I can save up enough for that dreamy Europe trip I’m hankering after, and a visit to Dennise’s place in Germany where she’s promised to take me biking and go flower picking. Ah, daydreams.

Indeed who says being fashionable has to be expensive? Recession chic is the norm, and well, why not join the fad while it’s hot?