Start Walking

Start.

Walk from where you are.

There is no other way. Start walking.

Way back in my childhood days in Kibungan (aw, i-Kibunganak), together with some friends, we decided to go on top of the hill to get a refreshing view of the rushing rivers, hear the rustling twigs in the trees, and embrace the invigorating cool breeze.

Being jolly little kids, everyone is so excited to get to the top. Everyone is so excited to take a glance over the hill top. Everyone is so excited to experience the trees, the birds, and the breeze. The thrill is on the whiz.

“Whoah!”

“Let’s get this excitement to the top.”

“Let us not just be thrilled with the feeling; let us turn this thrill into action.”

Have you been or are you in the same situation but seemingly not heading somewhere?

Are you so excited to reach your dreams? Are you so excited to accomplish your plans? Are you so excited to achieve your goals?

Oh, well. Then get started. Start walking. Those may be little baby steps and that is just fine. It’s actually perfectly fine. It’s the way to start.

Back to my story:

Those who started walking and came with me enjoyed the refreshing view, the thrilling rustles of twigs, the invigorating cool breeze. Unfortunately, there are those who did not come with us. They did not start walking and so missed a lot. They missed the fun.

You do not want to miss the fun, do you?

Then let’s get it on!

Start walking and we’ll see each other at the top.

Shine out that Uniqueness in You

“We are all meant to shine… It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Timo Cruz, a talented and skilful young basketball player in the movie Coach Carter, declared this with zeal and enthusiasm.

He is right. We are all meant to shine.

Each of us in our own fields, we are called to let our light shine and let this radiate to others and that they will do shine, too.

Sometimes, I ask myself: “How can I shine? I don’t have all those talents. I just can’t go with what’s popular. I can’t go with the crowd. How? I am not gifted at all.”

Yes. We often times keep on asking these questions and always keep ourselves down as we keep on comparing ourselves to others.

In these ways, we are putting away our own gifts, talents, and skills that were bestowed to us by the Mighty Giver. Let us look within rather.

You might be missing out that precious gem in you.

Note that each of us is unique and we have our own gifts. We have our own assets to start with.

“A guitar maker once said to a new guitar – You have six uniquely sounding strings.

“The guitar has six strings, each sounds uniquely. Each string, yet sounding differently compared to the others, is tuned that way for a purpose. They were tuned the way they are so that when you press on a chord, they will sound in unison as each contributes to the creation of a harmonious sound of music.” (Strings of Life, Chris Dao-anis)

Like each of the strings, we are unique and we have our own purpose and value. Whatever we have – that is where we start.

Capitalize on what you have. Capitalize on what you are.

Last month, a new American Idol was shown to the world. He is Scotty McCreery, who banked on his unique voice quality and genre of his choice. He capitalized on the lowness of his voice and his love for country music. He matched what he has with his interest that created a just awesome artist everytime he is on stage.

Jennifer Lopez, during the semi-finals, told Scotty and the whole America:

“There are some people who were just born to do something. You were born to sing country music. That’s what I call in your lane.”

The other judge Randy Jackson continued:

“You know what’s cool about you and what I like… You are not the country guy who is trying to be cross over and trying to be on the pop charts and all that. You love country.”

In this American Idol’s season, we had one who thrived on the beauty of country music. Scotty did not try to go into what he is not. He went out the stage and sang his own choice of music that magnified his voice quality and the artist inside of him.

You may not like Scotty or country music that much, but this exemplifies something to us – to bank on what we have in our hands, to capitalize what is given to us, and shine just the way we are.

Definitely, every one of us has the ability to shine. However, as one of the mentors of Harry Potter said, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices.”

This wakes us up to make our choice.

Yes, with what you have and the uniqueness in you, you have the potential to shine. But are you capitalizing on that potential?

Let that potential out. Choose to capitalize on your uniqueness inside.

Choose to shine!

Let Go, Grow and Glow

Let go for you to grow and let your life glow.

There are a lot of things that we need to let go for us to grow and let our life and faces glow.

What are these things that we need to let go? You may say your ex-lover and the severe pain he or she inflicted to you. True. Let it go.

There is but another thing that we must let go.

Have you ever observed how a child suffered from his dad’s ways, and when he grew up to be a father, he became like his father in his extremely horrific ways?

There is this story of how a woman came to be so cruel – she threw away her only child, and emotionally murdered her employees and the people around her – all because of her tragic childhood in the mean ways and undisciplined disciplining made to her by her father.

When I was child, I also had my share of bad and sad experiences in which I may not have been physically hurt in these instances but I was emotionally devastated. I felt like people are so cruel in this hurting world. In these demoralizing moments, I felt resentments, anger, and pain.

I don’t know your story. It may have been better or worse. You may have had a lot more difficult childhood experiences.

But whatever your story is and however bad and sad it is, we must let go of the sad childhood past. Those have happened in the past but often times we still carry them and have them lingering in our present life. This past is pulling us down, hindering us to grow and shine. The worse consequence is that we, too, will inflict the same pain or even worse to our sons and daughters.

In the book of the respected Dr. Scott Peck titled The Road Less Travelled – in numerous cases from his long years of psychiatric practice – he cited how tragic childhood experiences hugely and severely disturb ones adult life. He, on the other hand, illustrated how his patients grow and live their life to their benefit and to their family’s gain the moment they learned to understand and let go.

Life is so short to waste on living your sad past. Life is so short to waste on resentments or grudge.

It is time to let go today. Let go of the past and live happily today.

As I grew up, I have come to understand. I opened my eyes and mind. I opened my ears to words of wisdom. Through good men and women, images and scriptures, songs and books, I have learned my worth, the value of life, and the beauty of living.

I have learned to let go and it tremendously paid off.

Yes, my friend, you must let go of your sad childhood past to let your life blossom as it is designed to be.

Let go.

Let us grow.

Let our life glow.

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Filling in the blanks

The thing I love most about what I do is: the driving point that I am helping others as I help myself.

 

People might be surprised to know that: I often  answer questions in some sort of  abstract sense that would require a lot of time to concretize it/them.

 

The most important thing I’ve ever learned is that:

 

success is great ‘and’ significance is lasting.
The secret to happiness is: serving your purpose.

 

My best ever outfit consisted of: myself, my thoughts, and my experiences.

 

The soundtrack to my life would include:

 

songs of love, inspiration, and praises.
If I were the most powerful person on earth:

 

I would share my power to the powerless.
The best thing about family is that:

 

it remains intact despite the odds.
If money were not a problem: then achieving my goals and serving my purpose can be expedited.

 

When I retire, I would like to: invest time and days with my family.

 

The thing that makes my life worth living is:.

 

serving my purpose
My greatest hope for the future is to: live in the present.

 

My favorite moments are when:

 

I am in communion with myself, music and nature.
My most embarrassing moment was: when I was trying to be somebody else.

 

I’m saving up: for my future.

 

My biggest indulgence is: life

 

My 5 favorite  words are: live, love, learn, thank, share.

 

I aspire to be: Man of purpose

 

My Superhero: Myself and the Lord

 

The worst thing that ever happened to me was that: I  magnified chaos.

 

And what this taught me was: to look into what such chaos portrays in the opposite sense.

 

The thing that makes me most angry is: chaos

 

When I’m gone, they’ll probably say: Thank you

 

My current state of mind is: Okay

 

On weekends, some of the things I do are: relaxing (swimming, playing games, singing), indulging in personal development activities (reading, writing, joining worthwhile meetings), venturing on entrepreneurial dialogs/encounters, and investing time with the Lord.

 

If I were invisible for a day, I would: explore the difference between being visible and invisible.

 

The best thing somebody said about me was: ‘continue to be a blessing’

 

Your Real-Life Superhero

One of the ways we hear a lot to improve ourselves is to have idols to emulate.

But wait! Don’t try to be somebody else. Just be yourself and be great.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not bad to have idols. In fact, I do have idols and I also encourage you to have one. It is true that one of the ways to improve yourself is to have someone you can emulate, someone you can pattern your life from.

True enough. We can pave our way to success by finding an idol – someone who has already achieved what we want to achieve. Then study what he has been doing and take action to follow the road he/she has taken to get into the summit he/she is now on.

Before deciding to choose your idol, however, you need first to define who you are, what you want to become, what you want to share to the world.

As Chin-Ning Chu said, “A successful life is one that is lived through understanding and pursuing one’s own path, not chasing after the dreams of others.”

Picking an idol and emulating him or her without starting from who you are deep within may be counterproductive. You might start chasing after the dreams of others and not those of you. Eventually, you might end nowhere.

Robert Southey shares, “Ambition is an idol, on whose wings great minds are carried only to extreme; to be sublimely great or to be nothing.”

If we start from ourselves, this may lead to something sublimely great.

But if we start from idols – just because they are famous – without starting from ourselves, this may result to nothing.

I, too, have idols. But why do I say – “Don’t try to be somebody else; just be yourself and be great.”?

It is because your real-life superhero is you yourself. You may be influenced by people around you, but you yourself can take the action. You yourself can make the move. You yourself can live your life.

Be guided.

An after-dinner date after Valentine’s Day

It wasn’t too late. I didn’t have one on the 14th but at least I had a date after my dinner last Wednesday, a day after the Valentine’s Day.

I went home early that afternoon, watched the news, and took my dinner. Minutes passed after caressing my stomach, I decided to freshen up. That’s right. I should not forget my hygiene especially before going to bed. I could still feel my stomach that I put away my pillow and grabbed my laptop. Yes. I ended up to a date with my laptop and Fireproof is the movie that was.

“Fireproof doesn’t mean that fire will never come, but that when it comes, you’ll be able to withstand it,” one character in the movie said.

I had never thought but the movie was beyond the story of firemen risking their lives to stop fires to save lives and property. It was also about risking ones pride, addictions, and worldly attachments to save relationships, even an almost failed marriage.

In this month when people take special time to celebrate love with each one’s partner and special loved ones, I believe it is also a must to take special time to review how one and the other should fireproof their relationship, for couples – their marriage.

No, you’re right. I am no expert. I don’t have any degree for this particular topic or any experience in marriage. I don’t even have significant years of experience in a boy-girlfriend relationship. I am just to share to the memorable precious love-lines I listened to in my ‘after-dinner date after Valentine’s Day’.

My present credentials may not give enough merit for this article to be intended for the old couples and not-so old ones but I would have them as my main audience still because I go with inspirational speaker and Toastmaster Jef Menguin who said, in one of his blogs, that we should not say, “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.” because people are not dogs and we are not teaching tricks – we teach ideas and principles of life.

Oh, well. So as not to talk much on credibility, let me just go on and share some lines from the movie for you and for me to read through and live with to fireproof our relationships – for the singles just like me, to fireproof our future marriage.

“…Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolved to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, she is not to say anything. It is better to hold your tongue than to say something you’re going to regret.

‘Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.’ – James 1:19

…It is difficult to demonstrate love when you feel little to no motivation. But love in its truest sense, is not based on feelings but a determination to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward.

Do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

…Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It’s hard to care for something you’re not investing in.

Buy your wife something that says you were thinking of her today.

…Pray for her.

…Listen to her.

…Study her again.

When a man is trying to win the heart of a woman, he studies her. He learns her likes, dislikes, habits, and hobbies. But after he wins her heart and marries her, he often stops learning about her. If the man studies her before marriage was equal to a high school degree, he should continue to learn about her until he gains a college degree, a master’s degree, and ultimately a doctorate degree. It is a lifelong journey that draws his heart ever closer to hers.”

Yes; and the words clearly speak for themselves.

Let me just end this and say,

Save your relationship. Save your life.

Fireproof your marriage with the new FaD, F-idelity and F-aithfulness, a-nd D-ivinity. These three goes together. Divinity doesn’t mean you need to be pastor or priest or saint. It plainly means, living in God’s ways.

With this new FaD, we turn away from the old FAD, F-alse, A-spirations, and D-esires.

These, I no longer elaborate.

It was a question on my part to go on with this article in its content…

…with it is a great challenge to everyone.

It is something that shall be done.

It is meant for life.

PS: I am giving out a wonderful ebook this February 2012. Grab it now at www.sixstrings-youngmind.weebly.com

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Rays of Hope

Don’t lose hope.

We often tell this line to someone whose world seems to be falling down as we comfort him and tell him that the sun is still going to shine.

Emily Dickinson shares her poem that goes:

“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.

And the sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land

And on the strangest sea,

Yet never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.”

How true it is to have this hope that rests in our soul.

How nice it is to have this hope that mends life sores.

How great it is to have this hope that gives music to our days when we feel so small.

But wait, if this hope rests in our soul, then why do many people lose them at all?

Why do people nab other people? Why do people forsake their sons and daughters? Why do people kill their neighbors?

People often lose their hope when they feel the world is tumbling down; when they lose their loved ones; when things are falling apart; when the world seems turning dark.

I, too, had some sad experiences that happened in my days and nights in the past that made my world seem so dark. These were the times that I had asked, “Is this how bad life is? Is this how dread the world is?”

But no matter how terrifying things were, no matter how terrorizing people were, no matter how horrifying events were – I did not give up, I did not lose hope.

I told myself, someday this will end, someday days will be brighter, someday life will be sweeter.

And yes! Thanks for that hope that stayed in my soul. Without it, I would have given up before.

And now, through the times I see, the terrors of life are fading away as I continue to hope and pray.

I would say that we vary in different things; we vary in experiences; we vary in terms of our problems.

But whatever trouble we are in, we shall face it, don’t lose hope, and go on living. Because every time we wake up, every time we see the sunrise, every time we see the light – we are reminded not to give up.

Every good thing that happens or arises is a ray of hope – reminding us not to lose hope.

Here are some lines from Oliver Goldsmith:

“Hope, like the gleaming taper’s light,

Adorns and cheers our way;

And still, as darker grows the night,

Emits a brighter ray.”

And so we declare: Let hope cheer us along the way as it emits a brighter ray each in every day.

Lessons from “The Last Song”

It was Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 2:50 PM and I just finished watching the movie “The Last Song” based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks.

The story of Ronnie, the main character, reminded me of some facts of life.

First, life on earth is temporary; life is so short – make the most out of it.

The scene stirred my soul as I watched the Ronnie’s father bid goodbye to earthly life. As for me, I lost my father in November 2010. Events like this remind us that things in this world are temporary. What does this mean to us? What does this call us to do? Are we going to simply breeze through the days of life?

I believe that we are called to make the most out of life. We are called to focus on what is essential. We are called to pursue significance. I like how Lloyd Reeb puts it in his book From Success to Significance. He said, “Success is great. But significance is lasting.” As we walk toward success, let us also take steps toward significance, toward the real meaning of life.

The movie, in this particular thought, had focused on family connections as it portrayed struggles in a daughter-father relationship. If there’s one form we can pursue to be significant is shown in this scenario. After all, life – they say – is about nurturing relationships.

Second, we commit mistakes but we need to forgive ourselves; we need to play our music again.

Ronnie comes to her mother crying with all the hurt inside of her. The heartfelt scene filled with tears and choking words goes, as the mother explained, “We’re not perfect… We make mistakes. We screwed up. But then we forgive and we move forward.”

With the human in us, we are vulnerable to committing mistakes. But we should not keep blaming ourselves for mistakes committed in the past. We have to move on. We must forgive ourselves and continue to live life the way it should be. We learn from the mistake and move forward. We have to play our music once again.

We can play our music once again through our gifts and talents, our abilities and skills. Whichever form of music you are capable of, you are meant to play it.

The problem with wallowing in previous mistakes is that it limits us from playing our music. To feel bad for mistakes in the past is normal but to stay down into the pit of shame and self-pity would not be healthy anymore. You would be robbing yourself and the world of the music you can share. Rise up from whatever pit you have fallen and recognize your talents. Talents are gifts that are to be developed and to be shared to the world around us. These are instruments toward the furtherance of the pleasures of life.

As the movie ended with a beautiful soundtrack, I was reminded that:

Third, we need someone to guide us, someone to lead us; we need someone to inspire us, someone to show us the beauty of life.

The song says it, “Everybody needs inspiration… cause there’s no guarantee that this life is easy.”

Life can be rough at times. It can get tough! But the Divine Father is here for us, and a lot of good people are here with us. The Good Lord shall bring forth wonderful people to guide us, to lead us, to inspire us, and to show us the beauty of life. He has been doing it many times in many ways in many forms.

There are events, experiences and encounters that serve as reminders for us to keep holding on. And all along, there is this Someone who keeps on singing our song. It is just right that we also do our part in singing our songs.

With these, we are reminded that life’s goodness shall live on beyond the singing of our last songs.

Live your dreams with love,

Chris Dao-anis

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Visit http://www.chrispoweracademy.com for details about inspiring books and empowering seminars.

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The Power of One

Each and every voice counts. Each and every vote counts. Each and every one matters.

All the way from the busy streets of Makati to the rocky roads of Benguet, I went home to cast my vote for the barangay elections – the result – my candidate toppled his rival with just one vote. Yes, one vote.

I do attribute the winning vote neither to my vote nor to any single vote of any other supporter. I do attribute this to the effort of each and every supporter that took the move, went out, and casted his/her vote.

In algebra, the value of one raised to the nth (say, any number from 1 to infinity; e.g. 999, 10000, 88000) power is one. Excluding negative integers, whatever its exponent is, the equivalent value is always one.

This shows that the value of one won’t increase if the multiplier is one itself. To increase its value, it must be added to another ‘one’ (i.e. 1 + 1 = 2) or to other positive numerical value (i.e. 1 + 5 = 6). After which, you can increase it exponentially by raising it to the desired power (i.e. 2 to the 3rd power = 8; 6 to the 6th power = 46,656). Behold the gargantuan result.

That’s in algebra. And it is similar with our encounters in different walks of life.

The value of one person may not be appreciated when he/she alone voices his ideals out, when he/she alone casts his vote, when he/she alone moves for society’s development. One’s effort shall be complemented by other people around so that results will be realized. While the power of one is so potent, its impact would be much felt when joined by other forces coming from others.

This suggests that everyone should contribute what he/she has in support for a common objective, which may be towards community development and betterment of life.

Hence, we are encouraged and challenged to continue participating in social discussions, in community endeavors, in nation building.

The scenario that I have just witnessed in this recently concluded barangay elections is just one of the numerous exemplifications of the power of one, not to the nth power – multiplying by itself alone, but when joined to the others then multiplying by themselves as a team.

The power of one is so powerful.

Use that power.

Participate not only in electoral process but in any sorts of social exercise.

You have a power.

You have a value.

Waste it not.

Strings of Life

You’ve heard it.

Life is like a wheel. Sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down.

Life is a song that is to be sung.

Life is a gift to that is to be treasured.

Life is a journey that is to be enjoyed.

Life’s comparisons and metaphors abound. In any experience and in anything, life’s lessons are found.

I would like to share some lessons of life that I’ve found – I call them the six strings of life. These six strings of life are life’s lessons from what I call “The Allegory of the Guitar.”

“Once upon a time, after making a fine guitar, the guitar maker told six things to the guitar:

1. You have six uniquely sounding strings;

2. You are meant to be played;

3. You are meant to be played with a song and with other instruments;

4. You are delicate;

5. You can be tuned and re-tuned; and

6. You are as good as how you are played.

After the guitar maker told these things to the guitar, the guitar went on his journey in the hands of excellent guitarists as it treasured the six strings of its being.”

We go through these six strings of life from “The Allegory of the Guitar” as we learn the lessons attached.

First, it has six strings; each sounds uniquely. Each string, yet sounding differently compared to the others, is tuned that way for a purpose. They are tuned the way they are so that when you press on a chord, they will sound in unison as each contributes to the creation of a harmonious sound.

Like each of the strings, we are unique. Each and every one of us is unique. Each of us has his/her own identity. Whatever ethnicity we belong, whatever family we belong, whatever appearance we show the world, whatever our possessions and positions are – that is our identity, that is where we stand, and that is where we start.

Each of us is born into this world, not for senseless things, but to accomplish things. We are made for a purpose. We are the way we are for a reason. So smile and be the way you are.

Second, it is meant to be played. For it to be called a guitar, it must be played.

Imagine a fine guitar just hanging on the corner – through the years it will gather dust on itself. It is seen to be a trash – a useless instrument.

Play it. As a song is to be sung, so is life to be lived.

Third, it is to be played in harmony with a song and with other instruments. Listen to that soothing music when it is played with a family of instruments and to that inspiring melody when a song is sang along with it.

Like the guitar, we are meant to be in harmonious relationship with others. We are meant to associate ourselves with others. We are meant to belong into this world. We are social beings and when we share our life with others, what a wonderful journey on earth we can have as we go along.

Fourth, it is delicate. Force struck upon a guitar may destroy its body. Too much cold or heat can make the strings loosen, can make the sound go off tune, and can get the guitar warp itself. A simple drop of the guitar on the floor may break its whole.

We are living a life that is delicate. As psychology teaches, we are shaped by our environment.

So be on guard.

We live in this world that is full of disturbing, horrifying, and terrifying life canyons that may lead us into darkness; that may get us behind bars; and that may totally break us.

Watch out.

Careful not be drowned into a life filled with oceanic remorseful waves.

Fifth, it can be tuned and retuned. Through numerous guitar sessions, the strings may go out of tune.

However, as long as the guitar is not broken, you can always retune. And lo, you can play it again with your song.

Through the days of our life, we may commit mistakes as we go along but we are not meant to stay in that canal where we have fallen.

Let us learn our lesson, stand up, and go on.

Sixth, it is as good as how it is played.

No matter how great the making of a guitar is, its greatness still depends on how it is played. While we are given a good life, a good gift from Above, our life still depends on how we live it.

As the saying goes, “Life is what you make it.”

Harmony, melody, music is well created when instruments are well played. It doesn’t mean you need to be an expert to do those strumming with sizzles and complicated chords. It is in playing the basics, combined with the songs of your heart, that is sang with feelings of love.

As we go along this journey of life, we recall these six strings of life as we recall the six characteristics of the guitar.

The guitar:

1. Has six uniquely sounding strings;

2. Is meant to be played;

3. Is meant to be played with a song and with other instruments;

4. Is delicate;

5. Can be tuned and retuned; and

6. Is as good as how it is played.

These pertain to the guitar and it also pertains to the way we live life.

So remember:

You are unique. You have your own purpose.

Live your life.

Share it with the people around.

Be careful. Guard your life.

If you need to change, go ahead change your life — because life is as good as how we live it.

So live your life.

Play it right.