The Flame

The Flame

In deep slumber I was,

Lying at ease,

Carried by the humdrum

of everyday.

But life was such

an enigmatic beauty.

At first, it was a spark,

Followed by bursts of fire,

‘Til it became a flame—

A flame I could not extinguish.

On and on it burned.

Burned my peace,

And ignited a longing.

The rope of monotony snapped.

Okay,  I said finally.

Write I must,

But with a prayer I pleaded,

“Just please guide me God,

or else, the flame

would just die to naught.”

Flames

 

How To Slay A Giant

 

There was never a hint of fear as David aimed his sling at Goliath’s forehead. The stone penetrated into the giant’s forehead which caused him to fall down. David then took the giant’s sword and cut off Goliath’s head.

How did David got the courage to do this? To think, he was not a member of the king’s army. He was there because he was asked by his father to bring food for his brothers who were there for forty days to fight with the king’s army. The battle lasted that long as no one would want to face the giant for the fear of being killed.

David kept on asking the men as to what the reward may be if ever someone would kill the giant, until the king heard him. The king discouraged him because he was young and inexperienced. But David boldly related to the king how he killed lions and bears just to protect his sheep. Saul then approved that David would face the giant.

David faced the giant without sword and armor for it were too heavy for him to carry and he was not used to it. He boldly declared that when it is God’s will to deliver the enemy unto his people’s hands it requires no sword or spear. Eventually, he defeated Goliath.

Is David’s story applicable to the modern times? Absolutely.

Key Points:

  • David was trained in solitude. He was there all alone tending his flock because he was a shepherd. In solitude his character was formed. The solitude makes us face our self, our longings, our deeper issues. When all our issues are resolved, our character is strengthened. It is in solitude too, that we find God.
  • David grew up in obscurity. Men and women of God, servant-leaders in the making, are first unknown, unseen, unappreciated, and unapplauded. In the quiet context of obscurity, character is built. Today, with the advent of social media we may be seen and known, but when our purpose for being here is to gain popularity, we are not best qualified as God’s personnel. It requires time to build a character and credibility.
  • David lived a life of monotony. It is being faithful in the menial, insignificant, routine, unexciting, uneventful, daily tasks of life. Life without a break… without vacation in white sand beaches or a travel to famous places. Just plain life, constant, unchanging… with nobody else around to notice or to care. This one is a big challenge for us today. For every suggestion of ‘successful’ people, we tend to follow. Everything becomes a sensation. We do things because it is popular and we want to ride with the tide. We come to believe that our value lies in the number of Likes, Shares, or Follows in our social media account. We do things differently to avoid monotony.
  • David was disciplined in reality. He lived in his real world. He killed lions and bears when no one was looking. He did it because he was a responsible shepherd. Here, we are called to be real that we may defeat every lion and bear that would hold us prey. This is a reality that urges us to stand firmly on our ground and not let other’s twisted notions and convictions to sway us away from our right path.
  • David was confident. He believed he could slay the giant which he eventually did. Confidence is what the modern gurus teach us to acquire. They are right. No one could face life’s battles without the right amount of confidence.
  •  David used his skills and the right weapon that fitted him to kill the giant, instead of the weapons and armors of the trained army. ‘This is what the experts do and use, you must use it too.’ Sounds familiar right? In our modern times, we tend to follow the expert in order to become an expert. There may be nothing wrong with that as we do ‘need’ mentors in one way or another to get ‘there.’ What we must be aware though is the reality that we have different skills and we have different calling. We need to learn the specific skills for our specific calling.
  • David had great faith in God. He believed God would deliver the giant unto his hands. God did. This we must always remember. If there are giants looming before our path, we need to possess that great faith that God would deliver those giants unto our hands. We need not only the skills, but also the faith.

May we be able to slay all the giants that challenge us along the way.

purposivewriter - nezel yurong

Giant

 

Please Be Guided Accordingly

Please be guided accordingly

I was taken off-guard the moment they entered one by one. I knew I was not supposed to stare at people while inside. I should have my full focus on the purpose of my coming here. But by their looks, inside the place of worship, seemed not to coincide at all.

They were a group of young people, four to be exact, probably eighteen years old and above. They wore shorts and shirts appropriate only for the beach. Slowly they entered the church while the choir sang the Gloria.  They settled at the pew in the front row right behind the choir.

By their looks one could say they are not local Parishioners. I was just a kind of shock why they have to make such a dramatic entrance with how they look. My friend who sat in front of me whispered to his wife asking who they were. His wife just shrugged her shoulders and signaled at him to be quiet.

Okay. We were inside of the church attending the holy mass. We were not supposed to judge nor criticize anyone. But here is my take:

The church is a place of worship, therefore, a place of respect too. The church does not stand for its Parishioners. It stands for God. We could talk to God or pray to God anywhere, anytime. But when we CHOOSE to WORSHIP God inside the church attending a HOLY MASS, we must be aware of our every act and make ourselves presentable before God. It is our responsibility to not make the little ones stumble because of our actions. We could not simply say, “It’s the problem of the people why they judge or criticize me, when in fact I just go there to attend the mass. I have clear intentions.” If you have clear intentions, why not make yourself ‘presentable‘? If you have clear intentions, you could have chosen to sit at the rear end pews where people hardly notices you. There, you could pray and worship without being conscious of how oddly you look inside this place.

Other churches have signage at their entrance directing people to attend mass or enter the church in proper attire. This signage specifically states as to what attire are acceptable and what are not. Our local church does not have it. I suppose, it is only on the prerogative of the Parish priest.

After the mass, I waited for my husband outside. He is a choir member, and it is their job to keep the instruments in their proper place after being used. When he joined me, he said those young people were the students of the choir’s music teacher. This teacher came from the other island adjacent to ours. He said they were there because they visited one local beach the day before.

For me, it was still not an excuse why they have to show up with their beach attire. They could have covered themselves with scarf or whatever that would not show any disrespect for the holy mass and the people in there.

Whoever we are, wherever we go, we carry our faith with us. In these days of restless travels, we must always be aware if we have imprinted a pleasant impression on the place we are about to leave. We must not leave it to people to understand us, we must also understand the people in the places we visit. And it is much, much better to leave a GOOD example to strangers who would soon forget our face, but would never forget how we made them feel.

My plea to the Millennials out there: Please do NOT stretch the rules of the church to fit in with your lifestyle.

purposivewriter - nezel yurong

Banned

 

What Is Your Answer?

What is your answer?

Does religious faith provide artificial answers to profound questions?

Stumbled upon this question on Quora and answered it my way. I know my answer is not the perfect one. It is just where I am standing on at the moment. You may also answer the same question differently. I believe, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It just defines where you are.

My answer:

I am a Roman Catholic by birth. Grew up with the tradition and made aware of God’s profundity by my born again Christian aunt. I, too, had questions of my faith and of the reality around me. Until I discovered a religion is just a group. True faith depends not on the group where you belong, or on the knowledge handed down to you. Knowledge is just learning with the mind, faith is learning with the heart.

For me, you alone could answer your own question, whether religious faith could provide an artificial answer to profound questions. For when we ask any question, we only want to be secure of the truth, of what ground we are standing on. We only want validity.

The profound questions I guess, are those which has no answers. You only need to experience them, grasp them, but could not put into words what their answers are made of. Every religious group has its ground. But human beings are not designed to fit to any structure provided by humans. Each of us has certain truths within our souls. No one has the autonomy of it. I need you. You need me. We need each other. Thus, it matters that we unite to learn what is it that keeps us united.

Whether you are in a religious group or not, as long as you continue to seek the answers to your profound questions, it would be given to you in the right time. Based on experience, some questions have answers, some don’t. There is no need to learn everything though. What matters is to live fully the short life given to you.

purposivewriter - nezel yurong

Artificial

Finale and Review: 30 Day Blogging Challenge

30 day blogging challenge

30th Post! Yay!

I should have completed my 30 day blogging challenge in 30 consecutive days. This is the target I aim for myself. On my 29th post I told myself, I am going to beat you girl! One more post and then I could say I did it. I could have since I still posted on my blog, which I no longer share to the FB group 30 Day Blogging Challenge. All because Sarah’s email is both inspiring and challenging. I receive the email concerning the 30th post. One word stands from the rest: Review. Sarah gives suggestions on doing a review of all my posts with various key points as guides. Exciting! Yes?

This review is a little bit days delayed from my 29th post because I did give it time and more weight. As Sarah suggested, while conducting the evaluation, there must be less distraction.

WordPress did suggest that a blogger must conduct an editorial at the end of the month. That is, looking back at the past thirty days–of the achievements or maybe failures of the blogger and how he/she should improve. I am guilty for not following this advice. Busy. Everybody is. Well, kind of excuse?

Anyway, for this challenge I would give it a try-to conduct a review of my 30-day journey. Though, my blog is not monetized yet, nor am I an entrepreneur at the moment. This might be the beginning towards it.

What Work

What saved you time?

Since my blog is more on personal journey and growth (still finding my voice, tone and my strengths) I use tools that are more applicable to it. For my everyday post, I use the WP Daily Prompt by the Daily Post. Though the post is far different from each other on a daily basis, I made sure the flow of thoughts and the tone are in sync.

I use Canva for some of my posters and graphics. For most of my photos I get it from Pixabay since it requires no attribution. But the entries for the photo challenges are originally my own and in some of my posts too.

What content made the most money?

Since my blog is not yet monetized, this question does not apply to me yet. In terms of likability, comments and reblogs the contents based on faith and spirituality stand out.

What created the greatest amount of personal pleasure?

I guess, it’s every bloggers pleasure when his/her content is being reblogged or shared, liked, and commented. For me, it means what I am saying is being understood; and that my readers related well with the message I am trying to convey. The interaction with my readers make me fulfilled. Most especially, when the number of followers is increasing with the passing of each day.

Also, since I am still new in the blogging community, receiving awards and passing it on gives me much fun. Checking other blogs and knowing what other people think sometimes got me hooked.

Being invited to be a guest author to other sites brings the greatest pleasure. Not only it brings additional traffic, but also it builds confidence that the sites’ owner have TRUST in my capacity and my message.

What relationships developed that you’re excited about and why?

Connecting with other bloggers is much fun and brings great happiness. Nothing beats sharing with people who also love to do what you love to do. Sharing common interests build genuine friendships. I even developed friendships that extend to the social media.

Positive Breakthroughs

  • Joining communities. I once believed a blogging journey is a solo adventure until it was busted. I become stronger by the number.
  • Reading other bloggers’ stories. It made me realize what a big world it is out there. I get lessons and learning from them.
  • Nobody is left out. Every comment is heard and replied to.
  • Joining challenges is fun, like this 30 Day Blogging Challenge. It keeps me diligent and be aware of what message I could impart to my readers even after they closed their laptops.
  • It helps to have a guide in the journey. Sarah Arrow’s tips through emails are truly helpful.

What did not work

What content flopped?

I got less positive feedback on Meet and Greet reblogs. I reblog these contents to somehow connect with other bloggers. For me, it is helping each other to promote our site.

Return in profit

In my blog I have invested only time and effort. No financial expenses has been incurred yet. The positive feedback is more than a profit to me.

Tasks or projects you find yourself dreading?

I don’t have any projects yet. I found difficulty in some Prompts that I have no idea about. Checking other bloggers’ work and how they approach the Prompts helps a lot.

Goals you are enthusiastic about

As of now, I have some vague idea of where I am going to bring my blog in the months to come, like buying a domain name and monetize it in ways that fits my personality and my message.

But before that, I must discover each day the niche where my strengths fit.

With that being said, I would bring with me this framework as guide for better Business and Marketing Experience suggested by Sarah.

  1. Do more of what worked.
  2. Do less of what you dreaded.
  3. Do more of what created profit.
  4. Do less of what sucked time and money.

Again, thank you very much Sarah and Kevin Arrow for this wonderful opportunity of blogging with you. I learned much. The tips and guides you give would surely be a big help for me in the days to come.

For you who want to join the challenge, you may check their website at www.sarkemedia.com and check the FB group 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

purposivewriter - nezel yurong

 

 

Simply ME

Authentically Me

The question

Would you want to become a motivator, a life coach, an online guru, a spiritual adviser, or a self-made millionaire?

I ask that question unto myself. For a change, I took a peek at Weekly Discover, and the challenge for the week is Radical Authenticity; that is, being authentic deep within. Stuff like, what you feel, how you feel, what you do with what you feel. It’s that moment when you want to get a mirror and interview that person you see in it. Well, that is exactly what I do, minus the mirror. The question above is what this person has to answer.

The Gravatar

If you have seen my Gravatar before, it was filled with words like a content marketer, spiritual writer and virtual professional. Where did I get these ideas? From my mentor. (I hope he won’t read this). There was nothing wrong with what he taught us by the way. It was just that I felt I was not what he was molding me to be. Yes, I learned stuff, most especially the technical ones. I learned mindset. I was awakened from my slumber. My life began to take a new direction.

The realization

But then later, I discovered, what I do now is what I had long wished to do but didn’t. My mentor shook my shoulders and said, hey, do what you love to do. You do this. And I said, okay, I will do what I love to do; and I will do what you suggest of me. Many of my classmates did it. I did not. I was stuck in ‘what I love to do.’

So then, I changed my Gravatar description into something that fits me well. I just want to be ME. But, it is kind of misleading when you describe yourself to be, Just Me. Thus, I put in words that might perhaps express a truth about me.

The hype

Aiming to be the best version of me might be a hype. As for me, I could say, it is timely and perhaps, a bit of coincidence? I have been through a ‘lot’ for a decade now. Great thinkers and inspirers did motivate me to claim back my life. And I slowly feel the freedom from bondage for being able to look at things without emotional attachments. It feels great to see my value does not depend on other people. It is liberating to be connected with people, yet not a slave to them.

The challenge

However, my freedom is faced with another challenge: not being enough. True, I have not achieved what others may have achieved–fame, wealth, worry-free life. If I achieved these things, would I be good enough? Am I not good enough? Perhaps, the difference lies in our perspective of life. There are times when I daydream of fame, of wealth, of a worry-free life. But then, a part of me just does not cooperate. I am so poor in visualizing myself in these areas. Having those things might be fun. Yet something is holding me back.

As I have stated above, I have a mentor. But I get tired of listening to ‘do this and do that in order to achieve this and that.’I do not have anything against coaches and mentors. Back in school days, I was many times a teacher’s pet due to my obedience and loyalty.

The voice

Now, things have changed. A certain force is holding me back. I could not clearly fathom what is it, yet its voice seems to tell me, ‘Just do this. Trust me. All would be well.’ Well, I keep on doing what I feel I love to be doing. Though a voice at the back of my mind says, ‘Hey let’s do what _____ tells us to do. You want to get rich and have much freedom remember? A dilemma, yes.

The girl

But that girl in the mirror says, ‘Why would you worry about things that are not supposedly for you? If something is not given to you, it does not mean you are not worth it, or you have not done enough in order for you to achieve that thing. Just let others shine where they are supposed to be. And you, little one, just bloom where you are planted. What matters is the now. What you do in the now. Do your best in the now. Be your best in the now. You are creating in the now every brushstroke that would paint a whole canvass in the days to come.’

The unknown

Need I say more? Actually, what the girl in the mirror says is not that clear to me. From her words I could not foresee myself what would I be in the future. But who cares? I offer my future in the loving hands of my God. It is faith that tells me, my God would only want the best for me. So, I let go. What will be, will be.

~Nezel

WP Daily Prompt

Radical Authenticity

15 Ways to Become the Better Version of You

 

15 ways to become a better version of you

Gone are the days of flattery. Gone are the days when someone says, “What a nice cap you got there, John.” Or, “What a great dress Mary!” When we were a child, we think and reason like a child. Now that we are grown, we think and reason like a grown up. Unlike a child who takes delight in flattery or little appreciation, we value now on a deeper level what has been given to us. We value life. We value our self. And we put much value in it, when we do our best to improve our current self into the best self that we can be. How? Here are the ways:

  1. Will to change. The first and most important step is the determination to change. It goes beyond the desire. It is taking the necessary steps to get the desired results.
  2. Stop making excuses. Do what you need to do. Taking accountability for your own mistakes is extremely important.
  3. Always keep your temper in check. There are a lot of emotional triggers around. When you feel something is making you uncomfortable, get out of the situation if you can. Go to the comfort room or just simply go outside to relax your mind. Take deep breaths. When you feel you are in control of your emotions, you are able to face the situation in a calmer manner. Controlling anger is an extremely difficult skill to master, but it is very beneficial for you in the long term.
  4. Forgive. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. It may not be that easy to do, but it helps when you let go. It takes time to do this. Do it anyway.
  5. Listen. Listen to what others have to say. You may be seeing things in the wrong way or with the wrong perspective. This way, you may also be able to express your side, why you act or think in a certain way. You must also listen to yourself. Sometimes you may do things that are contrary to what you truly feel.
  6. Be honest. Be honest with yourself and with everybody. Others may not see whether you speak and live in truth, but your action does.
  7. Cultivate an open mind. Accept the fact that you are different and that others are different too. You may not agree with everybody, but it does not mean you are right and they are wrong; or the other way around. Be open also to what you can do. Try new things.
  8. Keep a journal. Journal is the best medium to express everything you feel. It helps you process your emotions. It helps you clear your mind of any clutter.
  9. Be positive. When you are really in a bad day, keeping positivity is impossible. You may never find it inside. The best way, is to seek it outside. Read good books. Be with nature. Look up at the sky, or stars, or moon. Listen to inspiring music. Talk to children. Talk to your pet. Watch funny movies. Or just simply do any activity that you love to do. Doing any of these everyday, helps you to implant positivity in you.
  10. Accept criticism in a positive way. Criticisms may hurt, but you need it most for your growth. It is a challenge that speaks to you, “Hey, you’re not better now. Could you get any better next time?” When you do get better next time, your critics would be surprised.
  11. Move. Do any exercise that could energize you. From working at the gym, to jogging, walking, yoga or just stretching. Your body would thank you for it.
  12. Meditate. It calms the mind. It connects you to your deeper self. It relaxes your body.
  13. Smile. When you look at the mirror first thing in the morning, smile. Smile keeps you younger and relaxes your facial muscles. Smiling at your reflection makes you aware that you got a friend in there. As one beatiful soul says, ‘Smiling is the best accessory you could adorn yourself with.’
  14. Stay peaceful. Be at peace with everybody and with yourself.
  15. Pray. Exercise your faith. Tap to the Source of everything. It is here where impossible becomes possible. It is here where you become what God wants you to be.

These suggestions may sound simple. Yet it may take years to master it. When done daily, it becomes a habit, a habit that would become a natural part of you sooner. Do not lose heart though, when at times you may fall back, it is just normal. Just start again and again and again. Your self is with you along the way. So is God.

Be blessed!

~Nezel

Be Slow To Argue

Be Slow to Argue

I do not like arguments. Not because I am afraid to be proven wrong; but because to be proven right leaves a heavy burden on my shoulders. In arguments the persons involved only have one goal: to prove they are right. And when proven wrong they walk out angry and guilty; thinking to themselves they lose face. All because, most often than not, people reason out of emotions and not out of logical thinking. What they have in mind is, how others see them, how their “reputation” would look like the moment they would be proven wrong. To the point that they would twist the truth and fabricate stories just to get out of the mess clean.

The other thing is, if in an argument you win, the other person would find ways to bring you down. Such person has not found the secret yet: that a person with high self-esteem does not need to have a clean reputation before others; he needs only to know that his value relies fully on who he truly is, and how he is loved unconditionally by the Source of love. People may destroy reputation, but not the spirit of a strong person.

There are many suggestions out there as to how to win in an argument. But then, I believe, it is more important to learn to get away from this kind of trouble than to learn how to master it when it comes. Thus, let me share with you some Bible verses that inspire us to stay sober in all circumstances:

Ecclesiastes 7:9

9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
 

2 Timothy 2:23-24

23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

Matthew 5:22

22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Philippians 2:14-16

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
A Blessed Sunday!
~Nezel