Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas in Our Hearts 2016: Breakthrough to Success

"Achieving my cherished goals and dreams is always a 'breakthrough to success' that I must cultivate. The year will always end with a brighter hope and aspirations in our hearts for a great year and the year ahead."

This is the season of loving and caring. When full of emotions, we are more compassionate to everyone who matters. We give and receive something, and we feel good about it. The spirit of Christmas-- the most beautiful time of the year. Whenever the Christmas season comes, it excites us and makes us fully alive. There's more incredible energy everywhere and a feeling of abundance. These feelings create a wonderful memory that lasts for a lifetime.

Christmas is a beautiful season and gives us a magical experience utterly different from the ordinary months that have passed. I remember memories whenever I play and listen to Christmas instrumentals, the relaxing piano music, and the saxophone's romantic sound. Christmas is truly in the air. It gives a flashback of the remarkable past and gives hope to the unknown future. As I quietly lay down on the bed, I close my eyes and reminisce about the beautiful time I've experienced. I recall the ups and downs that brought laughter and tears from the past to the present. The memories that wouldn't just fade away but remain in my heart forever.

Christmas is a joyful season that brings hope to empty, lacking, and abandoned people. When this time comes, we hear the children singing Christmas carols. They may not feel empty, but they hope to be given a part of what we have. We provide them with a part of our success. Though not that much, it remains memorable, and they take gratitude for that simple way of giving. Singing Christmas carols in the neighborhood was a unique childhood experience. 

Aside from exercising our vocal powers, we enjoy the little money we receive. The happiness is accurate, and the excitement is unstoppable. I know how these kids feel when they receive something from every house that they sing a carol. That's an early practice of the virtue of gratitude. It's something that we must learn to value and practice. It brings more blessings and abundance. The more grateful we are, the more fulfilled we'll become. We don't feel empty, but we always have enough.

Christmas is a time of spiritual reflection. The year is about to end, and we affirm our goals, the desires we have accomplished, the directions we have taken, and the destination we have finally arrived at. A successful year doesn't mean being a winner in everything. There are times we feel defeated, unsure, and misguided. However, those emotions are just part of winning. To lose for a moment doesn't define the year-end success; it doesn't predict the following year's success or lead to demotivation and lack of meaning. Hence, it reminds us to renew our lives and make more extraordinary sacrifices for goals to achieve beyond the limits. This Christmas is to celebrate success and achievements that contribute to personal development. Reflecting on what I've achieved gives me a sense of fulfillment -- a blissful spirit.

The Past year has been a meaningful celebration. Christmas in Our Hearts 2015 brought us together with joy in our hearts. Since 2011, I've written Christmas in Our Hearts to reflect on the joyous season with my family. We anticipate a better year ahead of us when we're bonded. We are together in our hopes and aspirations for a bountiful new year full of blessings and mercy from God. This year 2016, is another milestone of a beautiful journey. I've been taken to a place closer to home. A trip is full of hopes and plans for personal development. -- a destination where everything ends happily, feeling love and compassion.

Christmas 2016 is a simple yet meaningful celebration. The weather may not be favorable, but the rhythm goes unstoppable; music in a Christmas melody and kids enjoy dancing to a Zumba beat. Celebrating "Misa de Gallo" commemorates the birth of Christ, the source of our Divine inspiration and power. This is followed by the traditional "Noche Buena" as thanksgiving.

Christmas is always in our hearts, and we hope for the best thing to come. I am hoping for more blessings, abundance, everlasting grace, and the loving mercy of God. This year 2016, gave me a great life lesson. To live a life full of gratitude and a more positive spirit will be carried on the following year, 2017. I hope for the best for myself, my family, and everyone who truly matters. Achieving my cherished goals and dreams is always a 'breakthrough to success' that I must cultivate. The year will always end with brighter hope and aspirations in our hearts for a great year and the year ahead.

© 2016 Del Cusay

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Day to Remember

Celebrating another year of life is one of the most pleasant memories we can cherish. It is when we show gratitude for all our blessings and look forward to another year full of challenges and surprises. We may continue to be challenged along the way and be surprised by something unimaginable --when dreams and desires do come true.

As we journey onward, we give happiness to those dear to us. Happiness leaves an imprint on their hearts and minds. Those things that they have yet to think of would come true. A surprise that would uplift joyful spirit out of the blue. 

The days when we had planned a surprise for someone so special were so exciting. Our mother is about to celebrate her 63rd birthday and deserves some treats. What special surprise could we give that is truly memorable? Aha! A trip abroad! A wonderful surprise. My parents have never been out of the country yet, and it would have been their first time to set foot in a not-so-distant place in the east.

On September 23, 2016, we were about to go to Palawan. Voted as the most beautiful island in the world for 2015 and 2016. I am also excited to visit that magnificent island, as they say, but we're really bound for Hongkong. And that's the surprise. Though it was a funny story at the airport, with such clueless faces on their actual destination, finally it was revealed that they were bound to travel abroad. 

The excitement is accurate, and when we set foot at the Hongkong airport, we're all eager to explore beautiful places. Though we siblings had been to Hongkong before, we couldn't wait to show homes to our parents. I got lost at some point, but walking along the promenade in Tsim Shan Tsui was fantastic. Spending some time overlooking the Hongkong islands' famous skyscrapers is lovely. Victoria Harbor is awe-inspiring as one of the best places to see and experience. A romantic feel in the East. Though a bit tired of walking, crossing the island of Kowloon to Hongkong aboard the star ferry offers a magnificent view of the harbor and the skyline, awakening the senses. The skyline is one of the world's best, and it's just in the east, blending with the west. 

The day that came, September 24, was a special day for my mother, and spending it at the happiest place on earth was a truly magical experience. We enjoyed ourselves so much with all scenes. The Festival of the lion king is such a feast to the senses showing, just like a Broadway show, the 4D theater experience, the Jungle of Tarzan, and Disney in the Stars as the highlight. 

The third day was still full of energy. The picture-perfect ocean park's breathtaking view of the island and the sea is memorable. A roller coaster ride gave me an adrenaline rush that would never be repeated. I did it, but so scary. The entire resort was an excellent place to appreciate the animal kingdom and their habitat, and it's about time to protect their kingdom and class before they're gone. Before sunset, we can meet "kababayans" or townmates and hear their stories. I know how it feels to be homesick since I have had the experience of being away for some time in the past, so a loud laugh would help to release some form of sadness. 

On the fourth day, we're all excited about our next destination. Heading to Macau: once a Portuguese colony in the east. Another memory that would uplift our spirits and make us look forward to a memorable stay in a glittering city of light. 

That was an incredible journey in Hongkong; this story will remain in our hearts. We still have many places to explore. It is a small world, and we all deserve to be happy occasionally. And a little surprise could change our perspective and our world. 

© 2016 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 12, 2016

118th Philippine Independence Day: I Am a Filipino

Once popularly known as the "Pearl of the Orient Seas," the Philippines may have reached the summit of success in terms of political and economic growth and prosperity before it celebrated its 100th anniversary of independence in 1998. However, it took several successions of brilliant and brave leaders that put the Philippines on the political map and enjoyed being the center of attention in Asia and the world.

I always admire the greatest heroes the Philippines has ever produced. Rizal considered one of the most remarkable men of the Malayan race, has touched the minds and souls of  Filipinos and other foreign nationalities through his works and writings that are bold and extraordinary.

As a kid, I've been keen on Rizal as a hero, and at my higher level of study, I've deeply understood his life and his sacrifices for the common good of the Filipino people. When the Philippines was under the rule of Spanish authorities, we were suppressed in our freedom; to express and defend our rights as Filipino People. However, learning about his personality makes me emulate his ways, becoming keenly observant and inquisitive about the current events that are taking place in our political, economic, and social atmosphere. During Rizal's time, when liberty was invaded to keep in silence and follow the mighty tyrants, actions to defend the sovereignty failed numerous times; people fighting for freedom died with thorns in their hearts.

What could be the result of the massive war against giant oppressors versus the sharp bolos, stained rifles, and the power of writing of our heroes? Could the literary works of our geniuses make a significant impact on our freedom?

Today after hundred years of Philippine independence - 118th to be exact, we are looking back to the sacrifices fought by our heroes. We pay tribute to their greatness and valor as they died for the country without seeing the absolute freedom they aspired to. Rizal's teachings have been part of the educational curriculum for young Filipinos to imbibe his greatness and turn weaknesses into strengths. We now have the freedom of expression, and no one can take it away from us; this is the result of the battle our heroes fought centuries back

Now we have been invaded by a colonial mentality where we almost copy and adopt technological advances; communications have improved and delivers instantly and in real time, and anyone is free to express their thoughts and views about political affairs with conviction. These changes are precisely opposite to what heroes from the past have experienced just to express their ideas and criticism against leaders and the government.

Today, the 12th day of June 2016, is another year of celebrating the success achieved by the Filipinos. We are now reaping what our heroes have sown. We might constantly encounter challenges and problems but we have proven our resilience. We continue to fight the battle and show inherent traits of bravery and valor inherited from valiant heroes. Our heroes of today may not exhibit boldness and a strong sense of nationalism, but our national heroes have done enough, and now we live in a nation built with blood and tears. What could be their thoughts and emotions if they have also experienced what we are enjoying now?

Now that I have grown up as an adult, I will continue to fight for freedom and have full expression of my views and insights to protect and uphold our rights. We have a long way to go, and we are still living in an uncertain world where others show signs of personal advances and taking away our absolute freedom. I am a Filipino born of the Malayan race, and I will show patriotism, kindness, and heroic deeds if necessary. I am a Filipino and will show greatness in my work, delivering excellence and prestige. As a Filipino, I will show dedication and loyalty to our country and be part of nation-building. I am a Filipino and will do my best in words, deeds, and thoughts.

© 2016 Del Cusay

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Week 2016: The Pilgrim's Journey

National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles, Iloilo, Philippines

A long narrow road where darkness invades is where you can see a pilgrim who has nothing to see but total darkness. Illumined by a Divine light where the darkness is expelled, struggling with emptiness for the faded goodness.

This year's Holy Week is another journey of struggles and misery for every faithful who wants to see and feel the full illumination from within. The Divine light that showers us to empower our being also empowers us to dispel the negativity of the soul trapped in sorrowful darkness. Licensed by the guiding light to strengthen the spirit to become whole is to share the illumination with others as an obligation to follow. He is "the way, the truth, and the life" no one should contradict, but accept with grace and light.

Another chapter of life in a less-known land is a pilgrim who stands up, regaining the bravery of the soul. Pulled down by its own negativity and weakness of the spirit, but guided by a little spark that ignites the soul is not limited. I am lost along the way. Should I trust the instinct that comes my way? Lord, save me from disgrace and lift me with your loving grace.

This Jubilee Year of Mercy is to acknowledge the compassionate, merciful, and ever-mighty spirit that will renew the faith of a lost Pilgrim. The Holy Door is the portal of entry for examining the faith and strengthening the weakened soul. Blessed by the Holiness who touches my spirit; forever be loved and the message of love to live forever and be it.

Along the road is a Pilgrim who ignites the fire. At times loses from darkness but is still able to recover the light. The struggle of an illumined soul to resist the temptation of the dark. Cast away the evil, and preserve the purity of the heart. Guide us, oh Lord, when we are tempted by false beliefs; you are our savior; protect us from defeat.

As the Risen Lord gives us hope, may we live with Him in our journey along the road, with footprints in the sand, leaving the negativity and cleansing the spirit. It is our ultimate glory to live an eternal life without the limit.

 © 2016 Del Cusay

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Heart's Desire: Living A Fantastic Life

There are times when life gives us a sweet taste of beautiful experiences. Often, life may also provide a bitter taste of painful memories. 

However, we reminisce about the sweetness and bitterness that haunts us, our thoughts and emotions that will either make or break us.

When a tough time comes, we challenge ourselves to overcome it. We are creating an emotional shield as a protective defense not to become broken but to shed the light of love to ourselves and others. We activate the inner light to guide us when we are lost and to be redirected toward the path of righteousness.

Our memories are beautiful experiences that uplift us when things aren't right. Our miseries can teach us to become challenging when we are halfway through... but a fading light. We are crafted by our imagination and desires that can spark a greater force of illumined self for the greater good and a better life.

Today, we are directing ourselves based on the principles we inherit. We go on confidently and without hesitation; we pause and ponder when it seems doubtful. We continue to seek validation despite fully knowing ourselves, "Are we good enough, or is it just enough?"

As we continue the journey, we are "Following Our Heart's Desire," We are molded through life's hopelessness and challenges, turning miseries into bliss. The peak of temporary happiness is when we surpass the valley of tears, a cycle of life that is never-ending, always brief but has a joyous end.

Our destiny is always unknown to us. However, a Divinely-inspired being will arise in us, sharing a light of hope with some and enlightenment with many... only then is it right to live in comfort and the precious life we deserve to be.

 © 2016 Del Cusay

Monday, February 1, 2016

Stars of the Galaxy: Reliving the Magical Moments

Sometimes, we reminisce about wonderful moments that once made us feel good about ourselves. We enjoyed those moments that captivated our imaginations and desires. 

We cherish the times when we feel ignited by our passion and aspirations. We feel great about ourselves and strive to show our best selves.

Today, we live and create our own reality, our version of life that guides our destiny. It's not just a dream, but to rekindle moments that will launch us to our destination -- our future success. We create a roadmap to guide us along the way, not to be overwhelmed by circumstances but to regain ourselves when we brave the stormy seas.

Our journey to success will always depend on how much power we unleash in ourselves. Once the untapped energy is activated, it will be ever-ready to launch us to something unimaginable. You may not believe it at first, but those dreams and desires are becoming closer to reality -- your magical journey.

We often meet uncontrollable circumstances to challenge us, make or break, test... Our unwavering faith would build a solid rock; to strengthen the core. And when the rough time comes, our best defense would be on hand, fierce and mighty, ready to knock out and bounce back to reality.

On the way to the peak are hills and valleys that often get unnoticed by many, disregarding the hidden struggles and dreaded misery. 

Others see the hollowness that breaks easily, though the barrier is still unbreakable to set you free -- you become a winner and will always be.

Our commitment to excellence is like a bow and arrow. It will uplift our standards and eventually prove our worth, not to others, but to ourselves. Whereas our goal to hit the target is like a compass. It will guide us toward the right path. We might get lost, but we can surely regain our life and follow the guiding light.

© 2016 Del Cusay

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Celebrating the Feast of Sto. Niรฑo 2016

On this day we celebrate the feast of the Child Jesus all over the Philippines. It has been part of our culture and tradition that we venerate on the holy image since it was brought over by Spaniards in our country. Since then, Filipinos would embrace Christianity and become our way of life.

The feast of Santo Niรฑo is one of the most celebrated event in the Philippines and millions of devotees all over the archipelago would join activities in honor of Him. From the oldest city of Cebu and the busy streets of Manila, the festivity is alive; it is vibrant, colorful and full of energy.

Today I was able to witness how we celebrate this famous religious event. Thousands of people participated on the parade as they march to the beat of the drums. The long procession was full of energy as they carry the holy image while waving it on the air. Some holy images are uniquely dressed to portray different occupations like policeman, nurse, doctor and others. This concept has been a tradition among the faithful who believes that it will bring blessings to them and guide their living.

The feast of Santo Niรฑo de Tondo 2013 was memorable to me as I personally experienced a crowd of devotees as they celebrate the mass and have their holy image blessed with a holy water. I made a sacrifice of falling in line to reach the top of the church in Tondo, Manila where the holy image of Santo Niรฑo is placed. To touch the holy image and say a prayer is  a symbol of faith and devotion -- faith that is unique among us and would forever be observed with our grateful heart. 

The Holy Child Jesus in his image we call as Santo Niรฑo reminds us of innocence and vigor. When we were young, we have full of wonders and we have  genuine happiness; we are robust and truly present. We don't mind about negativity and we feel that we are being guided. Just like Santo Niรฑo, it reflects the child within us. Our humility, graciousness and innocence leads us to live a positive life despite the struggles and challenges we are going through.

It is with our faith that we learn to be strong and keep on moving forward. The strong Divine force -- our God is there to watch over and guide us. When we are fearful, we turn to become fearless. When we are weak, we develop strength; and when we are about to quit, we suddenly hold on and keep the faith. 

© 2016 Del Cusay

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Nazareno 2016: Celebrating The Feast of The Black Nazarene

The feast of the Black Nazarene, or in Filipino called "Pista ng Poong Nazareno," has been a significant religious event in the Philippines. It is more than a culture, but a symbol of courage and faith in God Almighty. Through the years and for several centuries, Filipino devotees venerated and showed piety through the holy image of the Black Nazarene at the Quiapo Church in Manila.

It was 3 years back when I first celebrated the grand feast of the Black Nazarene. It was a solemn event near the church where devotees flocked to celebrate the mass and have their religious items blessed with holy water. Although the weather is quite rainy, people still consider it a blessing. I have even experienced showering in the drizzle and don't mind getting wet. It is a sacrifice and a show of perseverance despite a little obstacle.

As I remember Nazareno 2013, the crowd around Quiapo church is more peaceful and orderly than the "traslacion" or the transfer of the image from its original place in Luneta (now Rizal Park) going to its current home in Quiapo church. During the traslacion, millions of devotees brave the massive crowd along the streets where the procession passes. Others would have the endurance and courage to hold the piece of long rope attached to the image, which they believe brings miracles to their lives. Some would have their hankies wiped over the image, believing it can bring healing power.

Numerous stories have already been shared by devotees who could testify to the miraculous power of the divine image of the Black Nazarene. Even famous Filipino celebrities would also share the blessings they received from their devotion. However, the event is for everyone regardless of societal status; rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old could show their faith and devotion.

On this day, the 9th of January 2016, I again experienced the religiosity of the Filipino devotees to the Black Nazarene. The vicinity of the Quiapo church is crowded with the faithful who celebrated the mass and novena. For about 2 hours, I didn't mind standing as I heard the holy sacrament while praying for my personal intentions. Individuals and families are praying together. Some parents would even bring their little child despite the crowd. While some people who are physically sick would endure as an act of sacrifice for their intentions.

Those who did not go to the traslacion or procession have just visited Quiapo church to celebrate the mass. A crowd of volunteers and devotees go barefoot, which symbolizes humility. They have been serving the Black Nazarene for several years to show their faith and more profound personal devotion.

I am not an active devotee of the Black Nazarene, but I believe that God hears our prayers and intentions if we come with all our hearts and humility. I am one with millions who experienced Divine blessings and interventions. It is truly a spiritual journey; along the way are hardships and struggles that are fulfilling in the end.

The feast of the Black Nazarene is not about religiosity. It is also a test of faith as we endure and sacrifice in this event. When we are weak and giving up, God is there to save us and make us strong and complete. Moreover, it would take courage and humility to be with the massive gathering of the faithful to give thanks, ask forgiveness, and pray for personal intentions. It is a spiritual journey not just today but a lifetime and eternal life.

 © 2016 Del Cusay

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year 2016: A New Beginning

What an incredible year 2015. This might be the most straightforward statement of what I've been through for the previous year. There were ups and downs, but still able to conquer challenges and reach another milestone in life. 2015 brought me to another chapter of extraordinary living where I stretched myself beyond my limits.

It was a fascinating journey when I've been to places where my thoughts brought me. It was indeed a law of attraction that works whenever I need it. Years ago, when I started to believe that we become what we think, I learned to practice and incorporate it regularly to achieve whatever goals I desire. 

If I have done it before, I could attract things that will work for me. This year I have accomplished several goals while others are in the process and turning them into a reality. Life has never become as magical as it may seem, but with creativity and passion, there has been an unimaginable turning point. 

Some tough decisions would have changed circumstances, yet it was something fulfilling. For a long time in service, now is the time for a new adventure with awesome people full of energy and confidence in reaching a certain level of success. 

The previous chapter has always been challenging, hence full of challenges that made me a better person. I've been polished like a gem -- a precious one that illuminates and sparkles. It is a product of enlightenment to a certain level and my deepest gratitude to the master of life that I once knew. 

Everything learned will always be carried over to the next chapter, and then it goes on. Everything has significance and will be of merit when done with honor and dignity. Being grateful for past success will help create more abundance and blessings, which is what I know for sure. 

However, it's only sometimes about the peak of happiness and success. There may have been untoward circumstances beyond our control, and that teaches us a lesson to be resilient and move forward. Life may throw a hard rock, but it can become a polished and refined stone after that, depending on how we deal with things and accept the challenges. 

It's genuinely fantastic to face obstacles toward success. It takes passion, courage, and desire to make it. Along the way are rough roads and intersections that will eventually lead in the right direction. It may seem like a very challenging year take, but with perseverance, I surpass the trials that will launch a newer, more extraordinary version. 

© 2015 Del Cusay