Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Great Escape

The weekend is an excellent time for soulful conversation or reflection. But, when today's lifestyle is spent mainly on computers or smartphones, there's little time for a natural and more profound retreat about the things that matter; our life's soulful journey and the quest for meaning. I may be guilty of binge-watching Netflix series or movies, but hey! It's Sunday, just a moment of relaxation and appreciation of visual arts. 

After all, we got to enjoy and get a moral lesson from the striking lines of the actors. Sometimes, the simple and short movie lines strike us from the inside, leaving us in tears. It brings back beautiful memories of a recent or distant past; we couldn't get over it quickly.

What's with The Dalai Lama that I got so interested in watching a movie about his great escape? It was back in 2011 that I started to know more about him and how significant and influential he is to India and the rest of the world. The Dalai Lama may be a Tibetan by blood, but he has become a world-renowned spiritual leader through the years. Then in India, I started reading his books about love, peace, and compassion — genuinely captivating to the soul. Perhaps, many people still do not know him, but his message of love and compassion is similar to that of The Pope. I am a Christian, but love is a universal language that unites humanity and the world. Same as with compassion, on which we have evolved as human beings. When we love someone, it's not about the similarities that we are looking into. We love someone regardless of race, creed, or beliefs. 

The Dalai Lama's great escape was his sacrifice to save Tibet and its people. It was in 1959 when he sought asylum in India to escape Chinese persecution. He feared for his life and the fate of the Tibetans if they chose to stay under Chinese rule. His escape didn't mean cowardice, but he was thinking about the future of the Tibetans. Almost 6 decades have passed, and The Dalai Lama is still strong and remains a highly influential political and spiritual figure. He is the greatest gift to India and is visited by thousands of people globally in his hometown in Dharamsala, the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. People who are into spiritual practice would love to see and hear from his lectures and stories that are practical in today's time. 

I was fortunate to have seen him personally in Dharamsala back in 2013. Meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala was one of my most incredible experiences. To have met him is a spiritual bliss that I will always cherish. His philosophy is beyond Buddhism's teachings, and that was when I saw Buddhism from a different perspective. It is simply universal teaching about love, peace, and compassion that is relevant in our time. 

The Dalai Lama's great escape led to a movement calling for a "Free Tibet" even after decades of settlement in India. The Tibetan Government-in-exile is very much active in its quest for freedom. To be an independent state concerning their culture and spirituality. How could his great escape be relevant in our time? As I watched the movie, I could imagine his suffering, but that is due to his undying love for his people. The Dalai Lama left Tibet without expensive and luxurious possessions. He just had enough to survive the long days of wandering until he reached the spiritual land of the free. 

Sometimes we have to make the greatest sacrifice for our loved ones. We have to go independently by leaving them behind. However, no matter how long we haven't seen them, they are still in our hearts. Our love has evolved so that it is not only about serving them but serving others with love and compassion. The great escape is about leaving our fears, hatred, and other negative emotions that are toxins in our being. Today, people may fear the unknown, becoming hateful and full of revenge and wicked thoughts. We should have aligned ourselves back to our nature of being good. 

We have seen countries go against each other, world leaders fighting each other, and citizens against their governments. We have not ended centuries-old conflicts and wars resulting in poverty and suppression. When shall we become free again? Free from abuses, maltreatment, and slavery? When shall we end physical and emotional suffering and killing? We may never know what the future holds, but one thing that can free us from pain and suffering is when we learn to plan for our great escape. Like the Dalai Lama, he made a wise decision and acted bravely to face his fears, deal with the unknown and free his heart from hatred. The Dalai Lama's spiritual journey teaches us why love and compassion can free us all from modern-day suffering. We can live not by having more but by having what is truly important and meaningful. 

Back to reality, that was another quality Netflix time. With a cup of coffee and relaxing meditation music, I can have a good night's sleep and start the working week full of positivity. No matter how tough our world has become, we still have to free our inner world not to defeat our life's purpose our quest for life and meaning. 

© 2018 Del Cusay

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Weekend Fitness Inspirations for Better Health

It's summertime, and people are into different fun and exciting activities. It may be the ocean breeze that makes people swim on the beaches. Others may enjoy the long ride reaching the mountain peak, offering the best view of the valley and the sky. Some may enjoy bonding moments with their family in their hometown while on summer vacation. Endless bucket lists to fulfill desires to unwind, feel relaxed, and live the most significant moments of their lives. These are what different personalities are up to as they experience the hottest season just before the onset of the monsoon.

Summertime brings us closer to our goals as we finally execute plans in action. As my new year's resolution, I have set some goals to shed a few pounds, maintain an ideal weight, and get fit. Forget about Travel Inspirations momentarily and focus more on regaining better physical health. This way, I can do many activities and opportunities as I get back on track feeling lighter and healthier. It seems like a simple goal, but determination and the willpower to make a brand-new start is the key to making it happen. Often it's just a plan, and when a cycle of procrastination attacks, nothing happens, and the goal is dying, and worse is to have just expired. 

All these years, I have learned to put an expiration on the goal being set to accomplish. Never wait for the right or perfect moment, but have the will to start and discover ways to improve as you get closer to success. Nothing in life comes easily from the start. 

Willpower always sets us to burn our desires to become fast like a car or higher like an airplane. Our dream, it's limitless! Our pace sets us closer to the destination and to winning. Like a race, we burn the fuel of passion and perseverance and stay on track with agility and endurance. 

I am determined, so I have to start... on my own time... my own pace. This summer season is ideal for physical activities as fitness enthusiasts bring awareness to people about the value of health and wellness. I have witnessed the 2-day Fitstreet, an annual event at Bonifacio high street, BGC, offering various body, mind, and spirit activities. Non-stop Zumba of different classes encourages everyone to relieve stiffness and start swaying the hips and losing love handles. Marathon is fun for those who would love to go the extra mile and burn calories fast while strengthening their core.  Yoga and meditation are pure bliss. It's done just before the sun shines so bright in the serene environment. The Power of Meditation is alive! It's been a while since I last practiced it regularly, but the body, mind, and spirit must sync well for better awareness and moral consciousness. 

Fitstreet was created to inspire and motivate people to step up, move up, get started, and finish what they started. In years to come, we may live in a highly digital society, but being aware and conscious of what truly matters makes life precious. 

A lifetime commitment to physical fitness might not be a goal for now, but a single step is enough to start the game until we lose the energy and can no longer carry out the things we used to love. As long as we have the power and the will to live, we can go the farthest distance and live the most extraordinary life we deserve. 

© 2018 Del Cusay

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Physical Fitness For Better Health

Lifestyle change is hard to commit since it requires discipline and consistency. A dietary change, for instance, is hard, especially when living and working surrounded by instant or fast food. That is more convenient for always-on-the-go people with little time to prepare food. The physical effect could be worse since it makes people obese and prone to hypertension and a higher cholesterol level. This urban lifestyle is making people unhealthy. Looking fit but in the process of developing symptoms like pre-hypertension or hypercholesterolemia.

It was in 2016 when I felt something was wrong with my health. The heaviness on my head, accompanied by cluster pain, makes me sick. I experienced an increase in heart rate and hyperventilation. That time I felt anxious about what was happening to me. Until I sought medical help and through diagnostic and laboratory tests, it was discovered that I have a very high total cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol. In medical parlance, I have hypercholesterolemia and am predisposed to cardiovascular diseases leading to heart attack or stroke if left untreated. That scares me whenever I think of the possible consequence of my chosen lifestyle.

I used to be a health trainer for about 4 years, and during those times, I have helped people get fit and healthier at all levels of health; physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual. I used to teach physical exercises and breathing techniques for health and longevity. I have contacted more people in several cities in the Philippines and Asia. After leaving my role, I am back to the old ways; less exercise and a meat-based diet high in fat. I can't resist, or maybe I couldn't live without meat. I didn't bother since I could eat anything without getting sick. I am not obese, and I don't feel unhealthy. One day, I was convinced that an unhealthy and unbalanced diet was terrible for my physical health since its manifestations bothered me.

In November 2017, I consulted a physician again and had a laboratory check; the result was still the same. My cholesterol level remains high, and I was prescribed to take an anti-cholesterol drug and make a dietary change. Another test 2 months after, and the result was consistent though I have taken medicine but have ignored food choices. I just can't avoid eating fast food almost daily for about a year. However, I was alarmed about people getting strokes at a very young age, and I didn't want to experience it. So I have learned to ignore fast food, though not totally, and I try to drink less soda. I started eating a lighter and preferred pescetarian diet; fish with some vegetables. Then I felt good that I could survive the dietary change. One more thing is physical fitness is part of the lifestyle change. I used to be physically active, so I believe I can start again.

Living in a highly urbanized city should not be an excuse not to become physically fit and healthy. BGC, just a few steps from my new place, is suitable for exercise. Built as a recreation park, Track 30th  is for those interested in jogging, brisk walking, and breathing exercises.  You can see people of all ages, young and old, who are into fitness, even for a few hours. It's beautiful when urban planners now know the importance of having a piece of nature with trees and natural elements that make people grounded. There are more giant stones where one could sit to relax and meditate. That was bliss when I finally had the energy and enthusiasm to return to fitness for better health. Track 30th is an excellent place to start, and as I continue to explore, I should get more determined about the end result; to feel lighter, calmer, and healthier -- free from diseases and untoward symptoms.

The post-exercise meal should have been light, and to have dropped by at my favorite bakery is also a fitspiration. A few pieces of Pandesal stuffed with Spanish-style sardines and coffee are enough for carbohydrate and dietary protein requirements, plus the antioxidant for free radicals. I should learn to prepare healthy meals and snacks to improve my health and achieve wellness. With exercise and a proper diet, I can become a living testimony that we can achieve health and fitness and fight diseases through appropriate lifestyle changes.

I am inspired to share this journey with others who share the same story or those busy professionals struggling to commit to a total lifestyle change. Physical fitness starts with a commitment followed by endurance and perseverance. It's not only today; I want to maintain what is ideal.  A robust physical body also follows a strong mind and spirit. That's all we need.

© 2018 Del Cusay