Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas in Our Hearts 2015: A Blissful Journey

Christmas is the most awaited season and it is truly the most wonderful time of the year. This is a good time to spend joyful memories with our friends and love ones; to share smiles and laughter to others or perhaps grief and sorrow to some.

The past Christmas celebrations were joyous and unforgettable. I may have missed Christmas in my home country, yet I always felt connected and being loved. Nothing beats the celebration like the way we Filipinos do. It may be a simple celebration, but the spirit of Christmas is truly felt and remains in our hearts forever.

It was exactly four years ago when I've shared thoughts about the holiday season. I have witnessed a different culture and how they celebrate Christmas is wonderful. Christmas in Our Hearts 2011 brought good memories with those people I've been with. It was like having fun in a wonderland and feels like there's no tomorrow.

Christmas 2012 was meaningful since I celebrated it with my family. Since I missed the 2011 celebration, I cherished the moment that we're together. I may not be home for Christmas for 2013, so this is something  worth reminiscing. Christmas in Our Hearts 2012 was full of fun and excitement. Spending time together with my family is a bliss.

Christmas celebration in Tagaytay City

Christmas 2013 was a simple celebration and again I was away from home. It doesn't matter how far is the distance, as long as I never felt alone and I still carry the smile and happiness it brings. It was a nice feeling to have shared Christmas traditions and stories and it will be cherished.

Christmas 2014 was celebrated in my hometown together with my family. It was one of the happiest moments since we don't get the chance to celebrate together every year. It was not as extravagant as compared to previous years' celebration, but the simplicity and essence of Christmas is remarkable.

On this year 2015, I am with my family for Christmas. There's nothing much excitement like the past years' celebration, yet it is wonderful. What matters is the presence of love ones and to share moments with them.

I hope that before the year ends, we'll all be healed from old wounds and unpleasant memories. We hope to deserve the good things in life and we'll work together towards a common goal; to achieve success, fulfillment and experience everlasting bliss.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kathmandu: The Gems and The Lost Treasures

In my journey to the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal, I have fallen in love with its beautiful landscape and have met wonderful people who are friendly and kind-hearted.

In August 2013, in an uncertain moment, I have traveled to Kathmandu and have cherished the 6-day trip. It was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life to have learned from the culture and tradition of the Nepalese people.

From the first day of my trip, I have imagined the glorious past of the place as I pass around the narrow streets with both modern and centuries-old architectures--evidence of Nepal's rich heritage and culture. I have roamed around and bought Kurtas (traditional Nepalese clothe) from different shops and at the same time was able to stop by coffee shops to awaken my senses and to continue the journey.

I was amazed by the view of the Kathmandu valley from the hotel where I stayed as one can see the mountains surrounding the city and the crowded houses and buildings made of stones and bricks.

In a beautiful morning as I walk at the old streets, I have witnessed the businesses of the people. It is so simple, yet full of spiritual practices to start the day. They pray and chant to their Gods and they use aromatic incense to drive off bad spirits or any form of negativity. Everyday, I used to burn an incense of different scents for my personal prayers and intentions.

In a sunny afternoon as I walked in the downtown area, I have seen the simple living of the people. They are not into buying luxurious things. In fact they only have few malls that sells bargain products. In that place, there's a huge football field and park with a tall observatory tower where one can see the panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley.

As I walked down the streets, I have seen beautiful scenery that are natural and some that are man-made. The famous lake in the central business area is where I spent few hours of walking and rejuvenating. Beside the lake are food stalls in the street where they sell coffee, tea and bread and I have tasted it to get some energy for a long walk.

Kathmandu is such a peaceful place and I felt the spirituality of the people. There are temples everywhere for them to pray and glorify their Gods. They offer food and burn incense and there's something more than their religious practices. They care and love people regardless of race and creed. They have happy faces and they even look like Filipinos. I have witnessed their friendliness and hospitality to the tourists. They are very conversant about Nepal's history and heritage and they are helpful in any ways.

Kathmandu is rich in heritage sites that are recognized and protected by UNESCO. A day before I left, I was able to grab the offer for a day-tour in 4 out 7 UNESCO world heritage sites. 

I have meditated in the mountainous places of Swayambunath and Pashupatinath where huge stupas can be seen as the center of attraction. I visited the ancient city and Durbar Square in Patan and it was in that place where felt that I was in a time travel. I sensed that I was transported several centuries back, although I can see and interact with modern people--the locals and foreign tourists in their modern clothing, ways and actions.

On April 25, 2015, it was a tragic moment when the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal was reported to suffer the strong magnitude earthquake. Kathmandu and its nearby town including northern India (Bihar state) and southern China (Tibet region) were heavily devastated and they lost thousands of people including locals and foreigners. The Kathmandu valley was destroyed with thousands of houses and buildings that collapsed, thousand families became homeless and thousand lives were killed.

It saddened me to hear the news as I recalled the wonderful memories I had with the Nepalese people I met and interacted on the road. I remember the times when I enjoyed their heritage sites and everything that Kathmandu has to offer. I have learned so many things about them and I am grateful for the joyful experience.

Now that almost everything were lost, how could they recover from the tragedy? How many of those people I met have died and how many have survived? How are those playful kids I have interacted at the park? Life could be unpredictable that bad things could happen to good people.

At the present time it is about survival, but a sad fate to the innocent lives. You may have met wonderful people, but tomorrow they might be gone. You may have seen amazing structures, but tomorrow they may have been out of sight. Survival is not about religion or spirituality. It is now a way of life.

From the magnificent peak of Mount Everest; the serenity of Pokhara; and to the architectural heritage of Kathmandu, I can say that Nepal is a gem I have found, but now is a lost treasure. It will not be easy, hence it will take time to stand up and face the world again. They need our help in any ways and once they are well and ready, they will stand up and build up its soulful heritage.

© 2015 Del Cusay

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Road Ahead: Dealing with Life's Uncertainties

"The present moment is where life has taken you out of your wildest dreams and desires. It is when you stop that you lose the battle, and when you go forward the road will take you further distance in a least expected moment."

Once upon a time there was a young man who dreamed of a better life; of having the best things and moments that life could bring. These dreams serve as an inner fire of making them into a reality. A young man who is nothing but is full of determination and optimism. Now, what would his life become amidst all uncertainties ahead of him. When his life gets tough and when he has nothing more to do but to believe that there is something that could increase the fire within.

We all have our desires to achieve. No matter what it is, still we are given the passion to live it. All our success is related to the amount of strength that we put into it. The greater the force equals the greater distance.When life gets uncertain, there may be some doubts. It is the evil within that sabotages the desire  the commitment towards excellence. There are moments of feeling incomplete. The fire is getting less and there's a time you notice that it is already gone.

Whatever it is that makes us burnout, the universe has its way to rescue the lost soul. The moment you wake up when everyone seems to be out of sight, they may be gone and have their own soulful journey to fight. Then you realize that life is indeed unpredictable — full of uncertainties. Nothing is truly permanent and there may have been changes in the Divine plan.. There's an end in everything, but we can expect for some changes at the crossroads that will make or break.The road ahead has many intersection that may not serve our real purpose. If tempted by wrong perceptions and false beliefs, it could lead to wrong choices and decisions. However, the fire within could have been ignited slowly as it burns the fuel of success and fulfillment — our heart's desire.

No matter the distance we are taking, there could have been some breaks and some barriers at the crossroads. The moment you stop for awhile is not a reason to quit but to persevere and take a look back as to how far you may have gone through in life. The present moment is where life has taken you out of your wildest dreams and desires. It is when you stop that you lose the battle, and when you go forward the road will take you further distance in a least expected moment.

People may change and circumstances may be painful, but they have made a lasting impact in your life and contributed to your being. They may have served as the key to rediscover the inner fire and tap the highest power for ultimate success and fulfillment.When the time comes that you are defended for your beliefs and philosophies you are not alone along the journey. They push you harder not to be like them, but to follow your own path and realize your potentials.

Obstacles may arise, but the inner compass will lead you towards the destination. When you have reached to where you are right now there's a reason to take the commitment to go farther and believe in yourself that you can make it possible.

Once upon a time when the young man was nothing but a dreamer, now takes the courage to live his greatest life despite the odds and uncertainties. The commitment and endurance will continue to ignite and the soulful journey will reign in his heart forever.

© Del Cusay 2015

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