shielarcastillo


Leave a comment

In memoriam: to initiatives that didn’t fly

Image result for planting seeds

Photo not mine just grabbed from https://gardenerdy.com/how-to-grow-persimmon-tree

New Year usually evokes feelings of hope and new beginnings. But what I am is anything but usual. The fact that I am so different makes me much misunderstood, rebuked, and even pitied. In some cases for me, I feel there should be no apologies. We are all the same by being unique and different in our ways. And I celebrate this New Year differently in memory of some things that died or have paused, like a seed in slumber, my initiatives that didn’t fly.

I remember writing novelettes as early as 12. I dreamt while sitting on the roof and looking at the sky that the President of the Philippines will finance its publishing because I would write to him a letter and he would say he would support me because I will inspire young people to do their best. Never mind that what I wrote was about my crush and had nothing to do with the real world. Those notebooks, I promptly threw to the bin the moment I realized what trash they were, at the young age of 15. Ok, so I did not become a novelist at 12. But I’m still alive, ain’t I?

I always thought of myself as a cultural creative, long before the term was coined, but didn’t know what to call myself then, or if there ever was a word appropriate. I’ve always gone against the grain. I am the green, if not the black, sheep of the family. Not that I take so much pride in it. I feel it is somehow a curse, or at least fate, that I think and feel so different from the majority. I became an activist at 17, a dropout at 19, a mother at 20, a vegetarian at 26, and vegan more than two years ago, an educator and social development worker, a checkered past, but never without a desire to be part of something that would help make the world better. I always volunteered; tried to lead, organize or at least support worthy causes, I donated my time, energy, and even money when I have it; signed and initiated petitions, designed and drafted projects, communicated and campaigned for my causes; made difficult choices and went out of my comfort zone to pursue what I believed was needed to be done, while being labeled romantic, impractical, and a dreamer (as if it was a bad thing!).

It is basically a restlessness with the status quo, a thirst for being part of something greater, a look into the future, an uncanny way of being always hard on myself to raise the bar for what I could do and accomplish for my work and advocacies. I always become a channel for ideas that I always hope could be grounded to help make the world better. That I fail often doesn’t matter. What matters is that I continue to prod on, or even stop and find another worthy cause and again embrace it like it’s the world to me.

I remember a few years ago being with my friends in MISSION and sharing how I felt so frustrated that some my initiatives wouldn’t fly. I was crying and thinking of this quote from WH Murray:

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: 
                         Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it.
                          Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”

I was crying and thinking to myself, why wouldn’t it work when my intentions were good? Why wouldn’t it work when I committed to it and gave it as much as I could? The answer? It’s not about me. And I’ll explain that a bit later through one of my favorite songs. But for now, why am I shamelessly discussing these on my blog? Don’t I have an image to protect? Is this stuff for blogs or something I should simply cry about on my own? Some people would frown on this and would even forever judge me on this single post. I don’t mind at all. What people think of me is their problem, what I think of myself is what matters. I think that by allowing myself to accept my failures, and showing people my vulnerable side, I allow others to see that not succeeding is not a failure. Failure means I didn’t try. It is important to show that it is ok to fail. But it is even better to start again.

I always have a gung-ho attitude on starting my initiatives, but after having done what I could and it still wouldn’t fly, I have to accept that I am just a planter of seeds. All ideas come from The Only Source, and having done my part, the idea that is an energy takes a life of its own. It might seem like it died, but it is out there somewhere, whispering to the ears of somebody who has heard it before, or waiting underground for the right moment to sprout, or seeding the clouds for an unexpected rainfall. My only enemy is attachment because I grieve when a seed doesn’t sprout under my care. And I mourn without knowing that a greater hand is working for the perfect alignment of the soil, sun, and rain so that together they can shake the tiny thing off its sleep to later bloom and grow into a lovely, giving tree.

So this is the song I promised you that would explain it better. I’ve been a fan of Nimo for a number of years, and I always share his music with my friends. Find and download for free Nimo’s wonderful music here.

Planting Seeds

Music Produced by Daniel Nahmod
Mixed by Brian Nicholls
Song inspired by original “Planting Seeds” song by Daniel Nahmod, 2006, from his ‘Water’ album
 
Intro:
I spent a long time runnin’
I never knew then, what I know I know now,
That the fruits they always comin’
But you can’t go around just knockin’ them down
It takes a long time to showin’
We plant the seeds then, and we look at them now,
But the roots are always growin’
No matter if I’m there or never around…
 
Chorus:
Whatever grows will grow,
Whatever dies will die
Whatever works will work
Whatever flies will fly,
Whatever fails will fail
What’s meant to soar will soar,
I am planting seeds nothing more

                        Verse 1:
                        It’s like your whole life you’ve been training for this moment
                        And when the time comes you just disown it,
                        Meaning you just surrender don’t control it,
                        Not interested in the clay pots and moldin’
                        Or sitting next to the path, tryin’ to unfold it
                        Or waiting for the fruits to fall down toward ya’
                        You let it go and now your flowing feeling quite gorgeous
                        So you take steps away instead of towards it,

What a rush, feeling freedom with nothing to hold
We’ve been taught that what you touch will always turn to gold
But now we’re learning when we let it go, it overflows
With no credit to take cuz no credit is owned
A higher power working deeper when the seeds are sowed
And when the seeds are true, then they’re seeds of gold
But the real gold is joy, when life starts to flow
And when it does, you just smile, cuz now you know!
 
Bridge:
I spent a long time runnin
I never knew then, what I know I know now,
That the fruits they always comin’
But you can’t go around just knockin’ them down
It takes a long time to showin’
We plant the seeds then, and we look at them now,
But the roots are always growin’
No matter if I’m there or never around…

[Chorus x3]

To my initiatives that didn’t fly and seem to have died, thank you for the glorious feeling you made me feel when I believed in you. Thank you for the energy I felt when I was trying to make you happen. Thank you for the pain you made me feel when I felt I failed. Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned when I learned to let go. See you again soon, even if in the arms of somebody else who would embrace you, as if you are the world to them. I love you nonetheless.

Advertisements


2 Comments

What I love about India

india

Happy 70th Independence Day India! Photo not mine, just grabbed from google images.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I’m incredibly in love with India. I have been to India only twice (2015 and 2017) and have set foot only in four states (Karnataka, Jaipur, Delhi, Calcutta). But my love affair with India started long before 2015.

Let me pay homage to this beautiful country which I love as my own. How do I love India? Let me state the ways.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Need a reason to support #Right2VeganFood?

While I don’t want my blog to be reduced to a blog of lists, I’m doing this as I posted on social media a few days ago that I would. I promise my next post would not contain a list.

So for those who are not yet aware, last week, I set up a Bataris Petition on the right to vegan food. While to date less than a hundred have signed, I’ve seen that it has stirred conversations as it should. I’m sure there are also mental arguments among some who have read the petition, and I think that it’s good. That is exactly one my intentions in putting it out. Each person who sees a new perspective in favor of veganism is positive sign for me.

Although it’s sad that we live in a world where there is no assured access to the most compassionate, earth-friendly, and healthy diet, I think it is an idea whose time has come. I’m actually looking forward to the day that petitions like this are no longer needed. But we live in an auspicious time, where palpable transformations are happening all over, and I’m taking part in the shift by pushing for an idea that could no longer be denied.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Vegans have the right to eat too!

 

Ok, ok. I know what you are thinking. I’m a relentless petition signer, and i’m a serial petition writer. I’m overly optimistic, delusional, crazy even, to believe that online signatures could help change the world (in fact they do, too!) I decry the fact that I’m practically a nomad, a rootless environmentalist who couldn’t last more than five years in a place since I had the right to choose where to live. I would love to do grassroots action, and I envy a lot of my fellow greenies who get to build work in their communities. I have also done a lot of initiatives wherever I was in my home country. But I get disappointed when I had to uproot myself again and move. It is disconcerting to say the least when you have to uproot yourself every so often. I am more aware of it now that I am a development worker abroad.

But then I also feel that as an environmentalist, I am a citizen of the world, and that I could work for change wherever I am. I also feel that communication is my gift. As a former teacher, writer, campaigner, and development professional, I see myself as a communicator. And as a communicator who considers Mother Earth as my home country, the internet is one of my strongest tools. So I really don’t mind even if people call me a slacktivist, I consider it a prestigious accolade because I do what I can when I can. I care. And believe me when I say that I am ‘truly engaged or devoted to making a change‘. I believe in whatever I do, I am only planting seeds, and that it doesn’t matter how big or small an act is, as long as the good intention is there.

Continue reading


1 Comment

Why I’m doing nothing for Mother Earth

do nothing

Found in google images, credit to whoever owns it. 

Today is my birthday and I’m doing nothing for Mother Earth. If you know me, I know you would wonder why. Why do nothing when I have dedicated my life to do what I could for her? Why do nothing when last year I had a successful a green gifts for Gaia birthday wherein I asked my friends to plant trees instead of buying me gifts? And in response, my friends gave all sorts of wonderful gifts for Mother Earth in celebration of my birthday. One friend updated me this afternoon about the Spanish Plums that she planted for me last year. She said it is now three feet tall. It will be taller than me next year. Sweet! I even had a mangrove planting celebration with Climate Reality colleagues last year. And now I’m doing nothing?

Continue reading