13 November 2018

02 November 2018

Looking Back

A few years ago, 2012 to be exact, I remember making a wish-list for myself. The list included the following items: a pair of boots, a digital SLR,  bookshelf, stability and balance, optimism, strength and powerful reasoning, peace, justice, happiness and new love. My list during that time seemed almost impossible, since I could hardly afford any expensive material things including gadgets or heavy pieces of furniture. I was very particular at saving what I have to buy books or necessary stuff that I can use everyday, and those items seemed almost like luxury.

However, unexpected events happened that lead all of those material wishes to eventually find their way to reality, and much more unwritten wishes coming to life. Certainly, there were mishaps and misfortunes, a great deal of frustrations, sorrows and disappointments - but the solace of reading and solitude, persistence in the presence of troubles; and personal detachment - perhaps enabled me to pass through as the years went by.

It is very difficult to pass the years when I don't share most of the values of the people around me. It can be terribly alienating. Very often, I question my individual integrity and happiness, and if it is possible to be at peace within myself if I just follow what is expected of me instead of what I strongly believe in. Even reality presents itself in various ways that sometimes, I doubt if what is being called 'reality' is even reality at all. Time passed by so fast without me noticing it. Sometimes, I get so absorbed in many activities, but at the end of the day when I process what had happened, it just seems that it was just a dream that slowly fades away in memory. Everything, it appears, is just a Distraction: away from the certainty of life, and the fact that it is just a Distraction is a reason that anticipating mishaps or worrying about the future is pointless.

Looking back since six years after I wrote the simple wish-list, I am grateful to have acquired both material items, except for partly some of the intangible items that were included on the list. Maybe, because I think that items such as justice and stability are unattainable. There is no perfect justice in this world, not even stability. Chaos, uncertainty and suffering are everywhere - they exist in the human mind and they are present in the external world. However, it is a necessity to at least lessen suffering even in small individual acts and to re-arrange chaos to a form which, if not pleasant, is at least tolerable to the beholder.

This year, as I reflect for being a year older, I realize that there are values that I held firmly that need to be discarded. Years were spent reflecting on them and it dawned on me that they are no longer necessary in my journey. There are, however, thoughts and beliefs that will stay - but as a whole, I can definitely say that I am no longer the same person when I was younger. I can no longer hold on to many things that weighed me down as a person even if they were present in my darkest years, and they need to be outgrown and kept away neatly at the boxes of memory.

Neither do I have to pretend or to act to be somebody I am definitely not, or to fake a facade or emotions to show to the world - that to me is a betrayal of individual integrity and authenticity. A lot of sufferings in the human condition are caused by people faking their real selves and showing false emotions to manage the impressions that other people may have on them. You do not have to smile if your heart is aching inside. Let your pain and suffering express themselves, but never forget to confide your innermost thoughts and feelings only to the people who value you and can safeguard your humanity and dignity.

For this year, I can definitely say that I am grateful for having accepted and expressed my authenticity to myself and the people in my life. I have distanced and cut myself from anything or anybody who have caused me hurt or betrayed me, I became in tune with my inner self by setting time for self-reflection and by doing what I am passionate about, to have forgiven my mistakes and the past, to constantly make the effort to change what is unpleasant about my actions to other people, to be more self-reliant and kind to people and living things, to never ask for personal validation, and to have nurtured my intellectual life.

Last July to September, I was able to teach at a university - a milestone and a dream come true even for the time being. On August, I was able to present my Masteral Thesis at graduate school, which I had been writing since last year; last week I traveled out of town to visit National Museums at Manila, and this weekend, I traveled with my family to Baguio City. I only produced meager paintings this year, but both were fulfilling because the process reminded me of the joy of seeing colors coming together to form a finished work.

Material-wise, I had a new computer, a new set of books, a new easel, and a new printing machine. Relationships with my family had improved this year, and I had wonderful colleagues during my short stay at the university. What the future is, I do not know. I just hope that I finish my Masteral degree this year so that I can focus on preparing for writing new researches on my field and helping other people, or to continue teaching. I'm reminded of a quote by the author and writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, because it reflects my mindset this year, that growing older liberates a person from the past because what the future has to offer is a new beginning,


The future is always open for possibilities. Plans are rough estimates of how we envision things or events may happen, but they do not always turn out how we expected them. This openness of the future is what makes life, I think, in-between the certainties of death - its charm and mystery that humanity may never fully fathom or understand.

21 October 2018

New Book Acquisitions

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/44525502714/in/datetaken-public/

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16 October 2018

Walled Garden, Progressions

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Oil on Canvas, October 14-15, 2018

12 October 2018

Mountain Life

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/31373693848/in/datetaken-public/

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06 October 2018

Milky, The Cat

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29 September 2018

September Photo Diary

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/44215462385/in/datetaken-public/

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16 September 2018

A Reunion

https://www.behance.net/gallery/70243931/A-Reunion

Watercolor on Paper, September 15, 2018
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13 September 2018

Fresh Market Produce & More Gourment Eats

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27 August 2018

July & August Photo Diary

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/40391209122/in/album-72157689423352552/
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22 June 2018

Gourmet Cravings

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/40391209122/in/album-72157689423352552/

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12 June 2018

June Painting

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/40391209122/in/album-72157689423352552/

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Hello June! Well, it has been a not so eventful and quiet half-year, although I was lately occupied on helping to manage a clinic and with patients. The rain season has just arrived and I'm still adjusting with the weather as the summer had been extremely hot and uncomfortable.

This is also the time when I'm noticing that I had been experiencing what may called a 'writer's block,' where the task of writing is becoming difficult because ideas don't come easily and it's very difficult to focus especially in the presence of distractions. The reason I think is, I just finished doing my data analysis for my research probably a couple of weeks ago, and coupled with a host of other activities at work makes it hard to self-reflect or even to simply write.

So I decided to come back to one of my neglected passions for me to be able to figure things back again and perhaps, inspiration might be restored, and so is to write.

25 May 2018

May Photo DIary

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/40391209122/in/album-72157689423352552/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/39746262632/in/album-72157689423352552/

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May is bustling with daily cooking of various recipes for breakfast. It was a very hot-weathered summer, but at the same time, the family enjoys a varied array of recipes everyday. I'm usually preparing salads in Mediterranean style, and fruit juices (not pictured) with combinations of mango, banana, avocado or guyabano. 

30 April 2018

April Photo Diary

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/41316132081/
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(Hover and click each photo for detail)

08 April 2018

Pamintuan Mansion

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepetitemuse/albums/72157693619990821

(Hover and click photo for complete and high-resolution photos of Pamintuan Mansion)

Don Mariano Pamintuan built this house, which was started around 1890. Together with his wife, Doňa Valentina Torres intended to give it as a wedding gift for their son, Don Florentino Pamintuan. It was however, not yet fortunately finished by the time Don Florentino married Doňa Mancia Vergara Sandico on 1895. In the later years, the couple finally settled in their finished home.

When the revolutionary army occupied Angeles around 1898, the house was used as headquarters of Gen. Venancio Concepcion. Later in April 1899, Gen. Antonio Luna used it as the general headquarters of the Filipino Army where he drew the plans for the defense of Pampanga against the American army.

On May 27, 1899, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo moved into the mansion and made it as his headquarters and presidential residence. He was accompanied by his staff, including officers Gen. Luciano San Miguel and Gen. Gregorio del Pilar.

Gen Arthur Mc. Arthur and his staff made the house as their headquarters in 1909, following the victory of the Americans over the Filipino army.

The Pamintuan family finally resided on their house from 1902 to 1941 with a total of ten children born in the place to Don Florentino and Doňa Mancia, and later on, with his second wife, Doňa Tomasa Centeno.

A contingent of Japanese army cavalry occupied it on 1942, and served as a home to Kamikaze pilots. Later on, during the Liberation, the mansion was occupied by the 102nd Anti-Aricraft Brigade, and then, by the United States Services Organization (USO).

The house was bought by Don Pedro Tablante on 1959 and was leased by the Angeles City government to serve as a City Hall annex. Through the efforts of the Angeles City Historical and Cultural Committee, the Tablante Family donated the house to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 1981. Restorations were made on 1983. On 1993 to 2009, the Pamintuan Mansion became the Regional Office of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Through a memorandum agreement on 2010, the ownership of the mansion was transferred to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, where it now serves as the Museum of Philippine Social History.

Excerpts from:


Angeles, Kasayasayang Lokal, Zaide Foundation
Singsing, Center for Kapampangan Studies
Museo Ning Angeles 

30 March 2018

My View of Positive Psychology on Assessment and Personal Experience

Positive psychology, as a practice, discipline and developing science had been in the development of psychology, a response to a pathology-centered view of the human being and mental states that were the starting points of depth psychology and psychodynamics. It focuses on the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive, founded on the belief that people can lead satisfying and meaningful lives, that they have the ability to nurture what is best within themselves, and that they can improve their experiences of love, work, and play.
 
It is surmised, based from both disciplines, positive psychology and depth psychology are on a magnified level, as to how they are popularly presented, highlight only a limited picture of what they are actually proposing on their views of the human person and these also account to the practice of assessment and identification of psycho-pathology. However, it seems to me that they are both sides of the same coin, and they are necessary not only in flexibility of practice in assessment and therapy, but also on assisting individuals to lead better lives, make better decisions that are suited to their choices and respective backgrounds.
 

In assessment, in response to a referral question, it is necessary to view the individual on a holistic perspective, identifying not only the existing problem, but also the strengths of the person. Positive psychology is based on the Humanistic tradition of psychology that believes in the inherent capacity of the individual to overcome challenges. In the assessment process, it assists both the client and the clinician to identify what specific aspects of the client can be drawn upon to address the problem, pathology, or the context of the referral question. It is the strengths of the individual that can also address the pathology; and assessment and the therapy processes assist the individual on gaining insights on how to tap on the inner resources – by focusing on aspects such as ability, resilience, hope, creativity, mindedness, wisdom, courage and responsibility - positive psychological strengths that can be found within the person.
 

For me, positive psychology is not in a sense reduced to feel-good shallow psychology, and it has a lot more to it than how it is popularly conceived. It is developed in landscapes that are faithful to the experience of the human being – it affirms the realities of life that are both experienced as being pleasant and unpleasant, and derives from these experiences the motivation of the individual to thrive in the presence of these realities. However, my view of positive psychology despite its affirmations of human realities is that it is proactive and it places responsibility not only on the individual but also on the context and environment, and in that proactive sense, it does not turn blindly to status quo situations that prevent the realization or achievement of the potentials of the individual person. As I am towards my way of helping other people through the practice of psychology, the science of positive psychology is teleological and goal-oriented; it is helpful in making concrete directions to therapy to assist the clients, through their identified strengths and abilities to formulate their goals and plans, not only to overcome psychological barriers, but also to lead fuller lives.
 

Finally, regarding my personal experience of flow, I recall the moments when I used to make paintings, especially in the process of mixing colors on paper. I was very absorbed on the activity of seeing my hands and paint brush move across the paper, how colors would combine, patterns emerge, lines, landscapes, petals, bricks, leaves; until the whole picture was formed— I lose my track of time and everything seems to revolve around the watercolor painting that I was making. Other situations are when I am reading a book, getting lost in thought when I am alone, or when washing or folding clothes. These and other activities that I enjoy doing make me feel more balanced and less worried; they channel my energy and other tensions that I experience when situations are not really going well for me, and these activities and the flow-states assist me on making ideas and better judgments, see alternative ways of framing situations, analyze confusing circumstances, or simply just to appreciate the unnoticed beauties of life. Nurturing flow is as essential as doing everyday tasks, I see to it that I am able to do things that I enjoy and through these things I experience flow-states. And in my opinion, to reach the particular state of flow where time seems to float in space is akin to the experience of bliss – a transcendent state, which is actually a very rare occurrence in a busy and distracted world.
 

References:
 

Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Positive Psychology: An Introduction. In Flow and 
     the Foundations of Positive Psychology (pp. 279-298). Springer Netherlands.
 

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). If We are so Rich, Why Aren't We Happy?. American Psychologist, 
     54(10), 821