Category Archives: Meditation Monday

Horror Vacui

How would you feel about inhabiting the empty spaces in your life? 

I am far from being religious, but the Jesuits have a soft spot in my heart. And this, this speaks to me. 

I struggled with Horror Vacui in 2016 and I have been wanting to face this issue head-on this year. There’s just too much running around, too much fire and air, too much static, to many to-do lists. I need my quiet time, to inhabit my empty spaces again to find my voice, to just be

Happy Easter, friends. 

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It seems easy enough to escape Quicksand. You just need to keep your cool, stay in the present, make room for yourself, float, and stand when you are able to do it on your own. You can’t expect people to pull you out of it because they can’t and they shouldn’t. It’s something that you have to do and figure out on your own.

I have never seen quicksand and, being a hermit that I am, I don’t know if I ever will. But it’s good to know; there is a life lesson here. I feel like I have been roosting in some form of bog of my own for a long time now. I have been living in a void that I have kneaded and fed, helped expand, and have allowed to swallow me whole. And, much like what they said about trying to escape quicksand, the more I struggle, the more viscous and constricting it gets.

I’ve been getting it all wrong, I think. I haven’t been making time to do things that spark delight in me. I have been too focused on struggling to survive, to make a living, that I have let my eyes wander off away from the prize. I have been settling for things when I should have settled within myself and listened to Steph. Is this really how I want to be for the rest of my existence? I need to find time again to do things that give me true joy; things that would give me room to expand and help me rise again. And, yes, I shouldn’t be afraid to lose my shoes or any other thing along the way. They are just objects, nothing of consequence. Life should not be about survival, but more about being alive.

I have lost my way and getting stuck in this quagmire was probably the best thing that could have happen to me. If you walk around without looking or without purpose or without being present, you are never going to get anywhere and, perhaps, you’ll never even know that you have been going around in circles, in a daze. Running on empty and on autopilot can only sustain you for some time. I should be grateful be in this sticky situation instead of wandering around aimlessly.

It will take some time to get out of this murky sinkhole, I know. Patience is crucial. It is quite daunting, to be honest, to try to get away from this. But maybe it would not be as overwhelming if I think less of it as a “escaping” and more of break, an opportunity to rest and just be. I’ve alway asked the world to stop from spinning so I could get off. Well, here it is. The goal is to trust enough so that I could float and stand on my feet again. I hope I don’t have to break my back like that cartoon guy did, but I am willing to roll on the ground and crawl if I have to. Then maybe if I let go–maybe, just maybe–I won’t just find solid ground to walk on, but be it would be strong enough for me to run on, lift off, and fly again.

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On losing my voice

From September 2006. Almost didn’t recognize myself.


Child of Saturn

Something clicked into place inside me. I awoke with a start, jumped out of bed as the sun rose, and started cleaning my room. I threw open all the windows, scrubbed the floorboards, dusted my bookshelves, and changed the sheets. I rearranged the furniture with Herculean determination; I would have torn down walls and transplanted my room to a sunnier spot had I not realized that I was only renting a room and did not own the place. General cleaning was in order.

This could be the effect of the Full Moon or it could be that I just got tired of being tired. I spent the whole day yesterday in bed, nursing a colossal hangover. I didn’t really drink that much; with two bottles of beer and a sip of cheap red wine, I willed myself into drunkenness. I was desperate for a reprieve from that barren child who had been spending endless hours splayed on the floor, defeated, reeking with suffocating saturnine malaise and dripping with melancholy.

I was only able to slip away from her tight grip for a couple of hours. When I opened my eyes she was roosting on my chest, scratching the lint on my shirt with muddied claws, staring at the black moth that somehow got into my room. I wonder if she would let it escape. Too exhausted to move, I allowed myself to be swallowed by darkness. An hour later and I was up. She had moved to a corner, her scraggly head resting on a pile of dirty clothes. The moth was gone.

I rummaged through the fridge for nourishment. I opened a bag of fresh greens. My body was screaming for meat, but I couldn’t be bothered to cook. I finished half a gallon of water hoping that would flush down the toxins and cobwebs from my system. There was still no running water (it was the third day; the manager of the building said it would be back by tomorrow) and the electricity was low. I could turn on the fan but not the lights, the telly but not the computer. Frustrated, I return to my room. Mélancolie, as I now start calling her, coaxed me to return to bed. With nothing to do, I gave in. Sleep took over instantly.

It was dark outside when I woke up. The lights were still not working; I turn on the TV. Not even the Sports News could rouse an emotion from me. Spain lost to Northern Ireland? I turn my head the other way and face the wretched creature that has been siphoning my energy. I study her face with indifference—her slithery hair shining in half light, weathered skin that was both greasy and parched, pudgy and taut, her eyes drowning in darkened sockets. She was not malevolent in any way, I realized. She was just devoid of everything; a useless lump of mass occupying space for no reason at all.

I began talking to her, asking her questions. She remained in her wraith-like state, more interested in flicking specks of dirt from her nails than speaking to me. I poked, I prodded. WHY ARE YOU HERE?!? Her apathy enraged me. I started pulling her at her yellow-stained sleeves. I pushed her off the bed. I grabbed her neck and threw her against the night table. WHY? WHY? WHY? Not a screech, a whimper, a moan. WILL YOU EVER LET ME GO? My head started to throb. I wanted to kill.

I stepped back and started to weep. The scream that was thrashing inside my lungs for days was no longer silent. Primordial anger, hate, sorrow, pride, guilt, and wrath pulsated within my shell, erupting from my chest, tearing down the stone cold moor around my heart. I am sorry. I was wrong.

I sat in front of her; I am shivering. She doesn’t ask for comfort or care; I offer her none. I reached for the nearest trinket on the table, a half-eaten chocolate bar, and left it beside her. I bid her goodnight.

Something clicked into place within me this morning. She is gone. Saturn’s child will be back someday. In the meantime I am alone again. I am free to open the windows and air out my soul.

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It’s 6PM, November 2, All Souls’ Day. I say a prayer for all those who have gone before us and for the families they left behind. I pray for eternal rest for departed and peace and comfort for those who still grieve their passing.


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Meditation Monday: Clean Out Closet

From Dori Midnight's Dirty Tarot deck: Clean Out Closet

From Dori Midnight’s Dirty Tarot deck: Clean Out Closet

In 2003 I went back to Barcelona to study Contemporary Art Practices. On the first day of school I met Dori Midnight, one of my American classmates. She was a self confessed “witch”—an intuitive tarot card reader, counselor, and healer. She was definitely one of the most interesting (hence, memorable) people in the group, but what she said to me on the first day was what struck me most about her. I had barely said hello when she said, “Hey, I had a dream about you last night. You were making floating sculptures.” I laughed because, 1) we had just met so how could she dream about me? and, 2) sculptures? I had never made a sculpture in my life! She insisted that that was what she saw and we left it at that. To cut a long story short, I did end up making sculptures, not because she planted the idea in my brain, but because at that moment I hadn’t received the painting materials that I shipped to myself before leaving Manila and that I really enjoyed sculpture class. I was a practicing graphic designer in Manila so it was such a joy to work with my hands. And I found out that I could express myself better though 3D art.

Zen Garden

Zen Garden

We developed a friendship while doing the course and before she went back to the US she gave me a precious gift: a deck of her Dirty Tarot cards. It is probably one of the most unique decks out there in the world; she designed it herself. It doesn’t have the Major Arcanas nor the Minor ones. She divided her cards into special categories (with each containing the four elements: fire, earth, air, water): body, home, food, transportation, sacred space, clothes, transformation, altered state, souvenir, and lucky omen. It looks nothing like a traditional tarot deck, but it’s the most responsive of all that I’ve seen. I was a dabbler in the art of divination, but I never really took it seriously until I got this. I didn’t read everyday, mind you, but I studied it and would occasionally read for a few of my chosen friends. And they all loved it. I eventually lost touch with Dori (My bad: I am not really good at exchanging emails; this was before Faceook), but I kept her cards close to me.

I shelved my deck permanently, though, about 2 or 3 years ago. I was going through a rough patch, felt overwhelmed by everything, and felt totally disconnected with myself. My intuition was nonexistent and I refused to do any inner work. Fast forward to last week: I receive a SPAM email from Dori’s address. I thought nothing of it. The following day an old friend asks for a reading, then about a week later another. Then last Saturday I get a personal message in Facebook from a highly spiritual and intuitive friend asking me if I still did readings. She just thought of me, she says. Strike 3 (or 4, actually). So I searched for my deck. I moved houses in October last year and could not remember where I put it. After about 3 hours (and running low on patience), I decided to look at my “trash pile” and opened an old shoe box. Lo and behold—it was there with my other neglected tarot cards. I felt guilty, but mostly relieved that I found it. I took the cards out of the pouch and it was like encountering an old friend. My brain was foggy, but I knew each one of them and I knew what to do. I definitely didn’t want to part with them again.

So I promise myself to use them again, maybe not for reading other people, but for helping me reconnect with my intuitive side again. I feel as if I’ve buried it a long time ago by not writing, by not blogging, by not making sculptures, and by not reflecting on things. I would like to use these cards to make me focus on things, to anchor my thoughts. Dori gave some suggestions on how to use her cards, and one of them was to pick a daily card to meditate on. I don’t think I can do this everyday (at least not for now), so I will go for a card per week to reflect on for the rest of the week.

The card I got last night (Sunday night) was “Clean Out Closet.” It’s description: Distilling. Making choices. Simplification and practicality. True desire. Purifying ritual to make more room for what you really want and need. Having intention in purging and consuming.

I’m getting goosebumps while I am writing this; it’s synchronicity at it’s best. This is exactly what I’ve been mulling over, not just physically, i.e. sorting and throwing things out, but also emotionally and spiritually. I need to distill a lot of thoughts and make clear choices. At least the cards are backing me up on this one and are asking me to sit still and figure things out. I am grateful for that.

I am still in the process of “meditating” over this card. Maybe I will write about it in my journal or maybe I’ll even share it with you here. We’ll see. But for now, I will dedicate my Monday posts for the cards I pick for the week. Let’s see where this new roller coaster ride takes me. 🙂 

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