LIFE LESSONS

My 7-Day Social Media Detox

My very first e-mail

I was in Grade 6 when my cousin asked me what e-mail address would I like to have. I asked her, “What is that for?” She said, “Basta, maganda ‘yun.” After some thinking time, I replied, “I want my e-mail to be angel_kim25@yahoo.com.”

Sounds funny, right? I welcomed my first e-mail when I was 12. I created my Friendster using the same e-mail address when I was 13. Finally, I signed up for Facebook when I was 15. I also signed up for Instagram, Twitter, WordPress, and Tumblr.

I am actively participating in Social Media platforms for almost a decade. Not until time has come that I got so overwhelmed with all the information I read on my newsfeed.

My Social Media Presence

My Facebook was supposedly created for communicating with my family and close friends. However, there was this season of mine when I just accepted all friend invitations I had on my home. After 10 years, whenever reading my newsfeed, I realized that I never really knew those people. Sometimes, I even judge myself why did I even confirm those request.

After a decade, I came to this point in life when I no longer became productive because of my severe social media use. Whenever there’s no work, I could stay up on Facebook 24/7, not because of family and relatives, but because of mindlessly scrolling my newsfeed, checking my Messenger, and posting status which never really mattered.

I almost gave every single information about myself on Facebook. There was no proper education on how to handle these matters. Use of social media was just emerging at that time.

How I Avoided Social Media?

Only this 2019, when I realized this addiction of mine. So, last March 6, I decided to discipline myself in using social media. Here’s how I slowly stopped using my social media.

  1. I log-out from all my social media accounts (except for work-related apps).
  2. I uninstalled Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  3. I uninstalled shopping apps, too.
  4. I removed all the notifications from all other apps.
  5. I set screen time (for iPhone users) and maximized the use of Moment App.
  6. I hide my cellphone away from me before I sleep.
  7. When working, I leave my phone in my bag.

It’s a long process of convincing your mind. But, for me, the best way to start is to UNINSTALL the apps that distract you from being productive. If this is not possible, TURN OFF the notifications.

At first, I also hesitated in doing this because of this question, “What if somebody sends me a VERY important message on those social media accounts?” Well, a part of me said that if that MESSAGE is really IMPORTANT, then, they could have e-mailed you or reached you through your mobile or work number.

My Realizations After Deactivating/ Not Using Facebook

A week without Facebook is a week without stress. I did not worry too much about the stress of certain news. I did not think too much because of the useless post I see on my feed. I felt so free for the entire week.

Also, a week without Facebook is a productive week. I was able to write more essays and poems. I was able to read more significant blog posts, and books. Also, I was able to accomplish more work compared to my attitude before.

A week without Facebook allowed me to realize who my friends really were. My real friends stay connected through mobile number and e-mail. Real friend really stayed through my DOWNS not only in m UPS.

A week without Facebook made me more grounded to the season that I am currently in. I stayed focus on work. I was able to listen to my mind’s deepest longings and desires. It allowed me to reflect more, especially this Lenten Season.

Final Notes

Unplugging from Social Media accounts is freeing yourself from useless anxieties that the world offer. Sometimes, our newsfeed overwhelms us with so much information. It might even make us compare to our friends, batchmates, and relatives.

Unplug yourself from the things that distract you. Unplug yourself from worries. Keep yourself grounded in reality and not in your fantasy. I guess, social media have been used to create a version of ourselves that we want other people to know. You have to remember that you are YOU even before you join social media craze. Be reminded that you are beautiful in your own way.

Hence, please, log out. Take a break from too much noise. Some unknowns are revealed in silence.

LIFE LESSONS

Musings on Solo Traveling

It was my first time to travel solo, last February 22-23, 2019, in Iloilo and Guimaras. I never expected to learn so much from it. It brought me back to my roots. It dragged me to my former self. I remembered that I am just a mere being in this huge world.

I agree with what Abbey Sy said, “Traveling humbles you and makes you realize that you’re just a tiny dot in this big world.”

These are my musings after I traveled solo.

When you travel solo, you travel with the real you.

You don’t have to pretend who you are. You don’t act the way people expect you to. You are just being yourself. No pretentions and spices called lies. Every single thing you do along defines who you actually are. Everything is just so natural.

As I travel, I realized that I am still the KIM who I used to be. A kind of person who laughs, jokes, giggles, and stares at the window side the whole time.

You discover your strength as you journey.

By traveling solo, you spontaneously move with yourself. You rely on yourself more. You learn to become more independent. You stretch yourself to your limits. You finally appreciate how strong you are. Of course, no one is perfectly strong, but at least it’s good to acknowledge that you are a work in progress.

It’s funny how I really cannot place my bag inside the plane. I couldn’t just reach it, but still, I tried. Then, I failed. Fortunately, somebody helped me. I guess, our strength does not only rely on ourselves but in accepting that we need help, too.

You get to know your heart.

As you immerse in your deep thoughts, you are able to listen to your heart even more. You learn to value the simple miracles that happen to your life. You realize how precious a single second is. You also hear the voices inside your heart that you never heard before. You encounter thoughts and dreams that you never encountered.

It’s weird, but I laughed an hour after my solo bus trip in Iloilo. My heart just fluttered. That trip served as a date with myself. Sleeping alone was challenging for me. My heart wandered, but I told it to be still, calm, and be in peace. Thank God, it did.

You value tripod, monopod, and camera-friendly spots.

It’s really hard to take photos all by yourself. You need to strategize on where to place your camera. You need to adjust on the light. You also need to humble yourself to ask somebody to take your photo. I guess, it’s a new learning I wouldn’t forget. 🙂

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But then again, before I did this. I still planned my itinerary ahead of time. I made sure that the places I would be visiting are safe, and in public. I avoided remote areas. I also never stayed late at night. Lastly, I never forgot to pray for a safe journey. 🙂

LIFE LESSONS

The Art of Saying No

This two-letter word seems the hardest to utter. I always try my best not to say NO because it feels rejecting opportunities along my way. Also, it seems refusal to life’s learning. I have associated the word NO to rejection and negative thoughts. Thus, I am uncomfortable to say this, especially to my friends, and to my family.

However, there came a time when I reached the point when I had to squeeze all my activities in one day because of my numerous YESes. My whole weekend was filled with lots of commitments and hustles that I need to comply with. This happened because I did not say NO. I said YES even if my time forbids me.

My weekdays after work were also compromised, too. I had to meet people for ministrIES I’ve committed myself into (because I believe I can manage everything back then). I compromised the days when I can spend time with my lola who was with me the whole time around because of the talks I’ve accepted as well.

I tried to tie everything in one rope, not realizing that this rope may become loose soon.

There also came a time when I felt unhappy on what I was doing. I dragged myself for the sake of completing the task. I totally lost my passion on my task because it no longer satisfies my spiritual growth. I was drained and found myself ranting all day long. This never contributed to my personal growth. Thus, my co-members in that ministry felt the same. It’s a sign, my thoughts said. Then, we all found ourselves resigning from that group.

It’s true that a simple NO is a YES for the betterment of ourselves.

I also stopped spending my weekends on the events that do not add value to my life. I refused a thousand-peso-worth speaking engagement just because prefer contributing to people who genuinely believe in me as a writer. (My practical self vanished.)

Right now, the art of saying NO is saying YES to genuine opportunities that life has to offer. It’s not about closing the doors. It’s more of reminding yourself that there are times that you need to turn down certain things that could make you worry at the end.

I believe it’s not too late to know where to spend my nonrenewable resource, which is time. Cheers for more time well-spent!

Have you ever felt stuck between a YES and a NO? Share your thoughts, perhaps?

LIFE LESSONS

Life Lessons in Regina Rica Recollection

In every recollection, I always look forward to a meaningful reflection about my spiritual growth. I try radiating this positivity to my fellow youth ministers by encouraging them to do the same. However, some reflections are just beyond the usual recollection. Some reflections are best learned from life’s greatest and toughest experiences.

Last Sunday, July 22, 2018, our Parish Youth Ministry Core Group and Facilitators went to Regina Rica for our midyear recollection. It was raining cats and dogs at this time. However, we decided to push through. The roads leading to Tanay, Rizal almost prevented us to travel. There was zero visibility in the area. But, thank God, we still arrived before Regina Rica opens.

We were about to enter the gates when the guard stopped us. He told us to move backward and wait outside. We asked him politely if we could just stay right across the gate, but he refused. Our driver that time, Bro. Mark, had no choice but to move backward—and this event changed the course of our story.

When we moved backward, we smelled burnt rubber inside our car. It was a terrible smell. We ignored it believing that maybe it was just a simple concern. We proceeded inside the venue and prepared our things for our recollection. We reflected in a nipa hut until afternoon. We attended the Sunday Mass, and had our lunch after. I slept while waiting for the next instructions.

We were supposed to visit the huge image of Mary on top of the hill. However, when our Spiritual Director told us that our car wasn’t working, we had to accompany him at the repair shop.

It was still raining hard when we walked towards the repair shop. We rode a tricycle, still, found ourselves not protected from the downpour. We were told by our SD that our car needs to be towed. Oh, my, gulay.

It challenged our faith and our renewed promises to the Lord. We never expected this to happen. We were in Tanay, Rizal! How could we go home? We had no choice but to commute. We definitely found this risky and tedious way of going home. We asked our younger fellow youth ministers to go home ahead of us. The three of us waited for the towing truck. It arrived at six in the evening and reached Taytay at around nine in the evening. Thank God for this. I seemed simple, but, when we were at that place, we were confused, worried, and frightened.

We realized that this event in our ministry taught us a lot of things.

First, there will always be consequences in backing out. Quitting shakes not only ourselves, but also the people around us. When we moved our car backwards, three parts of the engine broke. Same with our life’s toughest decisions. It has a domino effect. Thus, let us be firm in every decision we make. Ask strength and wisdom from God who could enlighten us about our next move.

We’ve also learned that the evil always tempts us and uses our weakness to shaken our faith. The devil always uses instruments which are so tempting! Thus, we always need to practice our faith wholeheartedly and intentionally. Always pray and seek help from God who strengthens us and protects us from all forms of danger. Seek God for He will never ever leave you nor forsake you. He is always with you!

Lastly, it is always better to catch up with your real friends. Never assume that your friend is okay just because he says so. Everybody needs constant reminders and care. Everybody needs a complement. Everybody needs your words of encouragement. Let us use the power of words the uplift our friends who are brokenhearted. Let us be an instrument in making them develop their personal relationship with God. At the end of the day, we will all feel good for this contribution to our friends. Let us make them feel that they are valued, loved, and appreciated.

 

Wooh. So that’s basically what I’ve realized about life. Challenges are constant, and so are the solutions. Keep your faith. Remember that God will never ever leave you nor forsake you.

LIFE LESSONS

A Recollection Based on the 7 Last Words of Christ: My Takeaways

My Takeaways from Me, Myself, and OTHERS:

A Recollection Based on the 7 Last Words of Christ

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Photo from St. Paul’s Online Facebook Fan Page.

I’ve been searching for a meaningful Lenten Recollection outside our parish. Luckily, upon stumbling on my Facebook newsfeed, I saw a sponsored post about Me, Myself, and OTHERS: A Recollection Based on the 7 Last Words of Christ. This event was sponsored and facilitated by Society of St. Paul. It was my first time to attend their recollection, and I was definitely let in awe. I was so inspired that I reached my point of updating this blog after six weeks of being idle.

Here are my takeaways from their recollection.

On Forgiveness…

  • Know ourselves first. Then, pray for our weakness.
  • We are Christians, first and foremost.
  • Love is all we need to forgive.
  • It’s hard for us to forgive, because we are hurt.
  • Pray for God’s mercy and healing for us to forgive.

On Sharing God’s Joy

  • There is no holiness in sadness.
  • God will forgive us if we repent.
  • Paradise is not for sale.

On Loving Our Mothers

  • God’s way is different from our ways.
  • God has always better plan than us.
  • If there is prayer, there is grace.
  • If you are close to Mother, you will never be set apart from the Son.

On Separation

  • Iniwan is different from Pinabayaan. The latter is total abandonment.

On Spiritual Thirst

  • Thirst will be always part of our life.
  • We can be physically or spiritually thirsty.

On Offering our Life

  • Jesus’ life is a never-ending story of giving of 3 S’s: sarili, sakripisyo, saya.
  • We have God who can always give what we need.
  • When God calls, He provides. When He provides, He sustains.

On Surrendering (my favorite)

  • We are called to a life of surrender may it be passion, attachments, or sins.
  • We surrender as a GIFT or as a response.
  • Surrender is the best gift we can offer to God.
  • Follow God without knowing where He’s send you.
  • Wait for God’s perfect timing without knowing when.
  • Expect a miracle without knowing how God will give it.
  • Trust God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances.
  • Surrender is a decision, discipline, and way of life.
  • Ang tunay na kalayaan ay pagpapaubaya.
  • It is through surrendering that we receive God’s gift of Lenten season.

Final Notes.

The Seven Last Words are not words of farewell. These are words of love. These are words of forgiveness. These are the sweetest and encouraging words that Jesus can tell us. He always has more than seven words to offer. When we listen to Him, everything is kept in place. Again, surrender.