Queen for Seven Days posters

Walk With Me: Remembering Those with Dementia

“Walk With Me” was inspired by the lives of the elderly in nursing homes and people with dementia. I’ve had much exposure to nursing homes since I was young and because of that, I’ve often thought about the process of growing old and what it means to live out your ‘last years’ on Earth. For some people, they approach their last years in fear and maybe hopelessness. For others, they decide to welcome their years with excitement and peace. It really is a spectrum of emotions and attitudes toward life and the afterlife.

I hope “Walk With Me” will inspire empathy and serve as a reminder that even when we are facing our own storms in life, we can still be a source of strength for others. Continue reading “Walk With Me: Remembering Those with Dementia”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

Financial Gaps = Knowledge and Emotional Gaps?

“Life is too short to be spending it in tax denial.”

~Liz Davidson (Chapter 5 of What Your Financial Advisor Isn’t Telling You)

Being in the financial business has given me plenty of insight into people’s behaviors and attitude when it comes to personal finance. It’s fascinating to see how people respond whenever the topic of money comes up. Some people are able to casually talk about it, but more often, people avoid discussing money matters even though we acknowledge that money matters. One of the most sincere, thoughtful, and helpful books that I’ve read on financial planning is Liz Davidson’s What Your Financial Advisor Isn’t Telling You. Much of what Davidson says in her book is similar to the financial ‘lessons’ that I share with people. However, a teacher can only teach so much; the learner has to be willing to learn and take action in order to change his/her financial situation.
Continue reading “Financial Gaps = Knowledge and Emotional Gaps?”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

Young Leaders and the SDGs

Being a young leader doesn’t mean one is powerless, even if certain powers make it seem that way. This past summer I taught a high school leadership class for a summer program with the hope that the students will grow into strong leaders in their own ways and in their own time. I decided to incorporate my studies (IEDP) into my lessons and dedicate some time in discussing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with my students. It was an experiment in some ways. I wanted to see how they would react to the content and stir discussions that they may not be used to having in their public schools. We centered our discussions on Goal # 4 Quality Education and Goal # 5 Gender Equality.

UN_Sustainable_Development_Goals

The students got a sample of the realities that exist beyond their local community and the challenges of international development. It was very fascinating to hear what they had to say when I showed them stories of youth around the world who overcame some horrific situations, fought for their right to education, and still found the strength to give back to their communities (for some examples see the International Children’s Peace Prize winners). We also discussed the limitations that girls and women face because of their cultural and religious beliefs and how boys and men also play a role in attaining 50/50 leadership. (By the way, the boys were quite supportive of the girls during our discussions.)

Continue reading “Young Leaders and the SDGs”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

Religion and Faith in the Philippines – A Few Thoughts

“If you can’t show the difference between religion and the gospel, people will confuse morality with a changed heart.”

~Tim Keller 

When I stepped into my chaotic first home after several years, I gained a fresh perspective on the Philippines. I was filled with both nostalgia and sadness. Like many Filipinos, I’m longing for a time when the country will improve its political and economic structures, reduce and eliminate poverty, and most importantly, show the world the kind of leadership that inspires others to make the world a more loving place and one that upholds the morals that came from God. With a new group of leaders in power, I am more concerned, but still hopeful.

Continue reading “Religion and Faith in the Philippines – A Few Thoughts”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

On Duty, Beauty, and Justice

I wrote a poem called, “Duty/ Giri 義理” in 2014 (although I recently edited it) when I was listening to “Again,” a song from the Escaflowne soundtrack. Somehow the image and story that burst forth was the personification of justice, a strong and beautiful being, whose movements exude love, truth, and clarity (not quite like the blindfolded lady).

Continue reading “On Duty, Beauty, and Justice”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

Giver and Receiver: A cyclical relationship

The-5-Laws of Stratospheric Success

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann is a fun and helpful read, especially during times when we think about how we might improve our work and ourselves. Although we have heard it said that we should strive for a ‘win-win’ situation (meaning there is a tangible benefit for all who are involved), we have to wonder if at times this pattern of thinking becomes another manifestation of our own selfishness. On one level, win-win seems closer to being a matcher, someone who “keeps an even balance of give and take.” (see Adam Grant’s description)

A genuine giver, on the other hand, is someone who is not really looking for a win-win situation; rather he/she gives for the sake of giving, adding value to people’s lives, and spreading goodness throughout the world. It does not matter if he/she receives anything in return. As Wharton professor Adam Grant found out, givers tend to be more successful in the long run.

Continue reading “Giver and Receiver: A cyclical relationship”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

What Can Leaders Learn from Rashōmon(羅生門)?

Rashōmon (羅生門), one of 黒澤明 /Kurosawa Akira’s exceptional movies, is based on 芥川龍之介 /Akutagawa Ryūnosuke’s short story “In the Grove” (藪の中). I first watched it in a film studies course where we analyzed the use of lighting, camera angles, music, and structure of the film to understand how they underscore the themes of equality, truth, and hope in post-war Japan. A few years later, I encountered the film in a leadership course. Seen from a leadership perspective, the movie takes on a new meaning. The dynamics of the film were no longer ideas to be analyzed and entertained for the sake of discussion; they had visible consequences for an individual and an organization. Rashōmon challenges leaders to handle the complex nature of truth and the truth about human nature not within the confines of a film, but in the unpredictable course of life.

Continue reading “What Can Leaders Learn from Rashōmon(羅生門)?”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

What does it mean to be a Christian and to follow Jesus Christ/Yeshua?

Christ Crowned With Thorns (1621-22) by Dirck van Baburen

The Christian mandate to love your enemies is one of the hardest to follow, especially in our chaotic world that is escalating in more confusion and hate. The global events during these past two decades have prompted me to reflect more deeply about the meaning of being a ‘Christian’ and what makes Christianity unique among other worldviews.

The term ‘Christian’ is loaded with a mixture of misconceptions and has incurred examples of ‘unChristian’ and hypocritical behavior. Despite the different denominations and viewpoints, what is crucial to keep in mind is that the heart of what we call Christianity is the person known as Jesus Christ/Yeshua, who I believe is God incarnate and that He rose from the dead. [Check out some of the resources on this debate at the end of this post.] To truly follow Christ is to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15) and walk in humility and love even (and especially) amidst trials and persecution.

Continue reading “What does it mean to be a Christian and to follow Jesus Christ/Yeshua?”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

Purpose and Calling

road-sun-rays-path

Purpose is indispensable. When we apply for college, grants or jobs, we typically submit a statement of purpose or talk about our reason for applying during an interview. When we continue a particular activity, we normally have a reason for doing so. Purpose in those scenarios is easily identifiable; however, when we are asked about our ultimate ‘why,’ many of us have trouble articulating our response. As Os Guinness says, “the trouble is that, as modern people, we have too much to live with and too little to live for. Some feel they have time but not enough money; others feel they have money but not enough time. But for most of us, in the midst of material plenty, we have spiritual poverty” (2003, p. 4). Abundance, material wealth, and accessible pleasures have generated a hunger for meaning.

“What is my purpose for living?” I assume many of us have asked a variation of this question at some point in our lives. We seem to have a feeling that we are meant to do more with our lives, but we do not always know what path to choose. We seek to identify and understand our ‘calling.’ Continue reading “Purpose and Calling”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.

Queen for Seven Days posters

Leaders, Heightened Consciousness, and Heavy Choices

One of the more recent realizations that I had about leadership was the responsibility of leaders to raise everyone’s level of consciousness. It is another way of saying that leaders will open up competing views of reality and ‘truth’ and ideally equip the team to make the most informed decision about certain issues. With heightened consciousness comes the realization that there are choices and each one carries consequences. To what extent this consciousness is raised depends on the leader’s own level of awareness and capability to ‘wake’ people up. Leaders have to be lifelong learners and continually build their understanding about the DNA of ultimate reality in order to select which lessons to emphasize and pass on to the team. Continue reading “Leaders, Heightened Consciousness, and Heavy Choices”

Writing to inform and inspire others to be a blessing in the world. Always exploring ideas, listening to music, and seeking the truth.