The year is coming to a close. Soon, it will be 2015.
Looking back on the year 2014, there have been many special highlights. However, one of the best for me occurred on 11th December to 14th December 2014. As some of you may know, I was actively involved with Gawad Kalinga (GK) from 2007 to 2009. The Founder of Gawad Kalinga (GK) is Tony Meloto. During that time, Philippines was my second home. Tito Tony and his family welcomed me into their family with love. In the process, I became their “adopted daughter no.5”.
GK is doing amazing work, transforming the poor into self-sustaining entrepreneurs and model citizens. In fact, GK is transforming the nation from outside in – getting the Europeans, Americans and other Asian countries to come into Philippines to build for the poor and empower the less fortunate. While I was in the Philippines, Tito Tony took me to visit many of the GK villages – including the biggest slum in Manila, Bagong Silang, and even those in the conflict areas of Mindanao. You can read more about GK here.
I have not seen Tito and his family since 2009. Yes, it has been 5 long years. I got busy with setting up my own work here in Malaysia and attending to pressing personal matters. However, we always kept in touch. Seeing them again in Kuala Lumpur just a few weeks back was a dream come true for me. For that, I am truly grateful.
I have always been a firm a believer that real friendships and relationships do not need constant validation. In fact, when we met up again – it was like the 5 years of separation did not exist. Time and distance do not diminish true friendships or relationships.
Throughout my life, I have been immensely blessed with several mentors, close families and dear friends even if I do not get to see some of them often. Our love/bond knows no boundaries. It transcends time and distance. I will always value these treasures of my life deeply. Human connection and meaningful relationships have always been important to me. It is a joy and privilege to be a part of their lives, and have them in mine. The simple truth is, I am a much better person because of these amazing individuals. Each of them has helped me become so much more than I could ever be on my own.
This Christmas, I pay tribute to all the remarkable people in my life – from inspiring friends I have met or interviewed via online, to families and friends who have stood by me through thick and thin, and to every person who has touched my life – I thank each and every one of you from the depth of my heart.
This Christmas, my thoughts also turn to you – the ones reading, and the ones I may never get to meet or may meet in the future…
If this Christmas is one of the toughest time for you, I offer you prayers, light and love. Remember, even the most painful moments will pass. So, this too shall pass. Sometimes, things have to fall apart to come together in a better way. Have courage and persevere. Don’t give up. Be resourceful, and stay positive. You can rise from this, and you shall. Believe in yourself, always.
If this Christmas things have begun to change for the better – I rejoice with you and hope that you will cherish every moment from here on. The chance for you to do things better or to get it right has finally arrived. Make the best of it, and don’t forget to thank those who have helped you reach this point. As always, happiness is best experienced when shared.
If this Christmas you are starting a new chapter in your life and doing something completely different, I wish you the very best of luck. It is a fearless move to start anew. Here, you get to build the life you want and nurture what’s of value to you. Exciting times are ahead for you.
If you are single and looking – may you find the one who makes your heart sing and inspire your mind to become the best that you can be. In return, may you do the same for those you care and love as well. Love and happiness grow exponentially when they are cultivated by all parties involved.
If you are single and happy – may you continue to celebrate your life journey according to your own terms. Stay fearless and fabulous. No matter at what age, no matter the gender or preference – you deserve to be happy as you are.
If you are married and going through a difficult time – please don’t stop communicating. Talk it out openly, honestly and respectfully. Don’t accuse but listen to one another. Ask yourselves if you truly want to make things better. If yes, then set aside the differences, or pain and anger in order to focus on working things out. Exhaust every option before making that hard final decision. It always takes two to make or break a marriage.
If you are married and going to celebrate your anniversary – BRAVO! You give the rest of us hope that true love does last! It is a wonderful feeling to be married to your best friend, and that you continue to find ways to love one another through the years. That’s sublime!
TO EVERYONE …
There is no perfect guy or girl. All men are flawed, just as we women are. We ain’t perfect and so, neither are they. Learn to appreciate one another in a kinder and caring way.
Ladies, use your wisdom and courage to understand that as a woman we have a choice in whatever role we play – we can choose to be makers of great men and bearers of great children, or we can be single and still be a great role model. We can even be all of the above.
Gentlemen, use your compassion and wisdom to understand that as a man you have a choice in whatever role you play – you can choose to be an inspiring mentor to young boys or other men, or become a great role model for humanity, or both.
Whatever role you choose, do it with great love, grace and integrity.
May each of you inspire other men, women and children to become better people.
Happiness is how you make it.
Ladies – If you want a guy to love you a certain way – trust me, please just spell it out for him. Do not wait and imagine that he will know or figure it out – he won’t.
Guys – please learn to respect women for what they are, and not what you objectify them to be. Please do not let your ego dictate your speech, actions and thoughts. Always be guided by your moral compass. If you want to know what makes a man great – love one woman and make her happy for the rest of your life. Make her feel that she is the most important person in the world to you. Especially when you are both in a room filled with other pretty women. Kindly remember that women enjoy being touched and moved – and here, I do not mean touching or moving their body parts. I mean, touching and moving their hearts – with your sincerity, love and care.
Ladies – please do not waste too much time worrying about your body, or face – whether you need to gain 5 pounds or need to lose 10, or whether there is a new wrinkle or line. Love your body, embrace your body and enjoy living in your body! If you don’t even like your body or yourself, how do you expect someone else to appreciate your body or you?
The person who loves you will love all of you, as you are. This applies to all men, women and children.
A little kindness, tenderness and gentleness will go a long way in sustaining meaningful relationships for the long haul. When we appreciate people for who they are, they will value us for who we are in return.
Always take good care of the women/men in your life – your grandmother/grandfather, mother/father, sister/brother, your daughter/son and especially, your Significant Other or spouse.
Time is fleeting and life is unpredictable. Make each day count.
Do not allow hatred, anger or violence rule over you. Don’t let them stop you from doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is not dependent on our moods, the situation, culture or religion. It has everything to do with who we are as fellow human beings. It is about greater peace, justice and harmony for all of humanity.
Don’t be miserly with your kindness, and forgiveness.
As and when you can, always help and stand up for our fellow women/men – especially those less fortunate and those in need. Many people are fighting a tough battle out there, and could truly use a helping hand. When we do not speak up or help those in need, nothing will change for the better. Real positive progress depends on those who know better, and can do better.
The learning never ends. So, stay teachable for the rest of your life.
By all means – keep growing, creating, and then share with the world.
We do have the power to help every woman, man or child realise their greatest potential.
We have the power to make a difference in someone’s life – big or small. Never doubt that.
Above all, please be a good and decent friend to ALL women, men and children.
Remember, being afraid is human but staying afraid is a choice.
You can start your own brand of fearless living this Christmas, and love the life you live.
There is only one you, and you only get one shot at living.
So, make every living moment worth your while.
Thank you for all the love, support and friendship.
A very blessed joyous Christmas and a most fulfilling New Year to one and all.
With all my love and warmest wishes,