We have to accept the painful truth that there are times when we become instruments in shaking the faith and in breaking the spirit of others, to be their stumbling block, a rock, a pothole in their journey to spiritual enlightenment.
What would make it bad is when we continue to participate in the turmoil of others despite the realization and knowledge of the role we are playing.
For this, let our daily effort be that we become a spring of hope and encouragement for others by continually sending good wishes to others, even those who've hurt us and are still hurting us. For we may not know that those people who's hurting us, feels the same way towards us.
Come April 1, I will be opening a new chapter in my life, this time as an Aspirant to the Ordo Fratrum Beatae Virginis Mariae de Monte Carmelo (OCarm), a mendicant order in the Roman Catholic Church. (Know more of the OCarms in the Philippines, here). If God wills, I will be a Carmelite priest in 8 years time.
A lot of my friends were surprised, honestly because they believed that my decision came suddenly, and since many know that I was not raised a Catholic. In fact, I only had a week to finish all my responsibilities at work, since it was roughly two weeks ago when I learned that the two-months Aspirancy program of the order will be starting this Monday.
I was happy of course, but my biggest challenge was how I'd be able to leave all my responsibilities at work, knowing that many will be burdened by my sudden absence. Another would be how to break the news to my mother, who is a preacher at a born-again Christian congregation.
Truly, this journey is a journey of faith. And when we answer a spiritual calling, one must have the faith that whatever is left behind will be taken cared of by God.
This decision rests on two of Christ's basic commandments.
When Christ was asked by a Pharisee and a lawyer as to what is God's greatest commandment,
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV).
I always believe that each person's spiritual journey is his own. There is no such thing as substitution. We make our decisions, we travel our own journeys.
Each of the journey we take is an expression of our faith and our love for our God, whoever he may be, and this brings me to my other belief - the universality of spirituality.
God has different names depending on one's tradition, but faith is universal, and by faith, I mean the belief in one Supreme God.
In the passage I quoted earlier, Christ said that there are two basic commandments: To love God and to love others.
Our expression of our love for our God may be different, but such love is there. We cannot say that one has lesser love for his God than the other because we will never know why his extent of showing such love is only up to that point. Others are just not as expressive.
This is my way of expressing my love for Christ - to follow a path of contemplation, prayer, and meditation.
I am blessed to have parents who are very supportive of our decisions. All my life I have donned several masks - a student activist, a physical therapist, a journalist, a spiritual traveler. In all the decisions that I've made, although most may not be to the liking of my parents, they would never do anything to force me, to bend me to their will. They always allowed us to grow on our own, with them as guides. They were full of advice, their worries always merged in it. But they trust us, that as responsible adults we will eventually make a decision that will determine our future. With this faith, and with faith in God, I know that my mom will accept and respect my decision.
With the second commandment, loving others, the Carmelite way of being with the people answers this commandment. It believes in social justice and I embrace such belief.
I do not subscribe to groups who believe that their ways are the only ones that are true, and this has always guided me in my decision to embrace everyone regardless of faith, gender, ideology, or affiliation. Even those whose beliefs do not conform with mine, I make effort to understand them and respect them.
Religion has taught me to be intolerant of others' beliefs, believing that our path is the only right path, but all throughout my adult life I've come to learn that there is no one right path to salvation, and that the only genuine expression of God's love is when we live God's teachings in our life - and that is to live a life of love, tolerant and respectful of the uniqueness of others and willing to serve and to immediately say, 'Achcha, Yes Lord,' when called.
Now, I say, 'Achcha, Father. Use me to be a light to the world and to preach your Gospel of Peace.'
CEBU, Philippines - Walking for at least 30-minutes a day might help you avoid getting diabetes.
This was the message that the Philippine Diabetic Athletes (PDAT) wanted to convey during its one-day forum in Cebu last February 23 with the theme, “Lose Weight, Get Active... Fight Diabetes!”
The event gathered together doctors, nutritionists, and coaches to speak on various topics on diabetes and an active lifestyle.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes, medically referred to as diabetes mellitus, is a life-long disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood.
These high levels of sugar is not just because we eat too much sweets, says Dr. Marian K. Denopol, a Cebu-based diabetologist who gave a briefer on what diabetes is and how an active lifestyle could help prevent the outset of the disease.
She said that the level of sugar in our blood is regulated by a compound called insulin and people with diabetes either has too little insulin in their blood or has a problem with their body responding to insulin thus absorption of sugar by the body becomes difficult.
How did the sugar get into our blood?
When we speak of sugar, it’s not just the one that we use to sweeten our coffee. That is but one form of sugar. Every food that we eat contains one form of sugar or another, but the primary form of sugar used by our body is glucose.
Glucose fuels the body. It is our body’s primary energy source. When our body lacks glucose, our brains would tell us that we are hungry, and so we eat. Too low sugar levels is a condition called hypoglycemia and can be very dangerous.
Symptoms include weakness, drowsiness, hunger, irritability, sweating, and even, in severe cases, loss of consciousness and brain damage.
In contrast, as with the case of diabetes, when sugar levels are too high (hyperglycemia), one would expect frequent urination, obesity, thirst, appetite change, blurred vision, tiredness, headache, slow wound healing, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, dry skin and itching, numbness and tingling, irritability, high blood pressure, and irregular weight changes.
Diabetes and the active lifestyle
Beyond insulin injections or controlling one’s intake of sugary food, an active lifestyle helps put our blood sugar levels in check.
Studies have shown that physical activity could lower blood glucose levels and blood pressure; lower levels of bad cholesterol while raising levels of good cholesterol; improve the body’s ability to use insulin; help lose weight; reduce body fat; give more energy; and reduce stress levels.
Denopol recommends regular physical activity as this could help prevent the onset of diabetes. Walking for at least 30 minutes is the best form of physical activity or exercise that could promote weight loss, she said.
“It is the best form of exercise because it is for free and it can be done anytime of your choosing,” she said.
Thirty minutes of moderate physical activity and five to 10 percent weight loss could reduce the chances of diabetes by 58 percent, she said.
Denopol also recommends to cut back on calorie and fat intake, as well as on making a habit out of having a healthy breakfast.
“When you don’t eat breakfast, tendency is you would try to recover the needed calories by eating more on your next meal. This could be up to three times the usual,” she said.
She also advises that we keep a record of what we eat, our daily physical activity, and more importantly our weight.
“You should implement a weight loss program, on your own or with others,” she said.
Walking for five to 10 minutes right after meals is also a great way to control weight, she said.
Diabetes is a very common disorder that we sometimes fail to recognize the seriousness and the urgency of treating it. However, with a few tweaks in our lifestyle, like adding a few physical activity, this condition could be addressed dramatically.
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The writer is a licensed Physical Therapist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @tribong_upos. He blogs at http://tribong-upos.xanga.com.
CEBU, Philippines - Fuente Oro Business Suites boasts of its homey atmosphere palpably felt the moment one steps into the hotel’s glass doors.
Lilian Co, the hotel’s vice president, told The FREEMAN that several years ago when they bought the property where the hotel now stands, they had no definite plans as to what they would do with it. But news came to them that the city is in constant need of rooms that would accommodate the increasing number of travelers and tourists into the city. That was when they decided to transform what they used as a lodging house into what is now Fuente Oro.
Fuente Oro has 63 rooms classified into standard room with two single beds; superior room with one single bed and a twin bed; the deluxe rooms that has one king bed; the junior suite with one queen bed; and the suite room with one king bed and could also double as an exclusive function room for private concept parties of at most ten persons.
It also has several function rooms including one that could accommodate 100 guests. The smaller rooms are great for meetings and small gathers of 15 to 20 persons.
Co said that what inspire them are the comments that they get from satisfied guests.
“We are new, only three years old, but we constantly renovate and upgrade our facility,” she said adding that this embodies their passion and commitment to provide their guests an experience during their stay at the hotel.
Although the hotel does not have a dedicated restaurant, it has Cupcake Society, a coffee shop ran by her son where the best homemade cupcakes this side of town could be enjoyed. And to keep up with the times, the hotel also has reliable wi-fi access, among its many other amenities.
The best part with staying at Fuente Oro Business Suite is that it is a partner hotel of The FREEMAN, so expect to wake up with a copy of the paper and be informed on what latest happenings in the city including trends and tips on best places to visit.
Fuente Oro Business Suites is located along Gov. M. Roa Street in Capitol Site, just a stone’s throw away from Coco Mall and Cebu Doctors Hospital. For more information, call 2687912 or email them at info@fuente oro.com. Online bookings are accepted in their site at www.fuenteoro.com.
First saw print in The FREEMAN on 5 March 2013 with the title "A home away from home" and subsequently published in PhilStar.com.