Archive for August 2008

love and mating in the morning

August 30, 2008

“love is much better in the morning”, i said to ed as i make lambing to him “our neurons are robust after sleep and can recharged our mental maps,”  ed smiled and replied ” you are all over my map” .  i went on “”our favorite breakfast is ready” and started to warm up our appetites.

as i write this, my memory drive went back ten years ago when i was counseling friends on their marriages. “I have  been listening to a chorus of voices against sexuality and rarely  found anyone whose lovemaking was satisfactory or even exciting. “i am sharing this blog with ed’s encouragement ” why dont you blog about sex and find out who needs it? maybe you will get a hundred hits ?”he said.

to have sex is  a pleasurable treat. my mind gets light and my breathing gets deeply relaxing, almost reaching the alpha stage, the stage where effortless learning happens. that is why i encourage women to have sex in the morning. ‘But we dont have partners!” complained three of my friends who separated from their husbands. ” ahhh that is not a problem because you have your senses and  a very rich imagination” i gently reminded them. yes, we all need to understand our bodies and minds ( there is only one integration and we dont split the mind over matter) . our sex organ is the brain, not our vulva or breast.  lets have a regular harvest of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and all the pleasure chemicals akin to lsd ( remember these chemical neurotransmitters and neuroregulators for life ). we have to exercise all our neurons and get them mapping our bodies. that is why foreplay is an important exercise  because the brain needs to activate, to arouse the neurons that provide your mind the vitality it needs. go for the extra mile girls : from lambingan to lampungan.

so what happens if you dont have sex? your nervous system doesnt retained its robustness and doesn’t grow new cells in the amygdala ( formal name is neurogenesis).  the emotional brain ( for women, it is the real site , not the heart ,where we feel all the emotions). but why sex and mating ? is there any other physical activity that will arouse us? well,for now, there are sports, dancing and brisk walking but they dont activate the billions of neurons that we need to live well and reproduce . we could use our imagination to the hilt, answered one neurologist, dr. john medina of brain rules. yes, why not? we can use our kamalayan and kalooban and be with a larger heaven, as i explained to friends who are widowed and who feel they have no more anghang (spice of life).

so let’s go back to sex, pleasure, joy and good life  in our bodies. i am sure people like having a massage and when i met raul nava ( from lucena days) after 3o years in israel, he reminded us of the pinoy haplos, himas, hagud and hilot as the four pillars of body maintenance and healing protocols ( no, he is not my lover but a complimentary medicine healer,hahaha)  .

there is a whole science in the  pinoy ethnic healing protocols and i encourage friends to get their regular hilots teaching them mind mapping. i keep stressing mind mapping because this is how we release all the good signals for living well in the 21st century. our bodies are constantly learning and our skin is one of the best service providers. if you dont touch and hug  babies, you miss the first source of heaven on this earth for babies are the walking providers of joy. the second source is yourself, so feel your whole body tingling, take a long long shower and lather yourself. give yourself all the himas the whole day.  the third, is your lover ( teach him/her to be a patient lover so you can get multiple orgasms with him/her ). the order of love is not absolute and the sequencing of mind mapping can be anytime,anywhere.

so let me repeat what i started for memory sake. make love in the morning. do your himas, haplos,hagud, and pagulong gulong in bed. mag-inin ( like rice water evaporating while steaming before it is cooked) and welcome the day with pleasure filling up your amygdala. that is the daily gift we pray for everyday ! enjoy MABUHAY!

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new ISIS executive director

August 22, 2008

today, luz martinez and the ISIS women invited me to sit down with them to prepare for the new executive director of ISIS. we have appointed a young chinese journalist, cai yiping from beijing to head ISIS and she will come in with a whole basket of goals to achieve. as luz and i started our discussion, we imagine cai yiping coming into our circle, bringing China and its civilization into our fold. we are excited because ISIS has always charted less travelled paths in the women’s movement and this is the first time a young woman, a chinese journalist will lead the institution. the founder of ISIS, marilee karl, is as excited as we are. ISIS was founded in Rome in 1974 and has pioneered in building the communication and information platforms of the women’s movement globally and locally. i have been ISIS member since 1980 and became its executive director in 1994 to 1998. my stint covered many paths and when i was executive director, my significant learnings tripled – national, regional and global development work with women’s movements. since then, ISIS has achieved many gains and have matured into a key leader in feminist dialogues and women movement building, widening the space for women to develop their strategies in a fast changing world.

“what do we want from cai yiping?” luz asked the management committee. ” we want her to focus on fundraising and networking” replied tesa and the three coordinators. we all agreed that ISIS needs to raise the bar in fundraising, not just to get partners to give money to the institution but to open up its coffers to strengthen the gains of the women’s developmetn work. “raising money for women’s programs is so difficult now “explained luz and we agreed. “cai yiping will have to learn why and how we raise funds for women in this part of the world,” i shared what items ISIS will mentor her in the politics of fundraising. ” we should also look at how the Chinese women organizations have been able to fund their development work,”I proposed.” we look at the chinese as very enterprising and we should learn from them. with a young chinese director, we should treat the first six months of her stint as mutual learning period. we have a resource in her chinese culture plus her education in mainstream western culture ( she studied in the US), not to mention in her own generation ( she is 38 years old) and has a feminist mother and a taoist father.” “that’s an exciting combination” the ISIS women remarked.

so with an enthusiastic lens, we look forward to cai yiping’s coming to ISIS this last quarter of 2008.

how to make our minds and bodies get better

August 18, 2008

last week ed and i found some time to discuss our next project – helping translate all the neuroscience findings to leaders and families who want to live better lives. since last year, ed and i have been reading up on all the recent neuroscience studies and the latest books we got, john medina’s Brain rules and norman doidge ‘s The Brain That Changes Itself got us very excited.

brain science has indicated that our brains can change, that it is plastic and that we can overcome injuries, be better at making our future greater than our past. doidge presents the history of brain science and provide various case studies where people with brain injuries, children with learning disorders and genetic deficits, people who had strokes and were paralyzed, people with addictions and phobias were able to regain normal lives by going through therapies that relied on the principles of neuroplasticity. one very inspiring case study is that of Barbara Arrowsmith Young who suffered when she was young because she was diagnosed as retarded in the 1950’s. she discovered in her own life that she has exceptional abilities within her so called ‘”retardation” and went through her primary and secondary education by memorizing everything. she literally built herself a better brain as she grew up and now she is one of the leading learning specialists in Canada , running a special school the Arrowsmith School for treating learning difficulties in chlidren and adults ( one can visit their website by searching arrowsmith school).

the book Brain Rules of john medina has been reviewed by my husband, ed dela torre ,in his blogs so i wont go into it in this blog. what is important is that the rule of remembering for building short term memory and long term memory are in memory exercises developed by barbara arrowsmith. mental training is very important and that the brain produces acetylcholine – a chemical essential for learning. in simpler terms, “our brain is like a muscle that grows with exercise.”

going to our daily routines at home, ed and i realized that we blog almost daily and this blogging is part of our mental exercises. by blogging regularly , we get our neurons to grow which leads to sharpened perception and memory, increase thinking speed and avoid boring tasks. in lay women’s terms, mental exercises make our brains work better at all the things we do for life. my mind has developed several mind maps – one for navigating family life, another for making community events inspiring, and a third, for communicating beyond this life. all these three maps i keep nurturing so that i can live well and love better. in my own brain, i keep growing – that is what i am and who i am, stronger and inspired.

ed and i hope that ayen will learn what we are learning now – the discoveries of neurosciences and its gifts to our life. ayen keeps asking us if it were Ok to focus on psychology and not proceed to medicine ” you will be both too old when i finish my degree in psychology, what more if i go through another five years in medicine” she agonizes. ” We smile and tell her ” keep your dreams and find your own niche. life offers various challenges and as long as you keep learning and feeling passionately , we are happy with who you are, at any stage of your life.” we want ayen to grow her own mind maps and find happiness with challenges she choose to fulfill.

calls from beyond,pagpaparamdam

August 15, 2008

today is the final day for mommy rosa abad ,lar ainne sarmiento’s mother. tomorrow, the whole family will bring her to her final rest in san narciso,zambales. i find soulwork with mommy rosa very affirming and that i know she will be happy and at peace. am grateful mommy rosa for the learning gift of pagpaparamdam, receiving calls from beyond this life.

earlier i had written about the situation of mommy rosa who was still in pgh last friday and was struggling to get everyone home for her last rites. i have never met mommy rosa and it was when la rainne texted me about her condition that i got the courage to offer to help la rainne. even before i went to meet her, i already prepared myself for the pagpaparamdam, signals from beyond. she started sending pabilins the day that i started to pray for her . when i had enough information, i told la rainne to bring me to pgh and then on the way, we went through her list of pabilins. la rainne and i then went to her in icu pgh and assured mommy rosa that her bilins are already being take cared of. we both said everything would be fine and that she could go in peace.

mommy rosa had informed me she has a week to wait for all her children to come home. she did have a week before she crossed into the afterlife. i told la rainne during her wake in funeraria nacional that mommy rosa has been tending her garden but that she seemed very happy. i described the garden and the house and la rainne siad it was their old home in san narciso before it was rebuilt.

in the many years that i have been learning to help people to cross (which i learned from my mother who learned it from her mother), i always have to prepare myself by being meditative and prayerful.i do not always accept requests from people who are grieving or caregiving because pakikiramdam is difficult to process. these calls or pabilins as we call them, happen in another plane and i have learned to be respectful of divine energies. whenever people call me ( the living member) to help in sensing people in the afterlife, i ask them to pray and to give my name to God. i explain that if i am the one who can help, i will receive calls from beyond, that i will get the requests and they can validate it with me afterwards. i use questions to open doors and it helps clarify the bilins. i often will ask questions three times to make the bilins more coherent. that is why my siblings affectionately call me the “call center agent from beyond.”

why am i blogging about these calls from beyond ? because i feel that death is a beautiful journey, that people do not lose their connections with us when they die. i believe that our life on this earth is a precious stage and the process of living is closely linked to dying. i also learned to sense the various signs of loving that help me sense where the dying is and why the person needs help. in mommy rosa’s case, she was already in a state of transformation and can communicate in another plane. in our Filipino culture, the pagpaparamdam is a practice known to many ethnic communities and that we have elders, even children, who perform the pakikiramdam (receiving calls from beyond) and the pagtatawid ( guiding the crossing). these two practices , when performed with pagpapaHesus ( final rites for Christians) help families go through death with love and dignity.

coloring our journey as artists

August 3, 2008

red and blue are the colors i associate with all the feelings that welled up in me as we brought ed’s paintings to gsis this week. starting tuesday july 29, my excitement with the paintings was reaching a point when i couldnt sleep, nor eat, nor sit still. i felt i had to do everything while ed was painting, and in between, working in trips to london, cotabato and zamboanga. i primed the canvasses with my inner energies, painted the first layers. ed finished the five canvasses i worked on : the forest, the crucifixion and hope, parakletos mandala , babaylan mandala and urduja ( i signed the last two with ed but people dont know my initials MCV). i also tried doing five themes : womb mandala, nature is our teacher, tuyo and tartuffo, pagtatawid and diaspora dreams but i felt i couldnt match ed’s drawing level and composition so i yielded to being the event organizer of Ed’s solo exhibit.

organizing an art exhibit taught me many lessons . first ,that artists cannot relax, cannot live a normal life until they see all their paintings at the opening moment of their art show. ed was literally a speed worker-painter, he was painting every moment he could squeeze in his work. he was everywhere, flying in mindanao to train Ims for synergeia, travelling to london, travelling to cebu for nea’s training program, going home to naujan to care for inay and writing the book of the villariba clan with me and my siblings!

i had four red hot pots cooking since january – organizing the 60th wedding anniversary of my parents, organizing the villariba book writing and production, getting ed ‘sfirst solo art show and our daughter laraine ‘s 18th birthday in august 20. i told myself, i could do all four but i didnt think i could do excellent multitasking. i had to prioritize what i could do with all my passion and of course, what our budgets could afford. my eyes water everytime i look at the expenses in mounting all four events. i am thankful all three events came beautifully. the opening night brought family, friends and colleagues. i really love my friends who brave the traffic and rains. ed and i share common friends and many came, especially those whom we had not seen for many years in our events but they came. tesda and nea people came even if they had been very busy. but the great honor goes to the three guests who came – national artist napoleon abueva and dra. cherry abueva, daughter amihan and partner jimmy; senator noynoy aquino and gov. grace padaca of isabela.

friends had various remarks with the paintings. my friends in urduja liked the women paintings , from babaylan mandala to tanaga . gie pasalo and marietta goco liked urduja best and they want ed to paint a bigger urduja for pangasinan’s urduja museum. my dearest friends la rainne sarmiento, beth de castro,deng tan and luz martinez loved my portrait ( painted in bicutan 1979) and teased me about the smile illuminating my face ” Ikaw na ikaw”, deng said. ” ang galing” said trygby who came to see if ed really could paint. carla paredes, very smart and chic daughter of merci and joel paredes ” are they online now and can i download them tita girlie ? i really like them”. i promised carla that we would upload better photos of the paintings this week.

rey and hope abella came and played the grand piano. it was great to have the gsis chorale sing at the start and then the two abella artists filled the halls with their music. bobby cruz brought his guitar and sang with the abellas. alex umali came rushing at the last minute and played revolutionary songs and got ed and friends bobbi malay, wingie, et al singing . luz martinez requested a last piano piece – and alex was just too happy to oblige. since the museum was closed, i told them we had to go and plan for another party in boyet and luz’s house in antipolo ” we can sing and drink up to sunrise there” i promised as i tried getting people to go home. art, friends,  music and good food brought memories flooding the night, like an indian summer. i thank everyone who came and those who didn’t make it due to the traffic and the venue’s difficult location. the artshow will run up to august 21st. we wish friends and people will enjoy them before collectors buy them.

ed, ayen and i checked into intercon hotel that night for a good rest . we hope to give ayen a lovely debut party at the end of the month. ed’s cousin tony dela luna, offered to help us and booked a suite for ayen and her friends to enjoy at the end of the month.

august will a feast of colours as we make our journeys as artists -educators.  let me quote Brassai when he wrote about Picasso and the value of colours : ”  Then the man in the blue suit reaches into his pocket and takes out a large sheet of paper, which he carefully unfolds and hands to me. it is covered with Picasso’s handwriting – less  spasmodic, more studied than usual. at first sight, it resembles a poem. twenty or so verses are assembled in a column, surrounded by broad white margins. each verse is prolonged with a dash,occasionally a very long one. but it is not a poem; it is picasso’s most recent order for colours...

And Picasso, reviewing his old comrade-in-arms, gives to each of them a sweep of his pen, a long dash that seems a fraternal salute: “Welcome Persian red! Welcome emerald green! Cerulean blue, ivory black, cobalt violet, clear and deep, welcome! Welcome!”


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