Archive for January 2009


January 16, 2009

Good news for everyone. to start the year, wellness is our priority. and so on jan.15 we held a healing day at bantayog and isis. ed and i sponsored with Myrla Baldonado , Alliance of US Bases Clean-up, two demonstrations of  Bodytalk Access with Dorothy Friesen our  certified practitioner from Chicago.  Bodytalk access has three core tasks ABC : Asking the body its healing priorities, Balancing all its needs, and
Communicating to the whole system what it can do to sustain wellness.  when these three processes are in progress, Bodytalk proceeds to conduct five methods called protocols: Cortices,Switching,Hydration, Body Chemistry and Reciprocals. dorothy demonstrated it on a friend ,Agnes Rio, who survived a massive stroke in cambodia.  dorothy asked agnes abouyt her state, her breathing and any pain in her body. agnes said that she has a difficulty in breathing and has a pain in her left leg. then dorothy  tapped  on agnes ‘s head and sternum with simple hand gestures and explained that she is activating the left and right brain communication system. the whole demonstration to ease  agnes’ breathing and leg pain took 30 minutes and the result was impressive. agnes was happy about her new state and you could see the effect on her right away.

The BodyTalk is based on a synthesis of both Eastern and Western medicine and they describe it as energy medicine. dorothy said it does not simply combine the eastern and western medicine but continues to study the role of quantum physics in our health. we asked her how the healing happens when there is little physical effort and there is no medication or major medical protocol involved. dorothy cited several cases of healing, from third degree burns to recovery from severe diabetes. she said that we have five senses and these senses go beyond the normal perception. for example, diabetes can be seen as a conflict with ‘ the sweetness of life” and the body is unable to produce insulin. when the bodytalk practitioner conducts diagnoses, she has to go through a history of the person’s life, tracing the roots of her family’s stories and predisposition to ‘sweet facts of life.” there is a body memory that the bodytalk practitioner tries to access ,much like the psychotherapy protocols and uses biofeedback to obtain a Yes or No.

in isis balai, while dorothy was demosntrating to another group of women healers, i took care of zoey, my one year old apo from a nephew. i tapped her head and heart and she started walking and running around the house. she even found the stars and started saying, “star”. as a one year old, she had a lot of curiousity and found the computer, learned how to tap it until she press the start up button. i ask dorothy about zoey ” Zoey keeps falling down when walking but she continues to walk and run even when she knows it is risky.” She is very alert and fearless (she kept running to the stairs and climbing the windows). Yes, she doesnt want to control herself when exploring her environment, unlike us adults who think we can control everything that we do with our bodies.control and fear go together, so when you let go, the body communicates to its system for balance, the fear disappears and you discover many wonderful things about life ,” dorothy explains.

as i listen to zoey laugh whenever she found new things in the house, i often wonder, can we regain that sense of wonder and joy we used to have when we were children? is that the source of our wellness, being innocent and happy with everything we see, touch and feel ? if zoey can find leaves so wonderful ( she kept touching them and laughing), is this zest for simple things what we need to be recover ?

there are still many questions ed and i have of body healing modalities but it is good to know that there is a system of energy medicine, meaning we dont have to be gifted healers to learn it. we also dont have to be doctors or specialists. bodytalk training is somewhat simpler, for the bodytalk access, one day will be enough. for the more adequate knowledge and certification as technician , five days will be enough . the practice required is six months with a hundred persons, then one takes the written exam and the physical demonstration test.

there are one day training schedules for january 24 and feb. 7. dorothy is training people in quezon city, in clark, in batangas and pampanga. those interested, please contact me asap.


peace questions

January 10, 2009

last night, aida santos and the company of la liga fellows were listening to pancho lara discuss  the conflict situation in  ARMM .pancho said the culture of peace cannot be simply invoked in finding a solution to the war. ” where are the women in the conflict?”  i whispered to aida. “if the male-dominated clans hold the main power in ARMM and they are at the heart of  violence, there must surely be women in their clans who want to stop the violence and think about peace?’ “surely there are women who think of the consequences of engaging in  violent, even criminal activities. eg. gun running, smuggling, kidnapping, drug production and distribution.” “yes, we should ask what roles women play in the search for solutions to a durable peace ?’ replied aida.

i looked back at the long history of the Moros and their struggle for identity in our country. i wanted to raise a point about the invisibility of women during the discussion into what fuels the war on the ground  but i kept my question since i wanted to listen more. pancho narrated several things about the conflict : ‘that the central state in ARMM is weak and only a few clans wield power”; that if the peace advocates were to solve the conflict, they have to deal with the key clans, not just the rebel groups like MILF and NPAs ; that the clans extract resources  from their own “criminal economies” ( using bong mendoza’s term and not pancho’s) and even the central state cannot stop these clans from running criminal activities without  a new strategy towards  eliminating “lootable  resources “.

if these were true ( and i believe them to be so), how are we going to build a peaceful nation with the ARMM as part of it? then my mind went on to think about the palestinians and jews in gaza. if clans hold the solution to stopping the violence in ARMM, who holds the key to peace in gaza?

i remember a childhood friend, dondoy nava, who went to israel in the 70’s to join the kibbutz as we  joined the anti-dictatorship movement in 1972.  “You go wage the red revolution while i go for the ideal commune” quipped dondoy .dondoy  wanted to experience living in a commune and believed that the kibbutz would teach him the lessons he sought in life. when we saw him again in 2008, he told us that he found his life’s purpose in Israel, “I married an Israelite woman who is my soulmate.  I have children who serve in  the Israel army,”Dondoy shared . “My youngest son is at the top of his class as a sharpshooter.” “oh, he must be a fine man .” I enthused.

now  i can imagine his son at the helm of the fighting troops, maybe walking through the streets of Gaza with his latest weapon. as i imagine his parents feeling protective and anxious for his safety, i also remember a dear friend, Magda (not her real name), in Gaza. i met Magda in Ankara,Turkey and she shared her life with us. Magda works with the Palestinian youth and they established a parliament of the streets after staging the Intifada.” the youth learn why there is war from life, but we want them to learn they could build democracy only when there is peace.”  i highlighted a point  pancho stressed  :”there is more conflict in the post-conflict period” , i ask myself  “could magda and the Palestinian women and youth find a way to solving some of the violence in Gaza, knowing there will be more conflict in the post-conflict future?”

so many questions on the war, on violence, on durable peace. i dont know the answers but as dan sullivan said of lifetime growth ‘ make your questions bigger than your answers’, i will keep posing questions in the hope of finding  doors towards stopping violence and ending wars.

HOPE Stories of 2009

January 6, 2009

i will welcome 2009  with  five stories in progress.  i will do it by series. the gift of inspiration comes wrapped up in five narratives which ed and i find edifying.

first is the story of  balay mindanao . the story of  the courageous women and men, from XXs to Belle , AiAi,  Kaloy, Ayi, Stanley,Felix  &  more persons i will name sometime who  are working to bring peace to Mindanao.  Ed and I  visited them last december 8-11. they have been all over the towns where heavy fighting have been going on for decades. AiAi told me that she and the team  still have to visit the Lumad areas on dec.22-23 and that they cannot go on holidays because the peace negotiations are vital . “You have been to places that Ed and I only imagine ” i told AiAi. ” It must be challenging to be in places where people are open to peace negotiations and succeed in helping them.”

the peace negotiations are not just between the MNLF,MILF,NPA and the govt. It covers a wider range of combatants, from the lumad communities to the NPAs and various rebel groups. The Balay Mindanao team have developed   strategies toengage both Lumad groups and rebel groups to open up. When i listen to Ayi, Kaloy,Felix & Stanley share their peace vision and experiences , i am reminded of our comrades  in the 70’s. we were all fresh from college and we wanted to take  the long road to revolution. our dream of a united country and serving our people with fervour is still alive but we have taken education as our strategic path. “Strategy is Choice ” ed explained to the Balay Minadanao family. Choosing to work on participatory local governance is a choice that they chose and believe  is integral to peace. When people claim their birthright to be heard , to choose the path to change, peace is possible. that is the lesson women like XX, Belle, AiAi, Juliet,Melody and many more advocates in BMFI are sharing. they make  ed andi feel good and honored to be in their circle.

Peace in mindanao.  it is possible. With the people like Kaloy, Ayi, XX, Belle, AiAi and many more. i will pray for all of them. rebels, fighters, negotiators,peacekeepers.

Green Pilgrims

January 6, 2009

Green Pilgrims
We are part of a mountain and its streams. I grew up with Mt. Banahaw where I bathe my mind and heart in its streams of ginhawa. Mt. Banahaw, all 7175 feet ,is a dormant volcano, embraced by Laguna and Quezon provinces. To a large number of devotees from various provinces, Mt. Banahaw is the holy land, banal na lupa.

Historically ,Mt. Banahaw had been a cradle of Filipino nationalism and spirituality. When the Spanish missionaries planted the seeds of Christianity in the 16th century, the indigenous settlers believed that seven angels transported Calvary from Jerusalem and Jesus Christ lived in its meandering streams. Mt. Banahaw became the tierra santa of many pilgrims from that time on.

How does this fact weave into babaylanship? A friend’s experience, Karl Gaspar, who made a pilgrimage to Banahaw said:
“A pilgrimage to Mt. Banahaw is a unique spiritual experience as it combines a number of what ordinarily are opposing elements in today’s society. Here the politics of a nationhood forged in revolution co-exist with the spirituality of liberation; the culture of folk Catholicism rests gently with the semiotics of indigenous mysticism. The symbols of a country that aspires towards lofty ideals of freedom and justice are at the same time the signs of a militant faith that seeks to build communities (samahans) of truth and righteousness. The most ubiquitous, dominant and striking of symbols in Mt. Banahaw is the triangle with an eye. It appears everywhere from the landscape design to altar-shrines, above two pieces of cement on which the Ten Commandments are etched and the murals inside the different churches. Here its reference is, of course, God’s all-seeing eye. In my reflection as I walked around, I was reminded of our own logo as Redemptorists, where this eye refers to Jeremiah 1:11. It is supposed to be the eye that makes us able to see ‘the signs of the times’ long before others see them.”

LET US PRAY with Karl Gaspar to see what Mt. Banahaw means :
It’s seeing eye point to the signs of our times :
We have taller skyways in metro- Manila but shorter tempers.
We have wider expressways in the North and South but narrower viewpoints.
We eat in all the trendy food venues but we grow ulcers and cancer.
We have fast access to information from the world wideweb but less wisdom.
We have more experts but bigger disasters each year.

What then should we do if we want to the sacredness of life that Mt. Banahaw epitomizes?

First ,become green pilgrims. Protect Mt. Banahaw : learn to be, conserve and live better with our Pinoy sense of of kalikasan and pakikipagkapwa-tao..

Second, honor our forbears and cooperate more. Since our DNA is 99.9% the same, let us secure the SNIP gene that produces love for PEACE,TRUTH and JUSTICE.. We are all related and we should cooperate more.

Third, learn to live together as a compassionate people; developing our green heritage.
We are not the center of our universe but our DNA, if woven into a single strand, would stretch from the Earth to the Moon. We can live together to conserve our natural heritage as one green world wide web.

Finally, make time to dance. Since we have enough bio-electrical energy in our cells, around 20 million volts per meter, equivalent to that of the charges that a thunderstorm carries, we can dance and make life better all over the world.

We breath, we move, we heal. Let us dance in Mt. Banahaw accompanied with the thought :
“we shall not cease from dancing and the end of all our dancing ,will be to learn who we are, where we started, see and know ourselves .”
(based on t.s. eliot’s truth about exploring).

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