the universe according to kitch

You Know What They Say About Old Dogs and New Tricks

I blogged about The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz recently, after I finished reading the book. It was an insightful and inspiring read that made me want to change my outlook in life, to better myself, and to “try harder.” Since I’ve read it, I’ve tried to keep the four agreements in mind, and I constantly remind myself to try and live out these agreements:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best

But, as I’ve suspected, it’s not that easy. I think the agreement that I am having the most difficulty with is #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally. The agreement says, “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” I couldn’t agree more. I think that most people act the way they do because they are projecting their own reality; and we all have our own unique “realities.” Thus, the crazy world we live in. But I really am struggling with “not taking things personally.” And somehow, I am disappointed in me. I’ve realized that I take a lot of things personally. The best example would be my driving behavior. I am embarrassed to admit that I have road rage. The level of road rage would be directly proportional to my daily stress levels and female hormone levels. And this does not make me a very good person. I react and take things personally when other drivers cut me off abruptly, when they refuse to line up and cut into my lane in heavy traffic, or when they hog the road and slow traffic down because they are on their cellphones. It’s not like I go crazy-wild like Michael Douglas in Falling Down. I just curse (there goes agreement #1!) and give them dagger looks. But sometimes it almost feels like I am thisclose to losing it. And what for? What purpose does it serve me?

Earlier tonight there was this taxi driver who was flashing his brights and tailgating me on the narrow, one-lane stretch at the end of buendia that merges onto EDSA. Naturally I would slow down and stop at the end of the road to yield to the speeding southbound vehicles on EDSA. And mr. taxi driver honked at me when I did this. What did he want me to do? Kill myself? Just thinking about how irrational his actions were, makes me angry all over again. But the thing is, I had a choice. I had a choice not to be angry. I could’ve just laughed it off and felt sorry for him, and then moved on and forgotten the incident. I could’ve, but I didn’t. What they say about anger is true, it is really much more of a burden to the person who is feeling it. When you allow yourself to be angry, you only set yourself up for suffering. And I wish I weren’t as reactive as I am. I wish I didn’t have the need to prove that I am right when faced with situations like this. I wish I could just shrug things off easily and let go. So I guess that would be my ongoing prayer for myself: I want to be a kinder, gentler, more patient person. With God’s grace I know the “task” would seem less insurmountable.


May you rest in peace, Prof. Sid Hildawa
April 12, 2008, 2:40 am
Filed under: art, news | Tags: , ,

I wrote about the sudden passing of one of the most influential professors I’ve ever had, Sid Gomez Hildawa, a couple of days ago, still reeling from the shock of this terrible news.  Today I noticed my blog had more traffic than usual, and the searches for Sid Gomez Hildawa directed some of the googlers to my site. I guess that’s how many people care about him, and I know now that many are saddened by his sudden demise.  I then tried to google his name and I was led to many other bloggers’ sites where they, too, wrote about their sadness and sense of loss.  Reading their entries and the comments of his students, the people he worked with, etc. made me tear up.  I realized I wasn’t the only one feeling that sense of loss.  I am not the only one whose life he’s touched.  I am not alone in wishing he could’ve stayed a while longer.  Many beautiful, touching stories have been written about him, snippets of random acts of kindness and how much he inspired and encouraged.  He was undeniably one of those rare, gifted and kind-hearted individuals this world needs so much more of.   And this overwhelming confirmation of what I’d remotely suspected before, makes me sad and also happy in some ways.  Sad, because his loss is nothing short of a tragedy.  And happy because there is a glimmer of hope in me that is wishing that he left knowing how many people’s lives he has touched and blessed with his presence.  I pray that his soul has found rest.

Here is a link to his blog:

Sid Gomez Hildawa, 45
April 9, 2008, 1:54 am
Filed under: art, musings and random thoughts, news | Tags: , , , , , ,

(photo from

What is it about artists and tragedy? Why are their paths often intertwined?

I learned about Sid Gomez Hildawa’s passing through a friendster bulletin posted by one of my friends, Cindy. It saddens me to read about his death; he was so young. He was my Humanities professor in U.P., and though I only had him for a sem, he was a very influential teacher and I enjoyed attending his classes immensely. Even then, more than a decade ago, he was larger than life. I did not have a personal relationship with him, but he was a great teacher, and his classes were very enriching and never boring. I remember I would always be excited to attend his class – his, and that of my other Humanities professor, Ricardo de Ungria, who is  one of the country’s acclaimed writers.

I never saw or heard about Prof. Hildawa after that semester, but strangely, I feel a deep sense of loss and sadness now, after reading about how he spent his last few days. He could have had many more years to teach and inspire, and to somehow touch other people’s lives by sharing his knowledge and appreciation of art. I hope he died knowing that he made a difference, somehow.

News about his passing from the INQUIRER:

Yellow by Coldplay
April 3, 2008, 4:59 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , , , , ,

I am currently in love with Coldplay’s single from 2000 (yep, 8 years later.  i know, i know…), Yellow.  I think it’s one of the sweetest love songs ever written; funny thing is, Chris Martin (who I am crushing on now!) wrote this song after seeing a copy of the Yellow Pages lying somewhere.  So yeah, it wasn’t really written for anybody in particular.  But wouldn’t it be nice for a song like this to be written with you in mind?  Hmm I guess I’m a sucker for mush like that. =)

Yellow by Coldplay 

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah they were all yellow,

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called yellow

So then I took my turn
Oh all the things I’ve done
And it was all yellow

Your skin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
D’you know you know I love you so
You know I love you so

I swam across
I jumped across for you
Oh all the things you do
Cause you were all yellow

I drew a line
I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all yellow

Your skin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
D’you know for you i bleed myself dry
For you i bleed myself dry

Its true look how they shine for you
look how they shine for you
look how they shine for you
look how they shine for you
look how they shine for you
look how they shine
look at the stars look how they shine for you

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? – Quiz
March 30, 2008, 1:48 pm
Filed under: quiz | Tags: , ,

Took the quiz and didn’t do very well. =0,0,879938.triviaquiz?coll=orl-dp-classifieds

Blast from the Past
March 30, 2008, 1:20 am
Filed under: movies | Tags: , , , ,

I just recently acquired VCDs (for only 75php each, thanks, Astrovision!) of two of my favorite 90’s movies: The Birdcage (1996) and Forget Paris (1995). More than a decade later, they both still make me laugh.

The Four Agreements
March 30, 2008, 12:56 am
Filed under: books | Tags: , , ,

I am trying to rediscover reading (more like trying to make time for it). I’ve almost forgotten how enriching reading the right book can be. I’ve just finished reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Here’s part of the blurb on the website: “Everything we do is based on agreements we have made – agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible. One single agreement is not such a problem, but we have many agreements that come from fear, deplete our energy, and diminish our self-worth.”

“The Four Agreements® offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. ”

Some parts of the book tend to be too philosophical (read: boring) for my taste, but The Four Agreements can certainly make a difference, if we just try hard enough (I suspect they are easier said than done).

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.