HE shifted to bicycling for quite a long time now. Gone are the days that he would walk at early dawn wearing the same color of navy-blue-oversized T-shirts. He even worried about what people thought, because he had the same color of that T-shirt as much as twenty pieces. However, he just laughed it off, what he cherished is the account of his brother’s friend who would see him during those times. What resonated in him was he appreciated that he would let him drive along the avenue as he gestured his hand that he go right ahead. He loves walking. People may be in a rush, but he relished the sights and sounds of the wonderful City of Naga. Yesterday, it was different, he walked again but in the late afternoon. He, finally, found equanimity. He realized that his brother chose to serve the flock, a shepherd who led a herd of sheep. He did not visit him that day. He wanted to give others the chance to find peace with his brother that he himself would feel every time he would say a prayer whenever he would go to that sacred place. The Bridge He wrote once or twice about his dream for the river that runs through our city. At the Lt. Delfin Rosales Bridge, he halted at the middle part and lingered on. For more than ten minutes, he soaked in the peaceful ambiance, he was euphoric, the river is alive. There were birds flying over it. The fact that he saw a man fishing, reassured him that it has a deeper relevance, because it can provide sustenance for his people. He simply loves to write. His beloved sister reminded him that it is now a responsibility. He took it to heart knowing that the city has been so good to him. He lived, even though for a brief period of time in a small town in a foreign land. And people say hello to each other in that town, even to strangers. Because of that, he has a different perspective in doing things. But, he was able to grapple and even fathom the underlying cultural differences and undertones that he had to adjust to when he came back. He accepted that it is a pluralistic society. People have their own set of beliefs, superstitions, customs, ideologies, and other myriad idiosyncrasies. He shifted a paradigm approach, and his overstated motto, ‘Different strokes for different folks,” all the more made sense out of the conflicting, chaotic confusion. He inherited his father’s sedan. But, he would take public transportation, the whole nine yards. As a journalist, how can he actually write about a city when you do not walk the talk? And drivers would exclaim in gratitude that he would speak Tagalog, because they would have the impression that he is a foreigner. Once, he had a conversation with an American and that American even asked him, Are you an American? He just told him no. And said he is a Filipino. He always believed that patriotism is not really seen by the eyes but rather felt by the heart. Being Filipino, is a nationality. Loving his country and his people are what matter most. Well, what is there to write about him or his city? Maybe, he can tell you that living in the real world and having actual conversations are better than being on the online world. He may suggest to you that always have a positive and broad-minded approach on life. Study hard, cultivate courage, and always have gratitude. Three essential points come to mind in order to be successful in whatever you may want to achieve in your own life. A healthy mind, body, and spirit. Equilibrium Essentially, it means balance. That is all there is to it. If one goes to the extreme of engaging in vices then they would suffer the consequence of sin or to put it in a secular way, that person will have to face its ramifications. Simply put, you reap what you sow. If all these times, in your own life you kept to the faith, persevered, and endured sheer hard work. At the end of the day, you may be sipping a tequila, while sitting on a beach chair and enjoying the sunset in Boracay, or much better, in Caramoan. Be kind Other people may be unkind to you. Understand them, they are fighting their own difficult battle in life. There are coping mechanisms you can do to keep your sailboat afloat. As your own captain, you can do displacement, minimization and maximization, and avoiding taking things personally. Displacement If for example during the day you had a cruel experience, all you have to do is displace it with a good experience. It is similar to the quote, ‘out of sight then out of mind.’ Subsequently, when you do not think about it or worry about it, and even dwell about it, then it diminishes and is no longer a problem. Minimization and Maximization You accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Try, and we know it can be hard to minimize the hurtful words, confrontations or situations, but we rather focus on the love of our friends and family for us and, more importantly, we maximize that love, especially, keeping in mind the Great Love that our Creator has for us. There is another trap that we, as frail human beings, succumbed to, we think about problems that have not even yet occurred in the present. Do not think about possible scenarios. We will only be burdening ourselves needlessly. If it happens then that is the only opportune time that we deal with it. We cross the bridge when we get there. Our God is of the present. Fifteen minutes He would always give people their time to speak their piece. A conversation is a two-way-street with a symbiotic purpose. Keep in mind that it is a dialogue and not a monologue. Hence, issues do get resolved. He listens, he remembers, and he takes it to heart, then shares it with everyone he crosses paths with. Those he learned from a class, Psychology 101, he forgot the teacher, as usual, but not the lessons. Like what he has written before, writers can be forgetful about trivial things but the ones that do matter are deeply etched in their minds. Keep learning. Godspeed!