Welcome to my site! I hope you will enjoy reading the personal articles as I journey and navigate this life. I welcome suggestions for topics that you think are important, relevant, and valuable.

Please feel free to leave your comments by clicking the "Comments" section, located below each article. You can also email any article to your relatives and friends by clicking the "Email This" button, also located at the end of each article.

I am inviting my readers to share their stories of courage, success or resiliency to inspire other readers. You can submit your stories, 2-3 paragraphs in length, via the Comments section, located at the end of every article page. Your stories will be added to the "Readers' Contributions" page.

A close-up of a newly opened delphinium flower (Summer 2013).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Personal Gratitude List This Christmas

Christmas comes only once a year but it is one of the most celebrated occasions in the world, particularly to Christians. It is associated with gift-giving, a time for celebrating sensory pleasures (e.g., holiday foods and feasts, bright decorations and cheering music, and glistening snow, real or artificial).

Having lived in Canada for 9 years, I missed the traditional noche buena (large Christmas meal), the lechon (roasted pig), kinilaw (Filipino sushi), and other native foods in the Philippines. I missed the gaiety that comes with carolers singing Christmas songs, the loud noise of firecrackers, and the explosive beauty of the fireworks. I also missed my two sons and their families. I still have to meet my two grandchildren in person. 

Although I missed so many people in my country and things that are unique to my own culture, I am grateful for where I am now in my life and for what I have.

I am grateful that I am in Calgary, where I can be peaceful and creative, where I am loved and supported. I am grateful for the experience of grace as well as the challenges that are always part of existence. I am grateful for my health and the wisdom that comes with age. I am grateful for being in a beautiful country and for its compassionate people (of course the occasional bullies are also around to add drama to life). 

I am grateful to my deceased parents--for my life, values, and education. I am grateful to my sons, Jan and Soren, for giving me unimaginable delight and thrill as they were growing up, and for making me proud of themselves now that they are adults.

I am grateful to Deane, my husband, for loving me unconditionally. I am constantly learning from him and my world has changed positively because of him. And although I don't fully understand chemistry, astronomy, physics, biology, mathematics, and the slide rule, I am grateful that he shares his knowledge of these disciplines with me.

I am grateful to my daughter-in-law, Bernie, for being a wonderful wife to my son, Jan, and the best mother to Ethan and Adrian. I am grateful to Melie, for giving our family the gift of a pretty girl named Princess.

I am grateful to Estrella, my best friend at Xavier University, for always being there for me through thick and thin. She is a good role model for her work ethic and resiliency.

I am grateful to my two other best friends, Fr. Francisco Bustamante, S. J. and Atty. Samson "Samantha" Tan. They have brightened my life and have continued to do so after all these years. Their advice, sense of humor, and support have made a difference in my life.

I am grateful to the following U of C professors for their support all these years: Jim Frideres, Bryan Hiebert, Greg Fouts, John Mueller, and many others who have made my life as a Ph.D. student truly a remarkable one.

I am grateful to all the Philosophy teachers at Xavier University--Joseph, Lalot, Matet, Enting, Jane, Mario, et al.--for the collegial joys they have shared with me during the years I was with them.  

I am equally grateful to my former students who have inspired me in more ways I could imagine when I was still at Xavier University. They were the main reason why would I get up every morning and walk to XU in my high heels (I don't wear high heels anymore for fear of slipping in icy areas here in Calgary during winter. For more information about Calgary's climate, click here).

I hope you enjoyed my gratitude list.

Contact me for comments and questions.

My next post will be after Christmas.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

P.S. This just came from John Mueller: The Digital Story of Nativity (Thanks, John!)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Developing Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions in a positive and constructive ways. It also involves controlling impulsive feelings and behaviors, following through commitments and responsibilities, and adapting to changing circumstances.

Further, it is the skill to understand how others feel, what their needs and concerns are, to empathize with them, and to build strong social relationships in general.

How do you develop emotional intelligence (EQ)? The following skills are what I believe would help you develop your EQ:

Be aware of your emotions. Stress, anxiety, and fear can overwhelm some people to the point that they are unable to control certain impulsive behavior. To develop emotional intelligence, be aware of your emotions moment by moment, understand where they are coming from, and allow yourself some "cooling" time before acting or deciding. Some emotions can come from long ago emotional baggages that not have been resolved. Negative emotions can lurk deep under and may affect your ability to act and decide rationally.

Identify non-verbal cues. A lot of what we feel are expressed in a nonverbal way. This "wordless" communication holds the cue to what is going on inside you and that of others. Facial expression, eye contact, tone of voice, posture and gestures are some of the non-verbal cues we exhibit or see in others. These non-verbal  cues are emotionally-driven. Your ability to refine and control your non-verbal cues depends largely on awareness of your emotions and why they are present in the first place. Also, your ability to "read" other people's non-verbal cues depends on your capacity to accurately identify what these emotions are. Learn to differentiate between real emotions and fake ones in others.

Resolve conflict proactively. The word "proactive" refers to acting in advance to deal with expected difficulties. Rather than waiting for a conflict to escalate, take control by negotiating, problem-solving, and talking about problems and concerns in a non-threatening manner. There will always be disagreements, differing points of view, and expectations in any relationship. So choose your arguments by focusing on your feelings instead of pointing fingers at others. Start with the words "I feel...". Never start with "You are this and that...that's why!". 

Use of humor and play. Never take life seriously unless your house is on fire or somebody is about to die. Take things in stride by injecting humor and playfulness in your interactions with others. Use gentle humor in pinpointing certain things that need improvement. Look at the funny side of an otherwise tough situation. Laugh at your mistake and forgive others of theirs. 

Remember that your future lies in your hands. Developing your emotional intelligence will go a long way in paving success in your relationships with others.