Unloading Emotional Baggage

Luggage tags of PBair.

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It’s quite getting heavy again and I think it’s time to sort out and check on the not-so-necessary loads in my baggage and set them aside or better yet, keep them out of sight (at the attic maybe). There are a lot of emotional sores we usually tend to linger on too much in our lives which we need to get rid of or at least put them in their own dwelling place. These issues almost always bury deep into our luggage that when another issue comes up we just tend to dump into them without even noticing until our whole baggage burst out.

Life is like but a flight. We don’t want to be late or get delayed to our destination just because of packing and unpacking loads to take with. It takes a while yes and so it’s better to prepare for it in advance, allot ample time to get ourselves ready. However, our human nature says, “I know what to carry, I don’t have to do it now.” “It’s so easy to pack I can make it one or two days in advance.” “I have enough luggage to stuff all my things in or I can even borrow one from a friend if it’s not enough.” Whoah! Up until then, you are still working on to get that enough space, pumping all the sides of your bags to make sure there are no air spaces for you to be able to squeeze in what’s left to pack.

Dutch family on their way for their summer hol...

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Look at your life now. Is it still worth wasting and risking time, energy and resources trying to be in control of everything? Your mind and heart are shaped to rationalize and endure only what is essential. It may offer some allowances but it is not for us to dump more but to sort out and consider carefully that only what is left unpacked are those mistaken objects or anxieties in our lives that often confuse us as relevant but are actually clogs that keeps us from moving on.

Here are some thoughts that I apply whenever I feel like I have to unload:

  1. List down your main issues as well as the small matters that bother you; may it be at work, family issues, career development, emotional and physical needs, financial needs, relationship with friends, etc. Cross out what you think should not come in priority. At the time my older sister finally decided to go home to Philippines for good, I already assumed the title of a “breadwinner“. Coming from an average family, in a country where there are limited opportunities for skilled and non-skilled citizens, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to first get even with impoverishment and work out on getting financial stability for them and later prepare for my own family’s financial needs. This has almost fully occupied my baggage as it grows more like a vine. I couldn’t do anything at all to reach this goal without even thinking getting a high-paid or multiple jobs and so I have to consider a career that simply goes with it. See, it’s already swallowing me up. But as you trim down to what should be prioritized first, you will see a clear direction and start to feel a deep sigh of relief.
  2. When you feel that it’s getting into your nerves, check your pace and slow down. The idea is not to go far to your goal and run down on what’s available and make use of it or if you don’t have what you need, think of a probable solution and ways how to do it. Try to exhaust possible options but do not rush on your decisions. Time is precious so you don’t need to hurry. Make use of it wisely. You can’t go back to your past; the reality is now so just go with the flow.
  3. Go out from your comfort zone. Leave your room, go out and take time to smell the flowers and get bitten by a bee. You’ve been staring long enough at all the four corners and wall displays in your room but still unable to find not even a single clue on how to resolve your problem. Perhaps, who knows, you’ll meet a good samaritan along the way and offer you or give a reference to where you can actually find a good-paying job or other options outside your base that will offer profitable and productive opportunity. It happened to me during my first few months of job hunting here in Dubai although I didn’t fit in at the end; maybe it’s not just meant for me. But the fact that even a stranger can help makes it worth giving a try.
  4. Free your thoughts from useless anxiety and think about less fortunate (not necessarily financially-deprived) people around you. They may be enjoying financial stability, long and fruitful marriage or even a high seat in authority but are going through big scandalous issues like the one our ex-President Gloria Arroyo is undergoing right now. Looking at her in her distressed condition and being bombarded with side by side political accusations, you wouldn’t know how she would be able to take this load in her baggage. You don’t have to go far. You go by the street and you can see beggars. They only need basic necessities that you are already wealthy of. A friend or a stranger may come to you to help him or her look for a job which you already got one. Don’t be annoyed with this reality. Just be thankful you are more blessed than them.
  5. Do not be subdued to emotional distress alone. Go to a friend, a counselor, priest or a religious group. You might just need someone to reiterate to you how you can go through this tough time. Most of the time they are the most reliable people to talk to or get some help even on your specific need.
  6. Pray harder. There’s no substitute to a real talk with God. When I feel so overloaded, I don’t have to go the church and kneel in front of the altar. I just talk to him whenever I can, even when I’m in the bathroom. He, above of all, believe it or not can take over everything. The next day you will just feel rested and renewed.

Some of these things may seem temporary. You will say, “Then tomorrow what’s next?” Back to worrying and moping around. It’s your choice anyway. You may repeat your usual agony or you may choose to go back to the temporary but “just and right” and make it routinary.

I don’t have a single cent right now and I’m on a local leave. I lost my last bucks somewhere when I went out. It’s my fault I didn’t bring my wallet with me. It’s a lesson learned and a useless load to dwell on. Wasted yes, but somehow maybe, the person who found my money is more in need this time. My job as a Receptionist at the hotel is not giving me enough budget to support my family back home but to think of it on the lighter side, it’s also offering me enough opportunity to grow in my career as I take a step to a higher position – not so soon though but in the right time when I am fully equipped.

You may find your own way to get out of your own misery and how will you see your life is definitely your own choice. I have hurt myself so much, I was longing for a partner to share my life with but I failed. I am fulfilling my title as a single mom and a breadwinner and still unable to cope up with my responsibilities. At thirtiesh, I should somehow know what to do but often lost in space doing nothing but run around in circles. But I wasn’t chosen to carry these loads if I am not strong enough, if I’m not at all capable. I just need to recover and rediscover myself and allow free air to my baggage so that along the way, as I go board on my flight and travel, I would be able to take some more better loads than what I have left behind.


The Parable of “Talents”

The parable of the talents, as depicted in a 1...

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The other Sunday, 13th November, the Holy Gospel talked about the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30) wherein the Master is leaving for a journey and entrusted his possessions to his three servants. He divided of what is so-called the “talents” according to the servants’ ability: three, two and one to each of them. As stewards of the Master’s wealth, the first two servants, knowing the character of their Lord or Master, “traded” their talents and doubled them up. The third servant who feared and mistrusted his Lord, buried his share of the talent and returned it as is back to his Master. The two stewards were praised, given more responsibilities and shared the Master’s joy while the third one was rejected and persecuted. “For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

All of us has been given “talents”. We were all born stewards of God’s wealth and resources meaning, all we are and all we have belongs to God and He entrusted us these belongings to grow in value. Therefore, we must discover, acknowledge, develop, use and share these “talents” according to God’s character and instructions until the end of our lives. And we must remember, He will make a final accounting when that day comes, whether these talents were valued and multiplied or not.

And so we know that our talents – time, resources and ability – are just lent to us; isn’t it just right to lend or share it as well to others? But how do we begin to be a blessing to other people? First, we must discover and acknowledge every single simple “talent” that we have and use it as wisely as we can. But then again, understanding the human character, it is more easier said than done. According to Rev. Fr. Jerry Orbos, there are three causes of talent failure for most of us: pride, laziness and selfishness. Pride stops us from developing our talents and working hard to achieve its highest value. We often tend to reject it out of shame and arrogance. We are all given the time, resources, means and the capacity to increase our value but we oftentimes blow these chances away because we tend to procrastinate or lose interest and diligence. It’s even more worse when we waste our talents for selfish interests. Some professionals would care more about their fees in exchange of their services. We of course know the fact that being professional in our fields of interest is hard-earned and we all worked hard to attain our status quo. But what harm will it cause for some small acts of charity out of what we have? Remember: the more we have, the more we get rich if use it responsibly and unselfishly.

God has blessed us so much. Some of us were given one or two talents and some are multi-talented. Isn’t it so unfair? When God showered talents, some got more so easily, the others have to work for it harder. Some got beauty with brains and money; some received only brains with no beauty (just quoting a famous joke in analogy). After all, the bottomline is, whatever God gave us, develop and use it for others’ and for God’s glory. Look at the other side of life where some people are born incapable of doing things: no sight to appreciate the beauty; deprived of motor functions to wander; and lost their hearing and voice to speak the richness of the Word. Yet, it is still amazing to see them pushing it hard and motivate themselves to be the stewards of God’s creation. To us, maybe it seems unbearable when we see them coping up with their current state, but out of love and commitment, for them, their devotion is not at all so difficult.

There is one more remark that Fr. Jerry emphasized during the homily: Blessed are you who have talents but blessed more are you who see and encourage talents of others. Let us be an inspiration and blessing to those who disregard and misuse their talents.

Talents are not only for display; it is for good use. All that we are, all that we have comes from the Lord. There’s nothing to be proud of.


After days of deep thinking and realization, I think it’s time for me to make a conviction to let go and let live yet I know it takes a lot of courage to start with. I’ve been to so much pain and fear and it stabbed me so much that caused me to hold enough distress and I know it wouldn’t be as easy as saying it. I know it wouldn’t be easy to heal it. But I have to hold on to that word “courage” — to condition my whole self to face all the fears, sleepless nights, depression, insanities. I have to give myself a chance, to give more to myself, to think more of myself. I have to do it myself, I have to start everything with God’s help. There will never be “but(s)”, “what if(s)”, “if only(s)”. I couldn’t control time. Past is past. I have to move on. Yes I’m sure the feeling of love will stay forever but feelings is not enough; living that love is essential over time.

The 3 Commandments: Love God, Love Others and Love Yourself

I have attended Tagalog Mass today at St. Mary’s Church after not being able to visit the church for quite some time – as I always go to St. Francis of the Assisi at Jebel Ali for Friday mass. Father Tom changed physically since I last saw him few months back. He gained weight and had his hair shorter this time. But his charm and way of conveying the messages of God to people didn’t changed. He is always known for his storytelling and relating the Word to the daily life and experiences of Filipino expats in Dubai.

Today’s gospel and homily talks about the first 2 commandments that God instated to Moses: (1) Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and (2) Love your neighbors as yourself. Father Tom divided these into 3 commandments: love God, love neighbors, love yourself. It’s true enough that many Christians confess their love to God by attending mass regularly and devoting time to church activities. But we all know for a fact that it doesn’t end there and there is more to it than we realize. We all know that the best and pleasing way to serve and love God is by serving others despite our limitations. But how can we serve and love others if don’t love ourselves? How can we respect and treat other people with love and sympathy if we don’t respect ourselves? How can we accept others if we don’t accept who we are and what we have?

We all live by rules. Do this and do that. Don’t do this and don’t do that. It would seem to be very difficult to live a life without rules but we often fail ourselves to follow the rules just because our lives have been ruined by traumatic experiences from the past, the difficulties we are struggling on everyday and our anxieties for the future. We tend to forget ourselves that leads us to forgetting about other people as well. It is so easy to break the rules because we claim that these doesn’t hold true in our lives and we create a new rule for ourselves.

We will always go back to the basics. We will all go back to where we came from. Change is constant and the absolute reality of change is going back to where it started. We will all go back looking ourselves in the mirror asking ourselves did I change to make myself better, to make my life better? Did I change for my own sake or for the sake of others? Am I living for a purpose? If the answer is yes, then we have to love ourselves more to fulfill this purpose. Accept the fact that God planned us, that we are not an accident. We may see imperfections in our physical appearances, personality and backgrounds but God never used this word to describe us.

I’d like to share a poem by Russell Kelfer extracted from The Purpose Driven Life book of Rick Warren:

You are who you are for a reason.
You’re part of an intricate plan.
You’re precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb.
You’re just what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s seal.

No, the trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurts you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you’d grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!