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What awful bloggers we are! Truly, shame on us!
But anyway – too late to dwell on that.
I haven’t blogged since I gave birth so what better way to make a comeback than to make the subject of this blogpost, the newest member of the clan.
He made an appearance three days earlier than expected in the early hours of December 31st. I made sure I hired the services of Oh Happy Day Photography to chronicle his very first meeting with his three older siblings later that same day.
I’m forever grateful to Polly Fong who took these heart warming shots. (Like you, Polly is an alum of both Poveda and Ateneo). She specializes in birth photography and her style is very journalistic. She does the posed shots but mostly, she melts into the background and shoots with barely being noticed. The result is priceless, candid images.
So here it is… a little slideshow of Xabier meeting his siblings (and maternal grandparents and uncle) for the first time. Not to mention the debut of my post partum, manas (swollen) look. But I don’t care. It was a special day and since you’re like NEVER here anymore, I’m happy to share it with you and the oh… five other people who read our blog.
These pictures help me forget the awful, awful post op pain I experienced the next day when they reduced my pain meds (uuughh!) But mostly, they make me incredibly thankful for all crazy love I have in my life.
As I was all too happy to mention in my last post, Karen Berg is coming to town in January to talk about her latest book on reincarnation called “To Be Continued”. This is hugely exciting for us as it will be Karen’s first ever visit to the Philippines. During her event here called “Reincarnation and the Purpose of Our Lives”, she will highlight many of the teachings in her new book.
But before we even get to that, many people are asking, What IS Kabbalah?
Karen’s son Yehuda wrote a best selling book answering precisely that. It’s called
One of the students from the Manila study group wrote a great review on it and we have full permission to share it below. Hope it answers a lot of your questions.
Have you ever wondered what we’re all doing here?
The book that changed my life and introduced me to Kabbalah has some answers.
Imagine a hypothetical basketball game.
The competing teams in this fictional bout of hoops would be composed of the greatest players to have ever played the game: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Lebron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar etc. The stage is set in a world-class arena for possibly the single greatest game of all time. These greats have all the capabilities and necessary equipment to play, but imagine if they lacked one thing: knowledge of the rules of basketball.
What would happen then? Though they are hard-wired with immense God-given talent, they would be trying to play a game they didn’t quite fully understand in the hopes of reaching an objective they were completely unaware of! There would be no brilliantly played contest – instead, just confusion and chaos! (Sounds a bit like life, no?)
In The Power of Kabbalah, author Yehuda Berg uses such a metaphor to illustrate his message (though, he used a baseball reference instead of basketball). The book contains in detail 13 spiritual principles which, when applied to our daily lives, lead us to true happiness and fulfillment.
First published in 2001, The Power of Kabbalah is one of earlier books of the author, who is the Co-Director of the Kabbalah Centre, the world’s leading organization dedicated to the dissemination of Kabbalah.
But first, what IS Kabbalah? Many people who are familiar with the word may know it as a ‘celebrity thing’ associated with red bracelets. Kabbalah, however, has been around much longer than Madonna or Ashton Kutcher. It is a wisdom that is over 4,00 years old.
“Suppose there was a hidden wisdom the revealed and unified the spiritual and physical laws of life…predating religion, Adam and Eve, and even Creation of the world itself”. This is the very power of Kabbalah.
Kabbalah students understand that it is not a religion or a cult. Nor is it exclusively Jewish. According to the author, many great minds throughout history and the world, like Pythagoras, Plato and Sir Isaac Newton studied Kabbalah, which influenced many of their revolutionary thoughts and ideas which are still highly relevant today.
Perhaps the most striking thing about The Power Of Kabbalah is that the book comes with a disclaimer: “Don’t believe a word of what you read!” The author suggests that we apply the precepts in our lives and observe the results, almost like a scientific experiment. “Breathe the lessons, and see if the ‘air’ gets cleaner”, Yehuda Berg writes.
The Power of Kabbalah is an easy read yet contains many deep concepts and life changing ideas. It also contains a lot of practical advice for daily life. And even though the subject may be quite serious, the author presents it in a lighthearted manner, which makes it all very enjoyable. More important however, are the ideas and lessons you’ll be receiving. Try them out and objectively assess the results in your life, as the author suggests.
This book is a good way to begin acquainting oneself with Kabbalah. But there’s also material for those who already possess some knowledge of Kabbalistic teachings. You may find yourself rereading the book a few more times to really grasp these concepts. The ideas presented in this book are sort of like the fundamentals of living life. As with any endeavor, the basics are of utmost importance. And The Power Of Kabbalah is a potent entry point for one’s spiritual journey towards growth and fulfillment.
If you’d like to attend Reincarnation and the Purpose of Our Lives with Karen Berg on Jan. 16th, 2013 at the SMX Convention Center, please register here ASAP as slots do fill up quickly.
And if you’d like to purchase a copy of The Power Of Kabbalah, please order here.
The special two part conference will consist of two talks:
“Why Kabbalah? Why Now?” with Yehuda Berg and
“Reincarnation and the Purpose of our Lives” with Karen Berg in which Karen will discuss many of the teachings in her new book “To Be Continued”.
Please see more event details at the Kabbalah Philippines website.
In the meantime, for those who know nothing or little about the wisdom of Kabbalah, here’s a quick book review by moi on one of Karen’s earlier works called:
Girl power has been a “trend” for the past decade or so. Television, media, educators have all been trying to play up women’s strengths and roles in society – and rightly so. These shows, websites and programs are usually on the right track. However, I have yet to come across a more powerful vehicle for the message of female empowerment than the book “God Wears Lipstick” by Karen Berg.
Karen is co-director of the Kabbalah Centre International and the foremost female Kabbalist of our generation. In this book she gives us access to basic Kabbalistic concepts through her easy, relaxed writing style.
Karen points out that while many religious traditions and biblical texts seem to imply that women are less spiritually gifted than men, this is not truly the case. Women in fact, are gifted with more innate spiritual knowledge than their male counterparts. She writes, “…women use more diverse regions of our brains and are capable of grasping non-verbal communication than men. We’ve been given a gift of being more intuitive and some might say, clairvoyant. These tools were given to us to nurture babies as well as to nourish the spiritual component between ourselves and our husbands. Indeed, we were created to be the spiritual leaders in the home”.
According to the Kabbalists, women have a very specific role to play in the world – and it goes well beyond rearing our children and keeping house. Karen gets to the roots of our spiritual responsibilities by taking us on a journey through history and even before time began.
Through God Wears Lipstick we also learn that the challenges we face in our lives are golden opportunities for spiritual growth. With the use of simple (though not always easy!) Kabbalistic tools, we can all access the joy, relationships, children, abundance and more that the Creator has always meant for us to have – if only we reach for it. We are truly blessed to have Karen Berg help us through this adventure called life.
You can order your copy of God Wears Lipstick (P870.00) on http://www.kabbalahphilippines.com
NOTE: Kiki and I have been insanely busy with travel, work, moving house and what not. We promise to post soon on our fun time together – physically together!
It’s no secret that my boy has become a basketball nut. Here is further proof that it’s pretty much what he has on his mind all day long.
He comes to me with a pack of “Choco-Knots” to be opened.
Mikel: Mom – can you open please?
Lala: OK but can you put that water bottle back in the ref?
Mikel: The referee??
As you know, we’re in the thick of UAAP season here and my kids have been willingly dragged into all the hoopla surrounding college ball. They’ve watched games at the UAAP’s newest home at the Mall Of Asia Area.
The Arena is rife with ads and billboards and as we were walking from the ladies’ room to the actual arena, we had this conversation.
Rocio: (Points to two celebs on a billboard with numerous artistas telling us to subscribe to a particular cellular network). I don’t like that girl. She thinks she’s so great. But the other girl is OK. I like her.
Lala: Oh really? And you can say this because you know them both personally?
Rocio: Not personally… celebrity.
You missed another annual picnic. But what’s new…?
Actually, a lot is new at the family farm. We have more goats than ever!
And though you can’t tell from the pictures, they’ve been moved to the other
side of the property.
Someone tried to climb the bamboo fencing to get closer to the goats.
We also have more shelter… sort of…
We had the usual carabao rides. Always fun.
But the highlight of the day was archery!
We had a crazy, sumptuous meal
… followed by s’mores making – yaay!
And yes – that IS a fish head right by the marshmallows hahahaha!
The day would have been perfect except that we had some serious car trouble before we could even leave.
And while waiting for the problem to be fixed, we got rained on. Our little bahay kubo needs some re-roofing to say the least.
Hot wiring didn’t work so we had to leave the car there!
But who’s complaining? There was enough room in the other vehicles and had we not encountered all that trouble, we would never have caught this lovely sun shower.
As you know, some time ago Mikel gave himself the moniker “Mr. Booger”.
And he has been living up to the name with very little effort.
Earlier tonight, I caught him digging for gold while watching something on the iPad. (I deliberately put that out there so thieves might think twice before getting their hands on ours ;P)
Lala: Were you picking your nose??
Lala: Yes you were…
Mikel: I’m just scratching because there’s a mosquito bite…
Lala: Whatever, Mr. Booger.
The fact is, it’s not easy being a Waldorf parent. While you may not have to deal with the never ending stream of homework and tests, you have worry of a different sort.
There is the seemingly impossible balance to strike between keeping them kids in this too fast-changing world without keeping them too naive, making things as healthy and natural as possible while maintaining a certain level of convenience (for lack of a better word… I don’t even know what word I’m looking for!)
My kids are loving it at Waldorf at the moment and I am ever so thankful for that. But no doubt, I am often beset by nagging worries and questions. “Am I stunting their intellectual development? How will they stack up against other kids from traditional schools? Why isn’t she reading like a fiend the way I was at her age? Don’t they need a little more pressure?”
As much as I despise cookie cutter schools, they ARE still the norm around here. And Steiner Education in the country is still in its infancy. I’d like to see a bigger sample of graduates and see how they fare in “the real world” – whatever the heck that means!
So in the midst of thinking and over-thinking the education I’ve chosen for my kids, it’s comforting to come across a video like this where teachers and graduates (one from Harvard – yaaay!) talk quite passionately about being in a Waldorf school. Let me know what you think, Kiki.
I’m in Houston, TX this week for the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Conference. I thought I’d share with you some pictures I took of my hotel – The Hyatt Regency. Tell me if these pictures take you back to a nostalgic place we (tragically) can no longer go back to
From the lobby, a fabulous view of the high speed elevators zooming up and down.
Hotel rooms rise all the way up 30 floors on the perimeters of the atrium.
And a cafe / bar in the middle of the lobby
Doesn’t this remind you of a super-sized version of The Hyatt Baguio? Sniff…sniff.