Facing Life’s Challenges

©Moira G. Gallaga

Life can test an individual’s will in a great variety of ways; either by having absolutely nothing happening or by having everything occurs all at one time.

We are forced to fight numerous battles throughout our lives.  There are times when we are too reliant upon others to save us. Other times, there is simply too much happening at one time for us to take care of it all.  What you are going through at any one moment should never determine what will happen over the course of your life.

Taking a break and hanging around Hawksbill Summit, 4,051 feet above sea level in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

For many individuals there are a lot of challenges in life.  Many people choose to develop a very negative world view because they always seem to go through periods of their lives in which they don’t have enough; nothing is going their way; or there is simply too much going on for them to handle.

It’s good to understand there are so many things we can’t solve. Many things we can’t control. Learn to live with that thought, that’s exactly what makes life great. I live by the rhythm of the seasons. Unpredictability. (Luanda, Angola)

Through all these, we must continue to maintain our sense of honor, stay true to our principles and possess an indomitable spirit. Work hard in life each and every day, and also work hard in specific life areas consistently.  If we do not, we will only improve in short spans and can never attain optimal growth due to the fact that growth will sometimes stop, unless we start investing more effort into that particular area.

Our Lady of Medjugorje

“Bad days are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you should shut doors and dim your light. Even the best trip up sometime.”

17 May 2021

Be Kind to Yourself

© Moira G. Gallaga

It is hard work being an adult. There are constant demands on your time, energy and emotions from many different people. Your spouse, your children and your boss all want to be the focus of your attention at all times. While it is important to do your best and live unselfishly for others, there is another side to this coin.

It is impossible to live life to the fullest if you are not kind to yourself. You cannot give 100% of yourself to others if you have not been nurturing your personal life. The list below shows you some ways that you can carve off some private time and treat yourself right.

Rest. Relax. Recharge. Refocus. Not a luxury – it’s a necessity. (Prague, Czech Republic)

1) Schedule Personal Time – Everything of importance in our lives has to be scheduled in. If you do not set a time as if it were an appointment, your personal time will never happen. You do not need to set aside much time, maybe just 15-20 minutes to read a book, play an instrument or take a nap.

2) Join a Group – Consider joining a club or taking a class on a subject you love. It may be a book club, a diving group or a pottery class. This is a great way to get away from it all while doing something productive at the same time.

3) Get Up Earlier – You may not enjoy setting the alarm 20-30 minutes earlier, but you will be surprised at the result. Those few moments of peace and quiet before the rest of the family gets up will become your favourite part of the day.

Slow down and be kind to yourself. The results are worth it.

Nature recharges our minds and bodies. (Lillehammer, a town in Norway where a Mossad hit team killed an innocent man by mistake in the early 70s)

15 May 2021

Push the Limits: When was the Last Time You Shook Things Up

© Moira G Gallaga

A child is not born with limitations. Society and life experiences makes a child learn limitations, and as he/she grows, he/she gets scared to overcome those limits. In truth, if you have strong willpower you can push past your limits and achieve more in your life.  

All of us are bound by limitations: emotional, physical, intellectual, societal and even mental. In society, you cannot just express your feelings fully all the time. Whenever a child talks about the problems of adults, the parent will tell him not to think about those issues, he is still too young or it is improper to do so. Are these limitations good or bad, well, it depends? Some forms of limitations are justified, and usually these come in the form of laws, rules, and norms put in place for the good and safety of the community and society at large. Other than that, you can freely push personal, individual limits to test yourself and enhance your potential.

Urgull, San Sebastian

The human brain is so complex and capable of doing things which at times would be considered impossible. Unless a record is created or broken, no one would have thought of such possibilities. Often, personal limitations are usually self-imposed. In other words, though you have the ability to do certain things you have never thought of even attempting it.

Overcoming limitations cannot be achieved overnight. You have to develop strong will power to push beyond your limits. To some extent, physical limitations can be quite difficult to overcome, but you can overcome emotional and mental limitations if you are strong willed. There are of course examples of overcoming physical limitations such as cases of terminally ill patients who live happily, as if nothing is going to happen tomorrow. It is because they live only for “the present” and not for “the future”. Even in cases of extreme illness, people could smile and live because they have “will power” to live and a positive state of mind that transcends the weakness of the body.

Marbella, Spain

Anything is possible if you have determination. It is not hard to push the limits if you are able to channel the strength inside you. Believe strongly that anything is possible and your brain will help give you enough strength and motivation to achieve your goal.

When you dive in, make sure you do it with both feet. To hell with wounds and pain afterwards. Life and Love.

 10 May 2021

Long Distance Relationship with our Son: Mother’s Day

©Moira Garcia Gallaga

It’s Mother’s Day and first off, I would just like to greet my fellow mothers out there on this special day a very happy Mother’s Day! On this occasion where motherhood is celebrated and given due recognition, I can’t help but dwell on my experience and feeling of what it is like being a Mom.

Just as each individual person is unique, so are mothers. We may have a common experience of bringing a person to life, but we mothers come in all shape, character, temperament, style, etc. So I figured I would share with you my thoughts and experience as a mother.

I am blessed with one son and as a Mom, one nagging worry always at the back of my head is if I had been a good Mom. Did I do right by him, did I raise him up properly? When he was born, I was still working at the Palace, and given the fast-paced, high pressure working environment, it was challenging to balance the demands of work and being a mother. My work involved a lot of overseas travel too, so I did my best to find time for family and my baby boy. When I did have the time, I would make the most of it. That would be the pattern even during our foreign posting in Los Angeles and Washington DC, where from time to time I would be detailed to Summits and Presidential visits.

He was quite a handful growing up. He was a bundle of energy, forever restless and loved to test our limits. As someone with quite a temper, he would take me to the brink on more than one occasion and I had to make an effort to not step over the line. I didn’t realize it then that in my efforts to instill some discipline in him, he was also helping me gain mastery over my temper.

One of the songs in the Mother’s Day playlist he sent yesterday. I like this one and it made me bawl. We raised a compassionate, independent and responsible kid. May I add, a so cool son who is not scared of anything … moved out at 18 and a half years old, living alone overseas at 19 and flying from one country to another just to surf, play futebol. A voracious reader and has experienced life with failures and success. As he said about how he lives his life: failing without a net to catch him; without my parents who can always make things happen; got goals in life, but without a map.

At least I wasn’t alone in the effort. My husband was just as involved, and we worked as a team. Only thing is we sometimes weren’t sure if what we were doing was correct. There are many books, articles and material about parenting, but everyone admits there is no magic formula, no guaranteed method or technique other than just make the best effort you can to prepare your child for life and at a certain point, the rest is up to them and you just have to hope for the best.

After our US posting I resigned from government service and had more time to spend and bond with my son, who was now becoming a teenager. A different set of challenges now. Before it was all about making sure he didn’t get into trouble, or harm himself and others, and teaching him values and how to conduct himself in the world around him. Now this was all about preparing him for the challenges of life, steeling him for the harsh realities of a grownup’s world and building for himself traits and an attitude that would help him achieve stability and security for his future. Well, it appears he had other things in mind and his stubborn streak didn’t make things easier. No surprise there as he got that from both parents. Karma? Hahaha. Yet, there was quite a lot of upsides too, as we got to do things and travel together now that I had more time to spend with him. It was a great opportunity as well to learn more about each other.

He is 20 now and is based far away. Any fears I had that he was going to struggle being by himself and dealing with adulthood in general have been assuaged. From a rambunctious and mischievous little kid, he’s turned out to be a kind, loving and responsible young man. After my most recent visit to him, I could see that he was going to be okay. I’m so proud of him, and I guess that should assure me that I did alright by him as a Mom.

I think that is what it is like being a Mom, looking constantly for signs and assurances that you are on the right track and seeking affirmation that your child loves you and thinks the world of you. Thing is, it is hard and rare to find that assurance and affirmation as they are growing up. It is hard to spot at times in the constant to and fro of the daily interaction. In my experience, it is only once you have let him go and allow them to find themselves on their own that you will finally get that assurance you did good. Then when you see that bright spark in his eyes and the joy he projects when he meets you after a prolonged absence, that’s your affirmation right there.

09 May 2021

Failure is a Blessing in Disguise

© Moira G. Gallaga

In life, we experience a lot of failure and disappointments. May it be major, like not getting into a job that we really like or a little less complicated like not having the food that we crave for. It varies in intensity, but just the same, we get disappointed when we fail.

But in life, we should not place the focus on our failure or disappointments. We focus on our abilities to stand up and move on. Yes, it is easier said than done but once we believe what we say, eventually we get to make it real. Hence, when we say- “I can do this. I’m better than this and I can move on and believe in it,” eventually and without knowing it, we had already done it.

Failure will always be a part of our lives. No matter how careful we are not to fail or not to be disappointed, we can’t avoid it. Life is not enjoyed by how close to perfection we’ve lived, but how we face our failures and how we learn to accept it and be a better person after it.

They say we only get to appreciate the good things that are happening to us when we get to experience the bad or even the worst things in life. A friend of mine applied for a job as a barista. He wanted it real bad but then he failed to pass the interview. He was devastated. He didn’t want to apply for other jobs anymore for he thought he was a failure. Eventually, he got his act together and started to apply for jobs again. He was interviewed in a well-known restaurant and he passed.

From Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore, he’s now at The Ritz-Carlton and he’s happy with it. He told me once, if it wasn’t for that failure he had on his first interview he will not get to work with this five star hotel, get to meet cool people like me (Hehehe! His words, not mine), and have the opportunities, which he values so much now. He learned a thing or two from that experience.

When something in your life failed, it doesn’t mean that will be the trend of your life. More importantly, failure does not define who you are, as long as you stand up from it and keep moving on. It’s just part of our journey in this crazy but wonderful life. It is simply just being human and you learn to be stronger every step of the way. With that, I can say failure is an occasion that will teach us about ourselves. It is a test and may be a blessing in disguise. We may see it as a reason of stress at first, but after we get passed it, we realize that it’s a reason for us to appreciate a life that we sometimes take for granted.   

29 April 2021  

Trust Life a Little Bit

© Moira G. Gallaga

Most of us have had at least one bad experience, which often has the result of making us somehow mistrust life and assume that things are not going to work out. However, the past cannot be changed, and we should learn to put it behind us. As is often said, everything happens for a reason. Our lives are not perfect, and all of us will experience bad times and problems at some point, and these are an inevitable part of life and cannot be avoided. 

We all have to trust life a little bit, in order to make the most of life and those opportunities that come our way. In addition to seizing opportunities, we have to learn how to take risks, so that our full potential is realized. Trust in God, remain focused and work as hard as we can, things should generally work out and we can consider ourselves blessed. In addition, we can also share our blessings with one another as that is a way we help each other trust life a little bit more.

Allow random opportunities because it pushes us into unexpected and sometimes startling moments. ©
Allow random opportunities because it pushes us into unexpected and sometimes startling moments. ©

27 April 2021

Kind Acts and Words

© Moira G. Gallaga

(I wrote this sometime in 2011, a year and half after collapsing and being placed in ICU for a week. With this current pandemic, it just seems appropriate to recall anecdotes that highlight the good in people)

Whether it’s an unusual show of courtesy or a loving action that flows from a compassionate heart – the smile and friendly words of a stranger have the power to re-empower another. We experience this everyday, from that shy child you walk past on the street to the tireless cashier at your market….

One of the reasons I never lose faith in humanity. Strangers and friends who are just there – just because. © MGG

It reminds me of an incident two weeks ago at the Greenhills Antique Furniture shop where I was checking on some stuff for the house. Due to the heat and the large number of people doing last minute shopping for school items, I got one of those dizzy spells that plague me. I approached the nearest shop where an elderly couple seemed to be arguing about something. I asked them, “Can I sit here, please?” and pointed to one of their antique stools. The woman replied with a quiet, sincere smile: “Please do.” They asked me if I’m okay and I just said maybe it’s the heat. The two nodded and before I knew it the elderly man bought bottled mineral water, got his electric fan and set it up in front of me. When I got up to leave a while later they thanked me for the company! I was left stammering, I was so grateful for their simple, kind welcome it left me tongue tied. It hadn’t been an overly inspiring day for me, and that incident somehow offered new hope for the often-dreary present.

A quote whose author is unknown to me: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes can last a lifetime.” I want to say thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Samonte.

26 April 2021