My New Beginning…

Hello-hello!

1476158_10201063590531954_1003069799_nI’m waving to you, dear reader, from 30,000 feet up in the U.S.of A’s airspace. I always make it a point to write on airplanes. There is something about subsonic speed and hurtling through clouds that make the writing more expansive and free-flowing. Joy and I are enroute to Orange County where I’ll be spending the weekend with friends and some family for two reasons: 1) to celebrate life through the gift of music; and 2) to honor this gift by fundraising for super typhoon Haiyan victims. It’s a humble and most heartfelt effort that started with a very different story. You can follow the story here.

In two hours, we will be landing in sunny and warm California. Buh-bye for now Toronto’s freezing weather. Buh-bye beloved kiddies, all three of them were still sleeping in their warm beds when Joy, my traveling partner/amiga/neighbor, and I left home at 4:30AM this morning. Buh-bye beloved asawa, who I missed as early as last night at the dinner table while having the sweet and sour noodles with beef and veggies. Our resident chef makes the best meals for me and the kids. I’ll be missing you for four days and three nights, my darlings.

I am declaring the official beginning of The Work todayIt is the blossoming of the fruit tree whose seeds I planted back in 2004. A full decade of many prunings and re-plantings blossoming into The Work.

It’s all about resonance. Teachers (and they come in all forms) hold up a mirror for you in just the right light, at just the right moment, and you just happen to catch YOUR reflection in it. They are strumming chords that are strung in your heart. You had it, they just tickled it. Your truth collides with their truth and you have an a-ha moment. – Danielle LaPorte

The deepest desire of your heart since Day One is alive and deserving of life and light! Thing is (and this I had to find out the **hard** way) only YOU can give it life. Inversely, you can let it wither and die in the cold.  God and Her angels plant the seed, then free will kicks in. It’s up to us to water and care for the seedling.  Yes, dear reader, I speak from my very own ups and downs. My kwentong buhay began as early as 2004 with a blog called The Breathing Room on Blogger.com and a photo gallery on flickr.com.

Bottomline is this: Your passion/s matter and they are the key to a more blissful life!

But don’t take my word for it.  As the saying goes: If it doesn’t connect, reject. Ok, I made that up. But, hey, if it does….watch out, my darling. You’re in for the wildest, most blissful ride of your life.  You may have unexplainable afflictions – mine were itchy, crusty eczema on my thumbs (I know…weird!), throat issues every other month and this low-grade fatigue I felt daily whether I had full rest or not.  Living life without honoring one’s passion makes for a very blah*full (as against the bliss*full) existence.

*** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — ***

My ‘wild ride’ began when I heard the four-letter command right there at the St. Mary’s church grounds alongside Jeanette who accompanied me. I have not gone to church for a while, make that a very long while. The clear-as-crystal command was: SING!

So I gave my three-letter word reply: YES. The see-saw, step-yes-step-no life was getting old anyways so I finally got tired of that and picked one.

Funny that, as soon as I replied in the affirmative, my Facebook friend, Ms. Gigi Borromeo offered an invitation: Come to Fullerton. I’ll help produce a show for you! We need to have a benefit show for the Marian Missionaries in SoCal. Are you in? (See how funny and punny God is? He even threw in the two Mary’s in the mix just in case I miss it again!)

There was no iffy-ness about Ms. G’s invitation. Oh, I’ve had tons of those in the past. (Something about water finding its own levels…me iffy = experiences iffy.) So, fresh from the Command order to SING just the weekend before, I said Yes!  That plan however went kaput due to US work visa issues. However, it morphed into something more expansive. And if I may humbly add, evolutionary for me. You see, I received another offer. This time to help raise funds for another church, St. Norbert, in Toronto. I subsequently inquired with a lawyer, a university schoolmate, for help regarding the US visa matter. He said, “That’s bad news, Chiqui. You’re not going to risk coming into the U.S. without a valid work visa.”  And as we were chatting about the recent earthquake in Bohol and Cebu (wala pang hangin ni Yolanda noon) he mentioned his fundraising event for the cause and suggested I do the same here in Toronto.

I believe that everything, in the grand scheme, happens for a good reason. We sometimes don’t see the good right away.  OK, I most times don’t see the good right away.  But it always flows towards that direction in the end.  The very pull to this page is a sign that there’s something here for you. And for me, too.

I believe it is this connection right here, and the many others like it, that will open us up to the next chapter of our lives. I’m ready. I know you are, too.

PS:  For tickets to my upcoming shows, please click on images on the upper right. Do RSVP @ https://www.facebook.com/events/227003374135206/

Courage in Creativity,

680d7-chiquisiggysmallsmile

And now we’re starting over again…

Pardon the background noise.  And the lack of auto-tune/ing…and the un-perfect recording quality….

“One shouldn’t make excuses.” is the rule but I can’t help myself.  I’m recording at home on a Sunday.  Oh, that possible pick-up of yelling laughter in the background?  That’s my kids playing in the next room.

This song though.  This song can’t wait another day.

I was with my dear friend, Justin, yesterday afternoon. I told him, “Suggest songs naman, kapatid!” I want melodies that will bring back the most special of memories when I sing them at the upcoming shows. So right there, mid-cut&color, we came up with this one.

As soon as I heard the first words, the very first verse, that “hagod” that only Natalie Cole can pull and I am but a humble cover-maker here, I knew this was special. EXTRA-special because of the words.

verse 1

and when i hold you in my arms i promise you

you’reb   gonna feel the love that’s beautiful and new

this time i’ll love you even better

than i ever did before and you’ll be in my heart

forevermore..

verse 2

we were just too young to know we fell

inlove and let it go

so easy to say the words goodbye

so hard to let the feelings die

i know how much i need you now

the time is turning back somehow

as soon as our hearts and souls unite

i know for sure we’ll get the feelings right

chorus

and now we’re starting over again

it’s not the easiest thing to do

i’m feeling inside again

‘coz everytime i look at you

i know we’re starting over again

this time we’ll leave all the pain away

welcome home my lover and friend

‘coz we are starting over over again

verse 3

if we never leave alone

then we might have never known

all the time we spent apart

all we did was break each other’s heart

ohh..hooh..

and when i hold you in my arms i promise you

you’ll gonna feel the love that’s beautiful and new

this time i’ll love you even better

than i ever did before

and you’ll be in my heart forever more…

chorus 2

and now we’re starting over again

it’s not the easiest thing to do

i’m feeling inside again

‘coz everytime i look at you

i know we’re starting over again

this time we’ll leave all the pain away

welcome home my lover and friend

‘coz we are starting over over again

this time we’ll chase all the rain away

welcome home my lover and friend

‘coz we are starting over over again…

we are starting over over again..

Ready, 1-2-3-SING with me! (Unang una na si Justin Mills, my über- stylist/artist, thank you for the song suggestion!)

2013 Fundraisers

AFI Final Poster

ABS-CBN Foundation International and Ms Chiqui Pineda present
Project | Boholunteers Cebuiours + Typhoon Yolanda
Max’s Restaurant
1520 Steeles Ave W, Vaughan, ON L4K 3N9, Canada
Tickets: $35 (w/ Dinner)
For tickets, Contact Jeanette Baron  (416)786-3491 ; jomarie.barn@gmail.com or
Ms. Jo at Max’s Resto (289)597-9433

  • 100% of your donations go to Sagip Kapamilya (Save Families), a program under the ABS-CBN Foundation International

*** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — ***

Kat Toronto Poster copy

November 30, 2013, Saturday @6:30pm

A Christmas Concert In November
St. Norberts Catholic Church
100 Regent Road, North York, ON
Tickets: $15
For tickets, contact Becky @ 416-317-2390 or Cynthia @ 416-636-0213.

  • Proceeds go to the building and maintenance fund of St. Norberts Catholic Church

Updates on Diaspora Diva SoCal show, laundry, and 2 fundraisers!

I just posted this on my FB feed a few days ago:

“Not very happy to announce that the Dance Pavilion Show in Fullerton, SoCal is a No-Go. My co-producer informed me of the work visa issues. We don’t have enough time to take care of the problem. The best solution: Postpone the event for Feb, 2014. The good news: We’re still going to California!”

Grateful for the sympathy from friends, some dear ones even emailed me privately with an “Are you okay?” message. (I love you, and You, and YOU.) They know how hard I’ve worked to make this happen. But then, all in God’s time, which we’re hoping is Feb., 2014 for this show.

When something’s not ready, no matter how hard we try to push, it just won’t budge. Unless, of course, we’re talking childbirth and mom opts for a C-section. But that’s another story… :P

Back to the show. It’s been quite a ride.  Some days, more like being inside my washing machine… on spin cycle!  I was invited by a friend, Ms. Gigi Villavert, to do a fundraising event in California for the Marian Missionaries.  We’ve been hard at work, and by we, I mean my co-producer, Ms. Villavert, friends here in Toronto – Joy, Justin and Bing and there’s me.  We built ourselves into a frenzy of excitability only to find out that we can’t do the show. It turns out that I needed a work visa which takes a month to process and costs almost $2K to get! Thanks to a lawyer/promoter friend in LA, I got the vital information early enough. There was the alternative idea of using the “Bakasyon lang siya” line at immigration. But then, is it worth the risk?  The answer is a big “No way!”, of course.

The #1 lesson learned, among the many, is this: Due diligence, do the research! This experience subsequently jumpstarted a lot of performances. Now, I have not one, not two, but three shows in the next couple of months! Magic happened. I think it’s called media attention, and this blessed idea to help and so it goes…and the rest is history.

*** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — ***

To Be of Help, An Invitation to Kababayans and Other Kind Hearts 

I am partnering with the ABS-CBN Foundation International to raise funds for the Bohol and Cebu earthquake victims. This idea was hatched while talking to a schoolmate who is a very active community leader in the U.S. (Thank you, Adrian Lecaros! Wala kang pagbabago sa iyong serbisyo sa bayan, mabuhay ka!) So on November 22, Friday, at Max’s Restaurant & Lounge, together with other artists, we will be singing our songs to raise funds and awareness for our kababayans in Southern Philippines. It’s time to share the blessings we enjoy in the North Americas.  Many of our brothers and sisters are stripped of their very basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, medicines.  Some of them living in tents!  If you feel a call to help out, please leave your contact information on the comments below and I’ll get in touch with you for further details.

I am both very happy, VERY and at the same time a bit nervous, this being my first fundraising event that I’m spearheading.  Basta iniisip ko na lang, tulong ‘to. This is first, to help, to be of service, and there’s no right and wrong when intentions are pure.  Basic of all intentions is it makes me happy to be of service to others.  Note to self: CP, you are getting old..er.  And older, thankfully, equals wiser.  I hope I don’t sound like a self-aggrandizing shmuck when I say that.  I simply mean that as I grow older, I realize there are other things more important than my own first-world pain.  Not that I am for ignoring one’s sorrows, if anything, I believe in venting and letting these hurts out and into the light.  It’s the wallowing in it that I believe we need to unlearn as we grow older.  I’m learning that there is great wisdom behind this: That when we feel most alone and broken, we simply need to go out and seek those that are more broken than we are.  There is and always will be those more shattered than we are.

*** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — ***

Wash AND Dry

In other news, the laundry is up to date! 😊 Surprisingly, after doing this for 12 years and counting, I realize that even twice a week of washing clothes works – once by me and the other by hired help.  As long as you dedicate the labada day – ok, not the whole day but focus, Chiqui, focus! – to washing AND drying and rally the kids to my most dreaded part of the job: folding! Agh. Just the thought of it sends the hairs at the back of my head rising. It’s when the wet laundry gets forgotten in the wash that all smelly hell breaks loose. Don’t’ forget the vinegar trick, (Salamat, Jeanette) if and when you do forget and it gets stinkypooey in there. 1/2 C white vinegar to a full load of the forgotten laundry, one cycle and this time, remember to take it out and into the dryer!

*** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — *** — ***

I Invite You All, Part 2

If you’re in the area, I’d love to have you spend an evening of soft, inspiring music and celebrating early Christmas in November with us. Come help a church raise funds for their building’s maintenance. St. Norbert’s is a Roman Catholic Church in North York, ON (100 Regent Road). It’s always been a good experience, singing in and for a church. So much raised vibration, if you know what I mean. So along with Ms. Becky Cezar, head of fundraising activities and Tita Evelyn, a co-volunteer at the Kalayaan Centre, over lunch at Spoon and Fork (Yummy!) we planned out the details of the show. It’s only $15 for a ticket and the Couples For Christ Choir and Ms. Amsky Ramos Chan will be performing, too!

Here’s the poster for the event:

Kat Toronto Poster copy

To reserve tickets, you can call Becky @ 416-317-2390 or Cynthia @ 416-636-0213.

As always, I thank you and give you a deep bow of gratitude for keeping me company on this creative journey…

Courage in creativity,
680d7-chiquisiggysmallsmile

Super Serendipity Sunday (or When It’s Time…)

The day was Friday, and just like any other morning, I woke up thinking of the following things: what to pack for the kids’ lunches, which coffee to brew, Vanhoutte’s hazel vanilla or Nescafe’s house blend, and how the heck I can overcome the daily resistance of the dreaded morning workout routine which seems to get harder and harder every year!

Oh, there’s another thing that’s been added to my morning’s running script in my head: What songs am I going to sing for my show in California in November?!?

So  I went to the bathroom, but before going, I glanced at my phone’s prompts, a daily habit now, and briefly saw it: (paraphrasing)

 On Twitter: It seems like the red-headed cat is alive and well.  Thank you @chiquipineda for sharing…. and I thought to myself “Hmmm…Twitter.  I’m hardly on there.  Who could be tweeting me this early…” and then let the phone go, went on my business and didn’t think about it until later that morning when I was more awake.
It turns out, this tweet was from my favourite kick-a** teacher, Steven Pressfield’s team!
The full story is right here.
Image
Today, another serendipitous moment hits me.  Of all people that my favourite speaker of inspiration, Oprah, no less, would have in her SuperSoulSunday for today, it would be, who else, but Steven Pressfield, but of course, right?    Like, can it be anybody else?!?  :D
Everything Mr SP shared in today’s show I’ve heard at least a dozen (and a hundred and two) times already.  I’ve had his book, The War of Art by my bed, in my bag, and in my iPhone – yes, I got the audible version as well – for years now.
Last week, I excitedly grabbed the follow-up which is Turning Pro.  I was, at first, momentarily disappointed.  The book was not on my Audible.com which is my go-to source of books.  I hesitated.  I was going to wait until it was up.  It was going to be up sooner or later.  But something inside me said “Go.  No more waiting, Chiqui.”
And so I did.
I got the substandard – no fancy audible techie tags (read: a bit disorganized) and more expensive version on Kindle.  But I remembered this, too: When the (God) Voice says “Go.”, you go.  So it’s 3x the price, so what!  I put Thrifty Chiqui to sleep.
I haven’t stopped listening + reading since that day.  I haven’t stopped getting nudges since that day.
This now brings me to the moment of Universal Truth that Mr. Pressfield and many other life teachers share about one’s passion, from William Hutchison Murray ~
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

I’ve been ignoring my signs for a very long time.  My closest and dearest will tell you how many excuses I’ve made, how often I added all sorts of drama to the mix and frankly, it gets boring after a while.  Thank YOU, to you who have listened, supported, put up with me.

And the signs are everywhere.  They are always strong and super-soul*full if and when we allow it.
The KEY is exactly that:  Allow it.
What signs are you noticing in your life?
What keeps popping up over and over, again and again, like a broken record CD?
And more importantly, this:
Are we paying attention yet?
And if I may have your attention for a few more…here is my very personal love offering to the world these days ~ Our California Show is a go. Nov. 15, Friday, Dance Pavilion in Fullerton, OC is a go!  To reserve your tickets, you can call/viber Ms. Gigi Villavert Borromeo @ 1(714)699-6143. It’s a small venue (150-200pax) so grab your tickets now! 😊👍💃🎶
Always, above all else ~
Love and Courage in your brand of creativity,
Chiqui Pineda-Azimi
Thank you, Ms. Oprah Winfrey and Mr. Steven Pressfield for the Work you do in this world.
Image

The Red-headed Cat (or What’s Your Life’s Metaphor)

In his book, Turning Pro, Mr. Steven Pressfield (The War of Art, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Do The Work) shares a story from his younger years about this particular cat that used to stare him down when he had his dinner at this rundown rental he used to live in.

Almost every night, as he sat by the cinderblock steps out back, this red-headed cat would come out from his side of the woods where he lived and just sit and stare at Steve, as if to give the vital message of how pathetic his life had become. At this point in his hero’s journey, Steve had come to terms with his hiding and avoiding his true calling: writing books.  He knew he was making up excuses and BS ones at that.  He’s been a trucker, an apple picker, a taxi driver among many other odd jobs, divorced, and was basically watching his life swirl slowly down the great metaphorical drain one miserable year at a time.

Redhead (let’s name him that for now) he recalls, would not even take the dinner scraps that he would toss out across the distance to him. “He was nobody’s pet.” and made sure he knew it.  In this staring contest, Steve continues, they both who was boss. Both knew who was in control of their lives and who was not. Both knew who had the upper hand.

Redhead sat there there, staring, daring SP to do it already.

Redhead was Steve’s life metaphor.  He says,

“I miss that cat. I missed him nights he didn’t show up.  I miss him now.”

So, as I was making the kids’ third (and 458th) chicken/bacon sandwich for the school lunches, after frying four eggs – two sunny side, the usual for Joshim and two scrambled, Oona’s special request; as I just finished wiping down the breakfast table and by chance, glanced out the sliding glass door of my kitchen, as I looked across the crab grass and weeds growing in our backyard, I had the sweetest sight of my morning :  a shock of bright red-orange against deep, dark green. 

Redhead.   My Redhead was right there.  This time he was facing away, back towards me, and immediately I knew it was him.

And this time with a message for me: “I’m here. And I’m watching you.”

As I opened the sliding door as gently and quietly as I could, he turned his big, round head and faced me and just as he did with Steve, stared at me for a full minute unmoving as if in a dare:

What now, Chiquita?

I knew. At that very moment, with Steve’s words and all of the 94 chapters of the book, MY book, Turning Pro still ringing in my ears, I knew.

My own life metaphor was staring me in the face.

Like Steve, and I imagine like you, we’ve all had my very own version of “slow-swirl”.  Thanfully mine hasn’t been Steve’s version of miserable.  Though you know what I mean when I say there’s that empty, hollow feeling, almost like a hole in your heart from all the hiding and feeling self-doubt and shame.  There were years of not singing a single song, all because I was…what?  Afraid of trying again.  I felt and allowed the fear to take over. I’ve had my own share of making excuses. And now…

My Redhead. He’s watching me.

Of course I took a photo:

20130926-130652.jpg

And I didn’t wait another minute and shared it with Steve. Yes, we’re definitely on first-name basis now. 😁 His simple “That’s him!” email reply to me this morning got me sharing this with you today.  And just like that I am a giddy fan all over again.

Thank you, Steve.
Thank you, Redhead.
And as always,
thank YOU for being here and keeping me company on this journey.

Here’s to YOUR life metaphors.  May they come at you with the same red-orange, Red-headed intensity and make you write your own version of your Turning Pro story.

What’s your *cat*, *dog*, *life metaphor* telling you today?

😁✏️

{This post is dedicated to Steven Pressfield and all the other teachers in my life.}

With love and courage in Creativity,
Chiqui

***Update: News Flash*** | Sept. 27, Friday, Mr. Steven Pressfield and his team posts this on both his Facebook and Twitter accounts!  I, of course, died and went to crazy-fan heaven.  The end. 😘