Singing Makes Me Happy

And sa akin lang naman talaga eh makakanta, mai-share ang mga awitin ko sa iba…yun na! Masaya na ‘ko sa karaoke-time with the klasmayts, the lunching amigas Wednesday Group, the occasional BBQ with the neighbors na mga Bisdak like me and love, ohhowtheylove to sing! 😊👍🎶💕🎶💕🎶💕

The beauty in doing what you love, I’ve learned is that when you do do it in and for itself, all good things come, like icing comes to a cake at the end of the joyful baker’s baking it. All good things come like that gentle rain after an already perfect summer’s day at the beach. All good things come like a child’s hug after your already blissful snuggle-with-a-book time with her on the couch.

I’ve always lived by Joseph Campbell’s words: Follow your bliss. There were times I’ve forgotten or got distracted by life or just downright became stubborn as a mule and didn’t listen. Those times were nothing short of depressing. Hell on earth on some days. Like pushing a boulder up a mountain.  Add rain, thunder and lightining.  And you’re naked.

There were a few years when I even decided to give it up, to give in to a beloved’s request. I went against my personal values – to express and share one’s gifts – and turned my faith over to her idea of keeping the peace.

What about my peace?!? I gave that up believing, at that time, that it was best for everyone. I know now never ever to do that. Turning your power over to somebody will never bring any positive results. Also, there is no such thing as “best for everyone”.  There is best for yourself and what makes you whole and this, in turn, will be the best you can share with everyone.

So I’ve come around. It took years. Why? Many reasons. But the bottomline reason, to be more accurate, the bottomline excuse was always this: I’m afraid. I feared change. I feared losing control. I feared what others will say, think, do! It was the big fear of failing at it. It was the fear of making it happen.

The last one, of all the skerdy Kat moments, is the most potent of all obstacles. Because, in my mind, if it happens, if I make it, if I succeed, all my other fears will come true: Things will change. I will lose control. People will say/think/do stuff and by stuff I mean the painful stuff because that’s just the nature of beings, particularly, hate*full-beings.

What I’ve missed looking at, until now, are these precious things: Life will change. But if the Intention was and is and always be pure – as in to create joy, to share one’s gifts, to help others – the changes will absolutely be for the better.

You will lose control because you will give the control over to God/Allah/Higher Power, the best controller of all, bar none.

As for people, well, there’s not much one can do about that. Like the kids say these days, “Haters gonna hate.”

But let’s focus on the lovers and I’m not talking Eros love here. Oh, good God in heaven…Lovers, and I mean the ones who love, support, believe in you will LOVE and continue to love in a big way, bigger than you’ve ever imagined and from places you’ve never expected it to come from!

So I sing. Finally said yes to the call to SING and share this gift with others. And more recently to make it happen in a big way and by big I mean in helping others, most especially those who are desperate for help because they’ve lost the very basic human dignities that we take forgranted here in the Americas.

So I sing. To help raise funds for churches of different denominations here in Toronto and in the U.S. Nothing big, just small gatherings of folks, mainly kababayans who simply want to reminisce and remember the good old days…always a welcome experience for us in the middle years of our blessed lives…

All these while raising a family of three young human beings together with one amazing husband who loves and supports me 100%. All these while making sure I leave a legacy, the right lessons to my very impressionable kids: Be strong and stay strong. Life will not always be easy. In fact, life is quite challenging and messy and dirty. (See kitchen sink and laundry rooms.)

It would have been great if we were given a manual for graceful and problem-free parenting or the easy-peasy way of living the diaspora life or argument-and-fight-proofing your marriage. But all that is fantasy, baby. If you want fantasy, go get a fiction book by J.K. Rowling from the library.

At the end of it all, I want my children to learn this above all things: That you go and do that which you love because what you love will be good for and to you.

It will not be easy. Do not, I repeat, do NOT take shortcuts. Observe nature and see how She does it. Be the same way with your life’s loves. This is the best way. No, this is the only way. Any other way is bogus or at the very best, temporary. (See: Lotto Winners sad stories)

Singing makes me happy.
Singing is a Love and that’s why I do it. That’s why I choose to do it.

I hope and pray you stand by your Love and do it, too.

Thank you for joining me on this page today…and I hope you join me and help to continue raising funds for our disaster-stricken countrymen in Southern Philippines.

For now, I leave you with my favorite short and sweet quote from Ms Maya Angelou:

When we know better
We do better!

Here’s to knowing and doing better and better and better!

Courage in creativity,
680d7-chiquisiggysmallsmile

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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.
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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?!?  😀
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.
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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:

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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. 😘

Work + Love: two words we don’t see together very often

a downtown window by the bus stop
a downtown display window by the bus stop.

i was so happy to finally get out of the house and grab me some proper Me-time yesterday! the last time i went to the spa was…naku, last winter pa yata! my sister-in-law, joliet, and i drove to yorkdale, parked our cars there, and then took the subway downtown.

we ended up in body blitz on king street east by 11AM. after registering and getting the first-timers’ tour, i was buzzing with glee especially as my tight muscles touched down onto the first of the four pools of the water therapies : the dead sea pool.  ahhh, bliss!  my mommy-stress officially floated up and out of the building right there and then.

Continue reading Work + Love: two words we don’t see together very often

Yakap (:Embrace)

“Ako ay nagbalik
Sa init ng iyong yakap
Parang ibong sabik sa isang pugad
Nadanas kong lungkot
Nang kita’y aking iwan
Na di pa dinanas ng sinuman”

Yakap, A.M.B Junior (composer)

Let me try translating this into English:

“I came back
To the warmth of your embrace
Like a bird missing her nest
I experienced intense sadness
When I left you
A sadness never felt by anyone else…”

Antonio Morales Barretto, the original singer/songwriter of this beautiful song, probably dedicated this song to his special girl.  Or guy.

Anyway, back to the song, one that’s so easy on the ears and so deliciously sing-able, I’m singing..and more importantly, sharing this warm embrace with you ~

Artwork by Katie Daisy on Etsy.com | thewheatfield 

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this is how a song gets written by one chiqui pineda

this is how a song gets written

i’m high on pure adrenaline!  and the reason for this rush is because there’s a ton of it pumping in my veins from hearing the professionally arranged version of a song called “Borrowed Time” a song i wrote last month! wait…excuse me for a sec while i…

AAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

ha!  ok, now that i got that out of my system…

it all began in a private group i started on Facebook called Inarté.  actually, it started in my old, beat up Land Rover, last winter, on the way to the gym when the gym-going was still possible. anyway, i digress. (focus, chiqui, focus.)  so, on the way, i heard a bidding from a Voice that said that i must (not perhaps, not maybe…MUST.  aba, demanding?!)

as i was saying, i must start a writers’ group within that group i mentioned above. to have the moms/sisters/caregivers share stories, incognito, about Life Stuff/Kwentong Buhay, you know, the ones we don’t share on our shiny front pages because we’re either ashamed of them or just plain too mortified to do so.  interesting thing is this stuff, we all go through it in one way or another.  also, the sharing of this stuff makes us feel better.  but, that’s a tale for another time.  back to the main story…

so, to the Voice, i said “Yes.”  i always do.  in all my years, i’ve finally discovered that when i don’t, i get into a lot of trouble.  didn’t stop me from procrastinating though.  remember, that was winter.  i finally got 8 out of the 10 that was to be formed for the group of writers (aptly called Inar10) Springtime of this year.

gear-up.  ready, GO, set! mode na me.  i asked one mom-friend who’s already a seasoned blogger first. she, thank goodness this brave soul loves writing already, said yes. then another one, a lawyer, albeit hesitant at first kasi busy, but said yes, too. and another, an home executive 😉 with a flair for writing, said Yes-But.  there was hesitation because-because (i’m not a writer. i don’t know what to write about. i’m not sure…), really, because of fear. but then, when she chose to share her story…kaBOOM. it hit hard and rang true and connected with so many of us.  definitely made me feel less alone in this journey to wholeness.

long-backstory-short, one story stood out for me.  i don’t know how it happened exactly but you know how it goes when the time is right.  a wruddy sent me quirky artists one morning singing their quirky songs, one Inar10 writer shared a story that didn’t leave me alone, and one Yamaha electric piano calling my name one late, rainy evening in august and Tadah!  a song was born, lyrics plugged in the next day while sitting alone in the middle of a busy Starbucks inside one of my favorite place on earth.

this is why i love this thing, this magic process called creation. from nothing to something. but then again, it’s never really “nothing” because, as a favourite author says, when you imagine a box, eyes closed and imagine you opening it and what do you see? there’s always something.

Along with one LoveLikeWeDo on our Inarté Group on Facebook ~

And together with one super talented, generous, cute and cuddly to one SG ;), a master arranger who at 25 is still a kid but is  so  good at his craft I am in awe everytime he  does his thing: Jokko Peña, for sprinkling your brand of magic all over my humble story-in-song, SALAMAT.  Maraming salamat, Jokkolabs!

Here it that something, without further ado-do-be-do-bee-do…

And the very raw version here, too!  Just so you can see how it goes from barok to PATOK!

LIKE if you like and

LOVE and Follow Me on SoundCloud if you love my music and would like to hear more!

Thank you for keeping me company on this journey to 100im.perfect.songs and here’s to Courage in Creativity, always and ALL ways!

Love,

Chiqui

Borrowed Time, Version 3.0

Composer: Chiqui Pineda, Ms. LLWD

Musical Arranger: Jokko Peña

I’ve got paper and my piano
I write to light but see the shadows, oh…
She tells me of her endless sorrows
And how she knows her time is borrowed,

I’ve got some paper, cups of coffee
I see her tears and It’s so hard. she tells me
I listen with a heart that’s open
I hear because I, too, am broken

To be in love with yours is easy
To have to love another, that’s when it gets crazy
But you made a vow
You made a vow
What are you gonna do now

Be fair, she wants to be, she’s got to be fair
She tells me that she needs to share
This love and life, this rollercoaster ride
Of missed Valentines
Learn to read between the lines

Be fair, she wants to be, she’s gotta be fair
She tells me that she needs to care enough to fight
Turn this dark to Light
Promises unspoken
Tender words lost and forgotten

I’ve got some paper and her story
One brave heart in all its glory
Her words are hers but the pain is mine
Because like her I’m living on borrowed time

Moving to the rhythm and the rhyme of borrowed time…