I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. I have been a city girl all of my life — all five decades, until recently.
When I returned to the Philippines in 2010, after a four-year sojourn in the San Francisco Bay Area (Northern California), I went through culture shock! It didn’t help that the very few friends I had couldn’t relate to what I was experiencing.
Even before I left for the U.S., I already felt disconnected from my friends. I felt disconnected from the people I’ve interacted with and my countrymen in general. And I felt even more disconnected when I returned.
My energies and vibration have shifted. My priorities have changed. I redefined my values and principles.
My purpose and mission have taken (and are taking) a different shape and form.
As I raised my vibrational frequency, my thirst and hunger for material stuff have been significantly reduced. (Not eliminated. Reduced.)
The higher I go up the vibrational frequency ladder, the lower is my longing, desire and attachment to anything that’s of a pure material nature, or anything that serves only the material aspect of living.
Such though is the lifestyle and culture in Manila. Couple this with the toxicity in the physical environment — the traffic, crowd, congestion, pollution, the chaos and the frenzy. The density of the energy. All these were driving me crazy!
I also fell ill.
Those were more than enough reason for me to embark on my search for my geographical island home. (I have since replaced the term search with manifest. Otherwise, I will always be in the state of searching. I AM in the process of manifesting and co-creating my geographical island home.)
I explored other options that are more suited for me — living situations and environments that are more in alignment with my shifting values and priorities.
My travels in recent years, especially the past year and a half, living in the countryside, specifically seaside, exposed me to a whole different world — a world of simplicity. I was also exposed to the world of poverty.
Living simply though, is not living in poverty or even glorifying it. It is one of the many false beliefs of the Filipino people — a belief strongly and deeply influenced (dictated?) by the Catholic Church. (“Blessed are the poor” is misinterpreted to mean that one is blessed [only] when one is poor. To be poor is a sure ticket to Heaven; It is a reward for being impoverished. Such a limiting belief is one of the factors that significantly contributed to the prevalent poverty consciousness in the Philippines, especially in the countryside.)
A simple living is giving me yet another opportunity to practice setting boundaries — to know when is enough, to say no to unnecessary consumption. (I haven’t quite mastered it yet though; I’m still learning, but I certainly am getting and will get there, eventually.)
I’m saying ‘no’ to poverty and saying ‘yes’ to prosperity. I AM magnetizing abundance — the holistic, integrated way.
A simple living is living with enough but not in poverty or feeling deprived. Nothing in excess yet not settling for less. Living only with what’s necessary and essential.
So, what is essential? What does it mean to live simply?
Now, that is what I’m in the process of defining and re-defining. I’m in the midst of getting clarity on what comprises essential and what simple living translates to — and not only in terms of the physical or material aspect of living. A simple way of life, after all, encompasses all aspects — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
What I have learned, so far, is, something is essential when it uplifts me and makes me feel expansive, when it brings me joy and freedom — at the spirit level. Something is essential, not only when it helps me in my survival, but when it impacts and enriches my inner self, my inner life, my inner world — when its effects and benefits are deep, multi-faceted and long-lasting.
Living in the countryside, by the sea, the laidback lifestyle certainly have given me much more time and space to go within, to simplify my life — not only physically but mentally and emotionally.
My outer, physical world and life may not be considered affluent by society’s standards of what makes up wealth and prosperity — you know, the world of materialism and consumerism.
I certainly have no regrets though, of giving up the comfort and convenience of city living (especially one in Manila).
Oh, I’m not saying there haven’t been any challenges or difficulties, stressors or frustrations. I certainly have my fair share, which I’m still learning how to deal with.
For now though, I offer a prayer of thanks for all that I’ve experienced, thus far.
For those that don’t come with a price tag. Those that are non-quantifiable. Those that money cannot buy.
Those that, had I continued to live in Manila (or any other major city for that matter), would have been hard, if not impossible, to come by.
Those that I have been showered with — despite, actually because of a laidback countryside lifestyle and much simpler way of living.
Admittedly though, there certainly are ways, still, through which I can further simplify and cut back on my spending — especially those in connection with the material aspect of living. I still have a few excesses here and there.
Yet, instead of being too hard on myself and go into self-flagellation, I’m choosing instead to celebrate how far I have come! It is a time for celebration!
Now, I wonder which of those women’s tops that have just come out on display will I choose, next time I go to the mall, to treat myself, as a token of celebration? 😉
Hey, I did say “my thirst and hunger for material stuff have been significantly reduced, not eliminated!”
I AM still a girl, after all — entitled to some vanity — despite my intention and efforts towards simplicity! 🙂
(Btw, the nearest mall is 165 km/100 mi away. Now, that is certainly helping me tremendously in simplifying and shunning away from material stuff. Good for me! 🙂 )
- The Simple Living Guide
- Learn to Live Simply Through Happy and Hard Times: Find lightness in your life with the art of letting go
- A World That No Longer Lures Me
- Awakening To Abundance
- Building a simpler life
- Creative Experiments in Simplified- and Micro-Living
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