Going through menopause for me meant surviving an emotional roller coaster. There were mornings when I would wake up feeling so sad and I would try to remember what I dreamt about. There were times when I could not remember my dreams but times that I did, they were not sad at all! I had to make an effort to be grateful for what I had. Consoling myself was not enough, so I had to consciously look for the good things I had.
Appreciating and being thankful for the benefits that we receive is being grateful. “Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan” is a Filipino saying that teaches gratefulness. We often take things for granted, especially when we have grown accustomed to them. We realize their value only when we no longer enjoy them.
Decades ago, I came across Ignatian Spirituality and had the chance to experience it briefly. Ignatian Spirituality, as I understood it, is not only being aware, but actually believing and appreciating God’s presence in everything. I would like to add, being grateful for everything else as well. When we are grateful, we pay (the good deed) forward or we take care of what we are given. Gratefulness for the world we inhabit means taking care of it.
Having grown up in the city, I did not realize how lucky I was to have experienced climbing trees and eating their fruit. I thought fishing off my grandmother’s window was a common experience among kids my age. But things changed when I got to see other places—distant places some would politely call “laid back” while others would simply say “backward”. I began to realize that I only had a taste of what it was like to experience and appreciate nature.
Closer to Nature
On our way to my husband’s hometown around 600 kilometers away from Metro Manila—my adopted home—we stopped at a roadside talipapa or fish stall selling baloko—local scallops. They also sold other seafood caught off their backyard, the sea. The scallops we know in the city are only the connective tissues of the mollusk—small, round white discs that come frozen in packs of around 12 and sell for something like three or four hundred pesos per pack. But at the talipapa, the entire inhabitant is scooped out of the shell and sold for seventy pesos per kilo.
I caught myself saying a short prayer, grateful for the scallops the vendors were then weighing and the assurance that there is more where they came from. I then thought of the other wonderful things this place has given me and my children and the chance to be grateful. Suddenly, every morsel I tasted, every breath of fresh air and the awesome views around me became even more precious.
And though I still have hot flushes every now and then, the cool breeze this time of the year seems to get rid of the discomfort. Perhaps I should have spent more time here during the times I’d wake up feeling sad—or maybe, I should have made the connection sooner and felt the gratitude that would have banished such negative feelings.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.