Essential Nature

National Monument with Rey & KarlaThe last few weeks have been felt like a glorious whirlwind. I crossed a few time zones, befriended some beautiful souls, and reunited with friends and family (some of whom I had not seen in over nine years).

Summer 2009 will mark my third summer in training as a Rap Director, and I have been so grateful for this opportunity. Not only have I gotten a chance to connect with a team of amazing leaders from across the nation, but the training and workshops have changed my life. Training is like a playground–you know the floor is made of that soft squishy stuff, and if you fall, it’ll hurt a little bit, but your team is there to help pick you back up. I have gotten to explore and learn the language and tools to communicate and build relationships with one person or an auditorium of people, and the funny thing is that everything I needed, I already had. I just had to unravel all the junk that’s been piled up around it.

Derek, one of my trainers and mentor, reminded us of two things:

  1. Apparently, Derek went to school with Barack Obama (Columbia), and he told us that Barack, when he was our age, was no different from us now. If he can make social change, then we can do it too.
  2. Our power lies in our hearts.

In yoga, we talked about the second point, and they call that the “essential nature,” which I learned after taking a 4-week long yoga immersion at Yoga Tree SF (it was really empowering, btw, and I recommend it). I had always been wrestling with the whole notion of opening up my heart. After training and the yoga immersion, a big question that was answered for me was “What is the capacity of my heart?”

Yoga Teacher Dina was describing the aim of meditation and breathing, and she said it is to realize our “essential nature.” Everyone has this vessel of light within that unfolds, and we have tens of thousands of rivers of energy flowing through our bodies. And the neat part is that this vessel of light… is limitless. I felt like a fountain, yet I felt re-energized as energy was flowing out. It was a completely new feeling. The revelation was deep.

Leading up to Rap Director Training in Chicago a couple of weeks back, I set a a couple of powerful intentions, which have since been coming into play on many different levels in my life:

  • I want to learn how to empathize rather than demonize with people who have seemingly differing or completely opposite views from my own.
  • I want to learn how to give love without expecting it in return.

I think an update on how these intentions have been playing out would be too exhaustive at this hour of night, but let’s just say they are a work in progress. In the meantime, check out the pictures from my 10-day trip from California to DC to Chicago after the jump:

Continue reading Essential Nature

God Daughter Bea and the de Leon Family

I spent the weekend with my Tita Badette and her family. They just arrived from the Philippines on Saturday and I picked them up from the airport. I had not seen them in a little over 2 years. Here are some quality pics from the weekend, and you can see more at my flickr page.

I want to take her home!
Bea is my god daughter, and she has grown so big since last I saw her!

Bea at the Beach
Bea at the beach

The De Leon Family
The De Leon Family at the Golden Gate

Fun on the bridge

King and Bea at the Golden Gate Bridge
Bea and I posing