Sagada

TheLoneRider.com Tuesday October 24, 2017 EDT 
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Lucid Thoughts

Sagada on a hammock November 10, 2006

Sagada...6 months later

A Different Sagada
With my indefinite stay here, now going 6 months through the low season, I've seen Sagada like I never have - empty of tourists, rain almost everyday (until lately), very quiet and very introspective. This is Sagada up-close. It's like having the village all to myself. I'm still very much an outsider though. I don't think I'll ever get to the point where Sagada reveals all its secrets to me...although I appreciate the morsels thrown my way every now and then.

Daily Routine
I've settled into a comfortable routine that looks after my daily must-dos, to the extent I do them. Productivity is the day's bottom line. On the list are vision therapy, meditation, workout, yoga, french study and lots of computer work and research.

I cut myself some slack too. The Tao Te Ching calls it the art of doing nothing - a self-administered license to be productive by being at peace in my 'alone' state and feel time graciously pass me by...usually on a hammock by a cliff face.

Vision Therapy
This is what I start the day with, before I even leave my bed. I've come across a literature that explained sight in a different way. Our eyes are muscles that need to be worked out too - just like our biceps. People are led to believe that once your eyesight falls below a certain acuity, you need to wear glasses as a first recourse. It's like telling someone to use his car to the corner store because he doesn't want his legs to do any kind of work.

Vision therapy prescribes eye workouts consisting of eye rolls along its perimeter, gazing to the extreme top, left, bottom and right, the trombone (intently looking at an object placed on the nose and moving the object to arms-length and then back), focus shifting (look 6 inches in front of the eyes, then to something far away, and back to the 6 inches)...there's more. It's a whole series of workout that's complemented by my intake of carrot juice. I used to go dizzy at the start, but I've become used to it. My distance sight is 20/15 - quite good. Is it getting better? Well, it's not getting worse.

French
Why French? I could say love for languages and culture, but that came after. Initially, I just wanted to get laid. After graduating from university, I thought French would give me an added air of sophistication to score heavy on our female brethren. Later on, I made 2 trips to France...loved the country, the wine, loved the travel adventure and toyed with the idea of living there...but hit the language barrier. It was frustrating. Thus I continued my learning, this time for the right reasons. I wasn't consistent - on-off, at Alliance Française, at UP, with friends, etc. Up until recently, my proficiency was still very basic. It's quite exasperating to be doing something for a long time and not get any better because of not wanting it badly enough to put more dedication into it.

With my move to Sagada, it was a choice to completely drop it or devote serious attention to it. I chose the latter. Now, French is probably the one thing I consistently work on daily (well, next to my site updates). I've progressed significantly although still not at conversation level. It's true what Aklay said. Do something just 1 hour per day everyday. After 5 years, you'd be an expert.

Meditation
My 30-minute morning meditation positively improves the next 24 hours....bang for the OM. It simply starts my day right by being centered and leaving me with this permeating sense of equanimity. The challenge really, is how to sustain that throughout the day. Lately, I do a fusion with my vision therapy, meditation and third-eye awakening exercises - e.g. doing the eye-roll as I chant my OM without blinking until tears run down. The not-blinking part is more difficult than it sounds. At some point, the eyes start burning - it's an effort not to blink. Tears also signal the end of the session.

Yoga
Ideally, it should be done daily. In a past Sudarshan Kriya I attended, the guru told us that we had no idea about the enormity of what we were doing. I asked him to explain further. He simply said to do it religiously everyday for 3 months, after which, I would have answered my own question. 3 months continuous without fail? I tried...and tried but something always comes up to break the continuity. I remain curious what transformation happens in 3 months.

As I practise my discipline, I increasingly create my own style - a fusion of my strength-training workout combined with several yoga asanas (poses), all in compliance to the core tenet of yoga itself - the pranayama (breathing). Pranayamas are powerful. I was warned not to experiment with it. I could inadvertently unleash energies too strong for an unprepared body (imagine 220 volts going into a 110-volt bulb). At this point however, I'd been working out nearly all my life my body already lets me know if I'm doing something not right...so far, so good. Besides, I'm nowhere close to the point where I can summon such energies.

Lunch
By the time I'm done with those and ready to tackle what's up for the day, it's almost lunch time - time to look at what's in my kitchen and plug in those ingredients as keywords in Google, plus the word 'recipe'. It delivers recipe search results that include all the ingredients I currently have; time to roll up the sleeve, fire up the stove and try on a new recipe. Usually, with a little adjustment, I get good results.

Setbacks
The primary reasons I've used for my move to Sagada no longer hold true. I thought I'd learn to make pottery from the ceramic center and learn cooking from the resident French chef. It didn't really pan out, not through lack of initiative on my part. Surprisingly, none of these setbacks have diminished my motivation to continue my stay here. Sagada by far, exceeds my expectation. I keep faith on the notion that there's something else that awaits me here (but hey, I'm not holding my breath). I maintain my openness and nurture that subtle voice inside me. Taking its counsel has done me good. If not for anything else, Sagada is its own reward.

Google
The evening is usually for techie stuff, primarily Google. I really appreciate Google's community-based ongoing contribution in pushing the boundaries of the web. It's more than just a search engine and email. There's now the popular Google Earth, Google Maps, website language translation, etc. On the enterprise level, they provide web analytics (site tracking), site search capability, keyword campaign (AdWords), campaign tracking...the list goes on. As a web designer, I'm a kid lost in Disneyland with all of these toys. I could imcmerse myself into the Google universe and not come back. It's hard to imagine life without Google. Google, you guys rock!

Ending Thoughts
6 months and still going strong. 1 more week? 1 more year? for good? The lure of packing up to live in another place is always there - Hong Kong and Bangkok call out. But as long as it still works out, Sagada is home.

Notwithstanding you've come reading this far, I know what's going on inside your head....did French really get him laid? Ha-ha. As a gentleman, my lips are sealed.

--- TheLoneRider

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