Thursday, May 5, 2016

I shot an arrow into the air ...

and it fell on a newspaper!

Dr Abe V Rotor

                                                                    Dad, circa 1947

I was about 4 or 5 years old. Dad was reading Manila Bulletin on a easy chair. 

I was playing Robin Hood. 

Since our sala was very spacious (it had no divisions), anything on the ceiling and walls was a potential target. 

But something wrong happened. 

In physics a crooked arrow would not follow a straight line, so it found an unintended mark – the center of a widespread newspaper!

The arrow pierced through it and landed on my dad’s forehead, almost between his eyes. 

He gave me a severe beating with my plaything as he wiped his forehead, blood dripping.

I did not cry, I just took the punishment obligingly. 

Dad must have seen innocence in my eyes. 

He stopped and gave me a hug.

The End 

(With apologies too, to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, author of I Shot an Arrow into the Air)


The Art and Science of MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is the intentional and objective focus of one's attention on the thoughts and feelings occurring in the present moment. Mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience - instead of letting your life pass you by. 
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Fishing in acrylic by the author, 2014.  Analyze the painting and list down your observations or awareness on the details of the scene.  Imagine yourself to be in the scene and reflect on the applicatioons of mindfulness. 

Lesson: Go over these twenty applications of mindfulness and add your own thoughts and experiences in each item.  This is a very good material for workshops, for the school, or simply in ordinary conversation. 

The art and science of mindfulness and its applications:

1. Mindfulness leads to discovery 
    Alexander Fleming "accidentally" discovered Penicillin.  We call such 
    discovery as serendipity.  Had he thrown the "contaminated" culture, he
    could have missed the greenish mass of green molds consuming the
    colony of bacteria in a petri dish.  
2. Avoidance of embarrassment
    Watch your language, please. Don't enter through the exit door. Your t-shirt
    is reversed. Avoid sudden outburst - laughter or anger. Don't clap in the
    middle of a concert. 

3. Prevention of accidents.
    Stop, look and listen before you cross. Always be alert when driving. Be
    mindful in the use tools in the kitchen, workshop, and garden. 

4. Keeping with good health
    You forgot your medicine. You ate too much of the restricted food. Don't 
    overwork. Don't carry more than your body's weight - much less if you are a 
    senior citizen. It's flu month, stay home as much as possible.  
5. Enhancement of learning
    Be keen with the lecture. Read aloud, specially poetry, to have the real 
    experience of reciting. Give full attention to details, don't skip pages.  The
    more senses you use, the more you learn and the longer you keep them in 
    your memory.
6. Tool in critical thinking
    Acronym AJA - Analysis, Judgment, Action- in this order. Don't interchange
    the two A's.  Study your case well, or else you ay lose your case in court.
    How did Hemingway end The Old Man and the Sea to drive his theme and  
    message in just a few pages? 
7. Tool in decision making  
Related to the above - tool in critical thinking - postpone making decision if you are not well prepared. Take a weekend break. Mindfulness is relaxation. Never make decisions when you are stressed

8. Keenness of events and happenings
The chandelier appears to be swaying.  Earthquake? Or you are not feeling well?
You freeze in the middle of an accident. Don't be a victim of budol-budol. Know the fire exit, stairway, elevator when checking in a hotel.

9. Deciphering reality from fantasy
Analyze make-believe stories. Telenovelas are usually embellished.  But fiction can be symbolic of reality.  Fictions may be advanced ideas. Or simply myths.
10. Enlightenment between truth and falsehood
You know if a person is lying. Too bad, the fellow is an actor. Mindfulness gives you time to analyze. He avoids eye-to-eye contact. He has the Pinocchio syndrome, rubbing his nose now and then. Or a tear jerker (crocodile's tears).  

11. Development of personality
How's your grooming?  You poise, stride, posture. Beard stubs don't fit your attire and occasion. Formal dress can't go with rubber shoes, even if the shoes cost more.  

12. Expression of values
Say: Excuse me.  Thank you. Beg your pardon? Say,  Best wishes to the bride, congratulations to the groom.  Read Julie Yap Daza's small book, Manners for Growing Up. Follow etiquettes in social media.
13. Enhancement of good relationship
You forgot the birthday of you loved ones. Worse you greet the wrong fellow. Recognize your audience, specially the VIPs. Don't flatter too far, it is embarrassing or courting trouble.
Mindfulness preserves friendship. 
14. Reduction of anxiety, tension and stress
The term "mindfulness" is derived from the Pali-term sati, "mindfulness", which is an essential element of Buddhist practice. It has been popularized in the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn with his mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program. Mindfulness is also an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being. (Wikipedia)

15. Preserving institutions and society
Mindfulness keeps you in touch with your community. Participate in the programs and projects of your barangay. The integrity of our institutions lies greatly in people's active participation.  You are mindful of electoral process, banking system, K-to12 program, justice system, etc. And if you must press for reform, you must.  Mindfulness leads to the expression rights and privileges.   
16. Closeness to nature (naturalism, green thumb)
Beethoven composed Pastoral on the meadow, Grieg's Morning at sunrise, Abelardo's Mutya ng Pasig by the beautiful Pasig River then. Darwin "followed" Nature in his four-year voyage on a research ship, Beagle, to formulate his theory of evolution which he later wrote into a book, Origin of the Species through Natural Selection, the most significant and controversial theory in the 18th century and up to now. 

17. Closeness to the Creator
Handel wrote Alleluia Chorus in seclusion and on emerging a week after, confessed he saw God in his music. Have you had your retreat lately? Do you compose your prayers personally? Do you believe in miracles? Mother Teresa claimed of the apparition of St. Gabriel. The miracle at Fatima was witnessed by young children.  Which means mindfulness may start early in life.  Are prodigies the products of early mindfulness?  
18. Interdisciplinary and holistic scholarship
Team work is key to winning. Mindfulness is both practiced invividually and as a team. Observe a team of surgery doctors and nurses work in the operating room. Mindfulness is cultivating the eight realms of intelligence and this is a lifetime experience.
19. Awareness of the wholeness of the human being
The human being is not a robot, it is whole. Holism as an important subject in mindfulness application in natural and social sciences. Models to this human attribute are Gandhi, Rizal and Mandela   

20. Road to peace of mind
Anent to the awareness of the wholeness of the human being, is the aim of every person to have peace of mind. POM has four attributes: mental or intellectual, emotional or psychological, physical, and spiritual. We may find it difficult to maintain a "perfect square" every day, but we must always aim at  it.  For there is no true happiness in this world without Peace of Mind. ~

Stop at Nature on the Wall

Mural by Dr Abe V Rotor 

Take time out, stop at Nature’s invitation,

real or in imagination;

Take time, let the world go by for a while,

in stride with a smile.~

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"All roads lead to a farmstead."

Dr Abe V Rotor
Farmstead, aerial photo by the author, circa 1976

It is likened to the prairies of North America,
      the Fertile Crescent, the Nile's delta;
the Andean plateau, the pampas of Argentina;
      this tiny nook somewhere in Isabela.

I have travelled far and wide on this single road
     with "all roads leading to it," here and abroad
with the seasons, creatures born and growing old,
      and tell the universal story of the world.~

The Grain Center is as Old as Joseph's Dream and Aesop's Fable

Dr Abe V Rotor
Former Director, National Food Authority
NFA Grain Center in Cagayan Valley, circa 1977

Like the nucleus of a cell depends the life of a nation,
the Center the equalizer in times of plenty and lean,
buffer stock is built like in Joseph's prophetic dream,
of seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.  

Politics of war and peace draws the politics of food;
nothing's really new but terminologies, flag and tool,
and Demeter or Ceres the same goddess of harvest,
so with The Ant and the Grasshopper Aesop fable.~ 

Arc de Triomphe, a detailed study (Article in progress)

Little Fishermen

Dr Abe V Rotor
 Fishing in younger days, author (right) and companion, San Fernando La Union, circa 1975

Meager may be their catch for the day,
     loafing on the idle sea;
had a big, big fish come their way,
     wonder where they would be!

They would on the ocean lost and bare,
     to places queer and unknown,
on the highest floor, on a swivel chair,
     or on some engraved stone. 

Fishermen, you love a life at the extreme. 
     with the big fish that got away
in make-believe story, either lie or dream;
     tell us how to fish, we pray. ~