Learn How To Love Living Slowly

Learn how to love living slowly, even though we live in a world that wants us to go fast; Even though we as a species have been raised to view Slow as something that’s generally bad. We’ve been made to believe that Slow is a terrible thing: Slow connotes incapacity, insubstantiality, incompetency. We’ve been conditioned to think that Slow is synonymous to Broken. It reminds us of something rusty, something that’s been left in the dark for way too long, something that needs to “get it together and hurry the fuck up”. 

But we must learn how to love living slowly.

Living slowly means literally stopping to smell the flowers. It means being able to afford the time to close your eyes as you chew that first bite of doughnut at breakfast. It means knowing that there isn’t a need to chug your cup of coffee in 30 seconds, and knowing that the world isn’t gonna end if you take five minutes every night to look up at the stars. 

Living slowly allows you space to be grateful for a present that’s been given to you, or be apologetic for when a Sorry is in order. It allows you space to sing to your favorite songs or do a little dance even when you’re running late for an appointment. It allows you space for more warm embraces, more cuddles by the fireplace, more laughter around the dinner table.

Living slowly gives you the opportunity to love and be loved in return. You are not rushing through anything when you are living slowly, and so it gives you the chance to actually get to know somebody, and to get to know yourself. 

When you live slowly, you get the text from a friend and you respond; your grandma calls and you pick up; your cat brushes his forehead against your ankle and you pick him up — even when it’s almost midnight and you just want to hit the bed. 

When you live slowly, you learn to appreciate silence. You become accustomed to the beauty of pauses in music, or a blank canvas, or that empty blue space in the sky as it clears up after a rainy day. When you live slowly, you get to be grateful. You get to be self-aware. You get to be thoughtful in your words and in your actions. 

And sure, Fast is successful, Fast is sharp, Fast is fierce. Fast is revolutionary. 

But Slow… Slow is happy. Slow is gentle. Slow is affectionate. Slow is genuine. 

Slow. Much like the speed at which our hearts beat when we are with the presence of loved ones. 

Slow. Much like the sliding of the fingers down a lover’s upper arm during a tender kiss.

Slow. Much like the way a light dress flows as it descends a palace staircase. 

Slow. Much like jazz music — something that doesn’t demand attention but is always worthy of it; something that typically plays in the background, something whose purpose was never to yell but to whisper, carefully and intelligently; something that is easy to listen to and difficult to forget. 

Stop going too fast. You’re not gonna get left behind. You’re not missing out on anything. You’re not losing at life.

In fact, slow down if you do not want to get left behind. 

Slow down if you do not want to miss out on anything. 

Slow down if you do not want to lose at life. 

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Prisoner

As I was lying down on my bed, legs up against the headboard with my back flat on the mattress and my eyes glued to the ceiling, I remembered two things:

1. This position is good for my overall health. My mother told me this releases stress by immediately encouraging blood flow to my upper body and my brain. And if I have enough time or patience to stay in this position for 15 minutes or more, there’s even the chance that my anxious thoughts and negative emotions would entirely dissipate.

2. I am and have always been the only person who truly knows what it’s like to be me. From the earliest moment of consciousness one fateful day during my childhood, all the way up to this very nanosecond, I have been the only one who fully feels, thinks, and acts the way that I do. My voice is the only voice my vocal cords have ever known; my eyes are the only eyes through which I’ve ever seen; my mind is the only mind with which I’ve ever thought, analyzed, overthought; my skin is the only skin under which every single inch of me has ever existed.

And this scared me for a bit. The panic started to creep in. It’s scary to realize that I am literally stuck inside my own body, and that I have to live the rest of my life stuck with my own thoughts and emotions. Just mine and nobody else’s. Forever. I will never know what it’s truly like to be my sibling — what does he think of at night when he lies awake for hours, unable to sleep? Or my bestfriend — what does he see when he looks at himself in the mirror? Or my father — what thoughts does he have each time I talk or act a little too feminine for his liking? Or the barista at the local café across the street — how does she hear her own voice inside her head? Is it raspy? Does she think it’s way too high-pitched? Is she one of those people who hate listening to their own voices? Or Angelina Jolie — what ideas come to her while she’s sitting on the potty at 10AM?

I will never truly know. And even if they all told me the answers to those questions, those are just answers that will be processed in my head by my own brain, through my own ears, taking into account my own experiences. I would still be the me that I’ve always been, regardless of how descriptive and in-depth their answers to my questions would be.

However, as I was capping off the yoga-ish position on my bed at exactly 15 minutes, I decided that I also find this truth comforting: I am trapped inside my own self, my own physical body. And I am also stuck inside my own head, only truly knowing what it’s like to have my own thoughts, desires and understanding. I figured, if my eternal biological prison was myself, that it would be best for me to try and make it the brightest, kindest, healthiest, most decorative prison my mind, heart, and body would ever know. I figured it isn’t too bad that I am stuck as me. This way, I get to choose what and whom I let in, what and whom I let out.

Roller Coasters VS. Ferris Wheels

My Symphony: Cartwheels / The Reindeer Section

I always preferred roller coasters to Ferris wheels.

I always thought it was better to go spiraling up and down at an irrational speed than to repetitively go around on a stabilized circular motion at an intermittent pace.

I always looked to roller coasters whenever I felt like life was boring me, or whenever I felt like people were boring me. I loved the feeling of an exciting danger and hated the idea of a stagnant safety.

I remember being in Enchanted Kingdom with my brothers and my cousins back in 2011. We went on the Ferris wheel, and there was a moment where we were stranded for about nine minutes at the top. It was hell for me. I felt so nauseous, and all I really wanted to do was get off. In fact, I was so nauseous that I almost vomited. But I was stronger than that, I thought, so I just closed my eyes, took a deep breath, swallowed my puke (yep), and promised myself never to go on the Ferris wheel ever again.

A huge part of my life had been spent obsessing over living on the edge at all times. Everyone who knows me can attest to this. I was not always this “chill”. In fact, I was the exact opposite of chill and everything else that “chill” entails. I was a daredevil, a relentless adrenaline junkie who couldn’t stop craving for adventure, even when it meant I had to look for it in all the wrong places.

And so I went on the roller coasters of life. I was way up, and then I was way down, all in a literal blink of an eye. I was screaming, and I was laughing, and I was cursing so loudly. And then in like five seconds, I was back to reality. I went from being on cloud nine to robotically forcing a can of Mountain Dew and a handful of cotton candy down my throat.

It was all amazing. It was all really, really exciting. I felt so daring, and so alive, and so invincible during all those years of my life – those roller coaster years. But it all changed. Not quickly. Not at all. It was such a gradual change of heart, that made me miss that Ferris wheel. I started to miss that feeling of starting and stopping, and then starting again, very slowly. And I started to miss being at the top for a moment, from where I could see all the lights before me, and from where I could hear the faint sound of the world around me. I missed how the Ferris wheel felt more like real life. I missed how it was slow and steady, but peaceful and romantic at the same time. It was like I just slowly stopped craving for danger and one morning I just woke up and I was okay with being still.

The meaningless acquaintances and the short-lived pleasures just didn’t satisfy me anymore. My skin somehow became numb and my soul started to take over. It wanted to be the one to feel this time. It wanted what I wasn’t giving it. It wanted authenticity, and calm, and a gentle yet powerful love. And then it hit me: the pain that comes with dangerous adventures just wasn’t worth it anymore. It hit me that excitement doesn’t have to be risky, and that stability doesn’t have to mean boredom.

I look at all the relationships I’ve had in my life – those that survived and those that didn’t – and I see a great connection to my musings; I see that in this life, you have to be able to have fun with the people you surround yourself with even in the absence of a daring adventure. Because adventure is easy. This is what I’ve come to realize. It’s super easy! All the resorts, and clubs, and destinations, and music festivals, and trains, and buses, and yachts, and everything else that involves noise, and music, and booze and fun… It’s all easy. And it’s all good. It’s all great, peachy stuff that give color to life.

But age is a very linear journey, and none of us is getting any younger. So eventually, the question shifts from “What gives life color?” to “What gives life substance?”. You eventually begin to assess your life and who’s all in it, and see who can stand you when you’re hungry and sleep-deprived. You eventually take a pause and see who makes you feel like you’re on cloud nine without even leaving your house, or your room. You begin to realize who’s there just for the party, and who’s there to stay until the morning after to help you clean up the mess. And you will finally understand, that the high you get from going on roller coaster rides is absolutely nothing compared to the high you get when you simply look into someone’s eyes and feel like you could get lost in them.

XOXO,
KENN

P.S. I’m definitely gonna re-read this write-up when I’m 55 and probably laugh at how serious I was. But it will be all good. 

To My Friends Who Are Still Trapped In Toxic Relationships

My Symphony: Skeletons / Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Love is not a prison. Maybe at this point in your life it sometimes feels like it is, but it shouldn’t be. It’s not a prison. It shouldn’t look like one, it shouldn’t sound like one, and it certainly shouldn’t operate like one. You should be able to hang out with your friends, with your family, with your co-workers, even with the sidewalk fishball vendor you’ve gotten to know well over conversations about politics and religion on the corner of your street as you wait for the bus every morning. You need to understand that you are not behind bars. You can go outside and live. You are allowed to watch the sunset from breathtaking horizons with your loved ones. Your hands are not tied, your feet are not chained, your life is not limited by four rusty corners. You can breathe, and whenever you do, you should be able to breathe deeply and freely.

Love is not a game. You shouldn’t be tossing and turning at night debating with yourself about where you stand in someone’s life. You shouldn’t be losing sleep wondering if you are worth loving, because you are. And that person making you question that is nothing short of garbage, and you need to throw him or her out of your life as forcefully as you can. All of the mind games just need to stop. You are not a toy and your soul is not a punching bag. You should be looking at someone in the eyes and not feel like you’re staring at a stranger. You should be able to look inside them and feel like you’re home. You should be able to hold them without fearing that they’re going to let go first, because they won’t… because they never did… because they never will.

Love is not a test. You do not have to pass anything. This isn’t an examination where you have to burn the midnight oil to make sure you don’t fail. There is nothing to fail at, only bits of lessons you can learn, only glimpses of perfection you can sometimes miss. You shouldn’t ever feel like you have to prove something, or that you have to improve something – about yourself, about your life, about the world that you live in. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re walking around eggshells in fear of “fucking things up”, because “fucking things up” should be a thing so un-thought of that you have started to forget what it even means to fuck things up. And in the slim instance that you do fuck things up, you should be so engulfed in the realness and the greatness of what you have with that person that you are confident enough that love itself can straighten out what is crooked; that even though you know a genuine apology cannot fix everything, it is a magnificent start.

Love is not a contest. You are not trying to be better than anyone; You are not racing to the finish against anyone. It is not a competition, nor is it a race. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you should see how beautiful you are, even when you never explicitly acknowledge that. You shouldn’t feel less than what and who you are because of the relationship that you are in. You should never, ever, be compared to anyone in his or her past or present life. You shouldn’t feel insecure about how you look, or ever doubt that you are worth it, or ever fear being incomplete without your partner’s validation, because you know you were whole long before you even met this garbage person.

You should be looked at like a Vincent van Gogh art piece, listened to like a Beethoven symphony, embraced like the warm waves in the Pacific Ocean, and kissed like the first drop of rain after a long, dry summer.

If there was anything I wish could be learned the easy way, it’s that you are amazing, just the way you are. We all have doubts about ourselves, we all have insecurities about ourselves, and we all have imperfections we wish we didn’t have. We’re just humans. But when the time comes that you do share your life with someone, it has to be with a person who builds you up, who makes you feel better not just about yourself but about life in general. It should be with someone who brings the sunshine in any rainy day.

So get up. Get out. And start living the life you deserve, with the people who deserve you.

Truthfully,

Kenn Edward Tenorio ❤

The 10 Most Successful Men On Earth

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Photo credit: Dwin Formaran | IG: @thedwinformaran

When we think of success, we often think of larger, wider, brighter things that are constantly seemingly out of reach. We envision stack after stack of dollar bills, glossy skyscrapers, mansions with heated pools, hundreds of paparazzi and a seven-digit pool of Instagram followers. More and more, the ways in which we measure success have been close to society’s norms but far from the truth. We have been blindly programmed to keep on dreaming with our eyes instead of dreaming with our hearts. And aren’t dreams an occurrence that takes place after we close our eyes, anyways?

If you Google “The most successful man on earth”, the first result will be a bulleted enumeration of names that are familiar to almost everyone: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Walt Disney. Below you will find a link that invites you to see more of the article from which the enumeration was taken from. You will then be redirected to a page where you will see a larger list of people with their full names, their birth-death years and a brief description of their achievements, all cataloged under the area of industry or expertise they are/were best known for.

Now, don’t get me wrong; these people are undeniably notable, and they have achieved and invented a lot of things which have helped the world and a lot of people in many ways. This isn’t a hate mail addressed to them. They do deserve recognition, and they do deserve applause. But where it becomes worrisome is when we live our lives with the superconscious attempt to achieve as much as they have achieved, or to get as close as we can get to wherever they got to. Where it becomes ugly is when we start to view success as something that we need to work really, really hard for — when we begin to spend our days feeling somehow empty and defeated just because we do not look anything like Mark Zuckerberg’s chequing account or Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat stories.

Life is not a race, and it is definitely not a contest. Sometimes, the small things are actually the big ones, and the best things in life aren’t even things. So if you think you are not successful, have a look at this rather unorthodox list of the ten most successful men on earth…

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Photo credit: Alfred Marcial | IG: @alfredmarcial

  1. The Man Who Has Loved

It is one of the oldest stories in the world, and probably too old that it has transformed into a succinct cliche: “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. It’s true! If you, at any point in your existence in this world, have felt that warm, cozy, almost-indescribable feeling in your chest when you look at someone deeply in the eyes, then consider yourself not just lucky, but successful. When we were younger, fairytales and rom-coms made us all believe that falling in love was easy. And then we grow up and learn that it doesn’t happen to everyone. True love takes courage, trust and, most importantly, friendship, and it only happens a couple of times throughout a lifetime. If you’ve ever experienced it, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Appreciates Nature

The more you live, the sooner you realize that there’s no better place to be than right next to nature. Sunsets are more than just about days slipping into nights; they are a reminder. Blue skies are more than just nice sunny days; they are an enlightenment. Waterfalls and oceans aren’t just liquid grazing solid; they are an awakening. If you are someone who can sit still in peace as you appreciate a magnificent view of mountains, beaches, canyons and fields, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Truly Knows His Value

The modern world dictates that we need to do this and that because if we don’t, we are deemed failures. We as a society have become restless – always looking for ways to please people, always obsessing over more Likes, more Followers, more Retweets. Life has become less about genuine connection and more about virtual recognition. Most people nowadays turn to social media for affirmation, for attention and for valuation. If you are someone who is confident and mature enough to know your own value in this world without seeking validation in all the superficial corners of the Internet, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Can Be Moved (Literally)

There’s a reason why we do not have wires and cords attached to us: because we are human beings. And as humans, we are capable of change. We are allowed to grow, to get to know ourselves in our own ways, and to take on new life challenges that will later on help us become better individuals. We are not meant to stagnate in the same space for the rest of our lives. We are adaptable, versatile beings who are biologically designed to overcome struggles, drastic changes and overwhelming circumstances. If you are someone who welcomes change and challenges with brave and open arms, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Can Be Moved (Figuratively)

Another reason why we do not have wires and cords attached to us: we aren’t robots. We are allowed to feel. We are allowed to cry, to laugh, to smile, to frown, to feel like we’re on top of the world one minute and in the deepest, darkest depths of hell the next. We are emotionally mobile creatures. If you are someone who can encounter a piece of art (a painting, a film, a writing, a song, et cetera) and be greatly moved by it, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Knows Kindness

It is absolutely scary to think that kindness is fast becoming a sort of an “endangered” virtue. It is also something that people think can be translated to a couple of nickels and dimes given to a street beggar every other week. Kindness is more than just the act of giving someone something of your possession; it is about empathy and compassion. When somebody is down, miserable and lonely, and you (despite your hectic schedule) decide to be there for them to comfort them, support them and encourage them? That’s kindness. If you’ve ever been there for someone during tough times, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Is Present

These days, it is too common to see people everywhere looking down at their smartphones and tablets that in the mega rare instance that you see someone who’s not, you think apocalypse just arrived and you have less than ten seconds to have your final look at everything around you before you vanish into the vast unknown. It’s nuts! Genuine eye-to-eye conversations have now turned into mouths speaking to each other with eyes staring directly down at separate screens. Most people just aren’t present in the present anymore. They are somewhere else all the time, scrolling, sharing, liking and commenting. If you are someone who knows the value of a moment enough to put your phone away and see someone clearly in front of you as you speak, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Isn’t Friendless

Friendship is one of those words that have gained traction but lost meaning. In reality, friendship, just like love, is a rare thing. Companionship happens a lot, and so does affiliation. But real, long-lasting friendships are rare. Friends are the people whom you can count on especially in times of emotional distress, and they are also whom you can count on in times of complete fun and randomness. Friends offer a type of love and care that you cannot feel from other people, and they are often the people who have seen you in your best and your worst. So if you have a solid circle of people whom you call friends (regardless of how big or small that circle is), congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Does What He Loves

Life is too short to do something that you do not enjoy doing. However, life is also not that simple. There are bills to pay, and not everyone gets the chance or the opportunity to do exactly what they love to do in a professional setting. A lot of people who love dancing work in banks; some who are passionate about painting work in sawmills; others who are very talented at singing work in hotels as housekeeping attendants. The list goes on. But let’s take a moment to appreciate the guy who changes from slacks to sweatpants to join dance rehearsals after his 5-PM end-of-shift at the bank. Let us appreciate the girl who vacuums floors and washes sheets at hotels so she can afford singing lessons. Let us appreciate the people who keep on painting despite their already-tired hands from working so hard in sawmills. If you are someone who may not be loving what you’re doing professionally but still finds ways to do what you love, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Has Connected To Another Man (Or Woman) In A Genuine, Penetrating, Effervescent Way

This is probably one of the greatest successes one can experience in his lifetime: to feel a great connection between you and somebody else. If you come to think about it, this life we live is full of complications. There are more than seven billion people on this planet, and we are all just trying to live our lives the way we know how to live them. And we do get moments of joy and clarity, but there will always be nights when we hit our beds after a long day at school or at work and feel that something is missing; that something isn’t right. So when we happen to cross paths with someone who just “gets us”, someone who lights up our day just by existing, someone who literally finishes our sentences and someone who speaks to us without saying a word, we hold on to them. Because we know that genuine connections don’t happen everyday. If you are someone who knows somebody whom you feel that electric chemistry with, CONGRATULATIONS!

Skeletons In My Closet

Now that I look back on it from a higher, greener ground, I realize that the biggest pain I went through was far deeper and uglier than the sheer betrayal, physical assault and verbal belittling. I have come to realize that the absolute worst thing he had done to me – the gravest, most unforgivable thing he had done to me – was look at me in the eyes and not see me for who I really, truly, fully, was. The one heartache that’s bigger than any other heartaches: to be loved not for who you are but for what you can potentially be. Not you but the idea of you. A love not rooted in genuine passion, kindness and understanding, but a love founded in the depths of some sort of a superficial fantasy. The greatest pain, I have come to learn, was that he hurt me not because I was imperfect… but because I was just not enough. And the difference between the two (imperfection and incompleteness) is vast and overwhelming. It’s funny, though, how life works. Because as much as it was a nightmare, it was also an awakening. You get treated like shit first, and then you learn (the hard way) how you actually deserve to be treated. You get hurt first, before you can completely appreciate what it’s really like to be loved.

‪‎Love Is Not A Game I Play Anymore‬

I think that at the end of the day, the greatest irony of love is that no matter how many times you fall, you never get used to it. It is a constant struggle, a constant push-and-pull, a constant give-and-take. For the longest time, I thought that being in love meant so much more than what it actually does.

Love is a theme many artists have bled for, many warriors have died for, many friends have fought for. But love is simple. And it took me almost a decade to realize that love, at its very core, is nothing else but friendship. A friendship that lets you grow, encourages you to be better and effortlessly inspires you to be kinder. To things, to people, to life. To the world in general.

And right now, I am seeing it (love) in the brightest light. I never thought it could be this real and this non-complex. Love is a verb, not a glittery adjective or an excessively imposing noun. It’s something you do.

And that’s exactly what I intend to do. You can stay in my heart for an eternity, or you can stay for a mere second. But as long as you are here, I will love you for all that I am, with all that I have, because of everything that you are. ❤