Live, Love, Pray Every Day

By Samira Gutoc

Just weeks ago, two close people to me in their 40s passed away due to various reasons, the other so sudden. Seeing many getting sick and pass away so young, including a vibrant spirit like Gina Lopez puts premium on investing on one’s health and wellness.

We who multitask as moms know how stressful it is to work, travel, and survive the urban jungle. Right now, I work as a speaker here and there. I speak about peace of mind and our power to change things. I have to deal with deadlines and pressure from domestic tasks. Just this week in only three days, I was literally in the North — in Baguio; then to the South — in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

As we enter September which is Peace Month, it is timely to talk about peace. My advice to the yuppies out there, aside from exercise, is to invest in regular check-ups, prayer time and outdoor trips. Relaxing is a conscious “activity.” One has to forget about everything when in prayer — and for us Muslims — while we prostrate and kneel.

Another thing I do is to have a THANK YOU notebook. I actually write about every incident that I am grateful for, such as a lunch or snack treat from a friend. I was grateful for being able to travel from North to South on a travel sponsorship from youth protection advocates. Ain’t that inspiring?

Communicating to God, in particular, has its positive effect. For us, five times of prayer can actually rejuvenate us and ward off negative vibes that pollute us by the hour. One concrete tip is to avoid checking your cellphone upon waking up, because it affects the clarity of mind. It reminds how important prayer is at the very early part of the day.

In their search for self-peace, we see many pilgrims arriving at NAIA. Hajj is a spiritual practice for all able Muslims who can afford to pay almost P100,000 to join this journey of visiting Prophets Muhammad’s and Abraham’s place. Pilgrimage is a spiritual act that entices millions of Muslims around the world. It is inspiring to see younger people join the trip to Makkah and Madina. The arrival of pilgrims highlights the value of this practice. Clad in white, these pilgrims are like a newborn. They have trekked long distances, reciting the Almighty’s glory and power.  

It is timely that we pay homage to the pilgrims because they remind us that we all must sacrifice, we are united in facing regular struggles. I urge help on pushing peace programming at the basic level so that children can learn how to appreciate the everyday joys and understand miracles that fall on us even if we don’t see angels.

And for us in Marawi , the direction for victims of the conflict is to survive and find a way and pray that the day of return to normalcy will come.  

Charter Day

Marawi City’s 78th Charter Day celebrations highlight the survival of a people after the conflict which affects humanitarian workers, too. Last August 19 at the Marawi City Hall, Sapia Taulani of the MHT Mindanao Humanitarian Team gave tribute to the fallen workers in Iraq. An exhibit of Women Humanitarian Workers was also unveiled.

Friend’s film

Wishing luck to the movie production, Sultan Kudarat, with one former co-editor former OFW Nash Pops Sharief of Lanao del Sur at the helm.

Return to Marawi

“How’s Marawi?” is always asked of me. The planned July return of some first-comers to former Ground Zero has yet to find progress. I am sure access to electricity and water are major stumbling blocks. December na naman ba ang return? The schedule always keeps getting pushed to a later date.

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