More Daring at 31

upI turn 31 today.

So what?

“What’s different about me this year in comparison to who I was last year?”, I ask myself.

Well, I think I’m pretty much the same. I just think I’m more daring now. Daring in ways I wasn’t before. Daring and more comfy in my own skin. Daring and more at peace with uncertainty. Daring and more at ease with owning my mistakes. Daring and more confident with my personal standards and desires. Daring and more trusting in life. Daring and more tender in my relationships.

Stepping onto this phase of my life feels like a warm, thick familiar coffee. You look forward to it. It’s homey in its own special way. It also feels like a prize you know you so well deserved.


How to take your power back? Make more time for Play.

lizmayvYesterday, in the middle of a busy working Monday, a thought bubble popped out – it said,

“How can I feel more in control of my days? How can I feel like my days – including weekdays – are mine again? How can I bring back my regular everyday bliss from when I still had full control of my schedule?”

This morning when I woke up, I got my answer.

It’s to make more time for Play. By play, I mean, it could be anything at all that we simply do because it’s fun and it allows us to be creative. It lets our mind wander and expand. For one person it could be spending time with animals, for another it could be working out in the gym – for me, it’s thinking on a blank sheet – it’s both drawing and writing, although I tend to write more often these days.

Today since I woke up 30 minutes earlier than usual, I started taking my power back. I started writing at 5 am – before I proceed with my usual daily grind.

Ironic because what playing actually offers us is the space to lose control – yet it’s also the very thing that makes us feel more in control of our life.

Perhaps after all this time we are just spiritual kids inside us. We just want to explore, create and have some a lot of fun!

Even before I started writing this piece, just the thought of writing already lifted my spirits up.

I started feeling more hopeful about my day, knowing that it’s not just another day to spend living for other people’s dreams and fulfillment.

In fact, it’s mine – I create it – just like all the days past and all the days to come. Everything else in my life is just there to support me in living life the way I want to – including my day job (and not the other way around).

I’m the one that remains

My loyalty, above all, is to myself.

I am the champion of my own principles,

I am my redeemer,

I am my own strength.

I am my shield and my sword.

I am the rock, 

upon which I have built myself.

I am my own garden, pregnant with realities -


Death and life combined.

I am my horizon and the earth that shakes 

underneath my feet.

I am the sky and the rain

and all the oceans combined.

I am all the stars 

I could never count.

I am the light that

won't ever wane.

I'll be here when everything

burns to the ground.

When everyone has turned their back

against me,

I'm the one that stays.

I'm the one that remains.

daena de guzman | 2017

Unicorn thoughts

Maybe I'm just tracing the lines 
of my comfort zone.

Going in circles.

I couldn't seem to find my way out. 
So all I do is go in circles.

Trapped in my own carousel.

It's already a miracle, though 
to have finally realized

that I am moving but not going anywhere, 
that I am in the same place.

'Cause how could I ever do it 
without having been able to step out of myself 
and observe my life play out?

What a weird thing - this duplicity.

And the world that allows it to be.

Sometimes being awake
only feels like 


Until we learn how to use our own power. 
The power of our own mind.

daena de guzman | 2017

You are Eternity

Lie still.

Stare at the ceiling.


Notice the sounds pulsing

through the walls.

Feel the textures

enmeshed in a cobweb

of scenes, events

mini-multiverses of their own.




Remember this.

This is a slice of eternity.

Absorb it like water.

Let it take

the shape

of your own mind.

Bring eternity

everywhere you go.

Bring eternity

in everything you do.

You are Eternity.

- daena de guzman | 2017


To the nagging fear of Standing Up for oneself

When we settle for less than what we deserve, when we stay in situations that no longer serve us or are outright unhealthy for us, we are telling the Universe that we are okay with this and that we are not open to receive the abundance and joy that She can offer.

When we don’t stand up for ourselves, it’s another way of  telling other people that we don’t know our worth and that they have power over us. They can freely use this power to patronize us, manipulate us and break us if they want to. We lose other people’s respect by bending over backwards just to please them. We lose respect for ourselves, too.

We are not letting the Universe know that we are kind and generous by always saying Yes. Instead, we are telling Her how insecure we are that we find it difficult to say No.

We are all created equal. The Universe lives in a constant state of balance and fairness. Nobody is expected to take more than she can carry. It’s no one’s obligation to liberate other people. We liberate ourselves.

We cannot get what we desire if we don’t have the courage to step on to the light and embrace our strength and greatness.

To KatKat, my seven year old self

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 1.32.56 PM

Remember the old days? All you’ve ever dreamed of was to travel and read (you thought it was that humble and simple – you didn’t know it can mean that you had to be filthy rich to just do those things). Once you said you wanted to be a doctor because that’s a noble thing to do, but then you realized it was your mother’s dream, not yours. Then you said you wanted to be a painter, but later on decided that you wouldn’t want to take your first love seriously because you’re afraid it might not love you back. Then you said you wanted to become a nun, not because you’re religious, but only because nuns didn’t get married. Then you decided to be an entrepreneur. You’d run your own empire in your own stylish way. You could even visualize how you would look like as a successful, single, sophisticated and confident entrepreneur.

Two decades after, here I am. I haven’t become a doctor but I’ve been serving the people for quite some time now. I’ve learned how to do it first when I was in college, when I became an activist. Being with the urban poor masses taught me what it meant to really “Serve. The. People.”. I’ve learned who these “People” were, I’ve learned how they lived and struggled and what they needed. In fact, there are many ways to serve the people, and it’s not just by becoming a doctor. This time, too, I didn’t do it because my mother wanted to (in fact, she hated every single moment of it) but because I did. I chose that definite path of service.

Aha and I became a painter, too, just like what you wanted! It didn’t happen the way you imagined it would – going to art school and eventually holding solo exhibits in air-conditioned galleries. It happened during one of the lowest moments of my life. I was healing from depression. That’s when I started to paint.

I started free painting in Microsoft Paint. Then when I’ve realized I’ve already collected a bunch of works, I decided to paint on canvas cloth using the usual bookstore fabric paint. But instead of having my works framed and displayed, I turned them into bags (since I loved bags and I wanted to create things that would not just be displayed but would be useful to people, too). I made hand-painted canvas bags!

And yes, I was able to sell those hand-painted bags. There were people who were actually willing to pay for them! So the entrepreneur dream was born! The business was put in the back of my mind for a while. But now I’m planning to launch it again soon. This time with more ideas and a better sense of organization.

Aside from that I also became a production manager, researcher, stylist, fashion and travel photographer, now I’m in a non-profit organization pushing for drug policy change as a marketing officer. I’ve written poems that were published online and that were transformed into parts of a stage play by a very talented theater group.

KatKat, I’ve met amazing people! I’ve been to amazing places! I’ve fallen in love, gut stuck in the mud (yes, the two were related), fucked up so many times, learned and transformed myself so many times as well, got hurt, have hurt others, have forgiven others and myself, learned how life worked over and over and over again.

I still don’t want to get married and I don’t want to have my own kids. But I don’t need to be a nun now for me to able to do that. I just need to decide and follow that path even if that path might also lead me to somewhere I didn’t expect I would be.

I’ve finally learned how to take care of myself now, how to make myself feel good and look good. I’m comfortable now in my own skin and this includes being comfortable with all the changes that are taking place and that will soon take place. I’ve learned who to love and how to love. It took a lot of heartaches and tons of strength to be humble before I’ve reached this part. I’m still learning.

I was not able to fulfill your dreams in ways you would’ve wanted, only because God knows how we could best learn our lessons.

I’ve also learned how to stop comparing myself to others. Each of us has her/his own path. It took me years of insecurity and struggle but it’s worth it. I am relishing every minute of it now.

I still haven’t achieved your dream of a life of travel (and reading and not working for money’s sake) but I constantly travel for more or less three years now. I save up to travel. I look forward to my travels. I learn from my travels. The best thing is, I travel to places that assist me in my personal and spiritual growth and development and not just to places that are touristy. And I read a lot, too! Reading and traveling have both been part of my growth.
I’ve healed some really old and deep wounds as well. I’ve won over many of my most stubborn weaknesses and fears.
More than all the things I’ve accomplished, what I am most proud of are my battle scars. I’ve fought for who I was and who I’ve become.
I’m confident that I would be able to fight for who I want to become eventually (we are always in the process of becoming, after all). I may have disappointed you and the people who care about me in many ways, but here I am, I believe I’ve become who God thought I was supposed to be.
Ssshhhh, don’t say it. You don’t have to say anything. I’m fully grateful and empowered being in the present (I know you can see how satisfied I am).
I am a fighter and I am able to keep on fighting for a life of authenticity. I know you’re proud of me.

To the little-girl-on-fire inside me

You were right. I had to leave him. I had so many reasons to leave him but I still wanted to stay. I’ve forgiven him. Forgiving didn’t have to mean accepting him in my life again. I have my own values and violating these values would only mean death to you, the little girl on fire inside me.

I could still remember that decisive moment when I had to choose between you and him. I chose you. I could cope up with losing him but never with losing you.

Accepting him again would only be like saying to myself that he was more worthy than me, than you. Accepting him would only mean that there’s nothing else I won’t be able to not accept from that moment on.

I had to stand up for myself, for you.

From now on we both know that blessings will continue to come our way because we’ve earned it. There is nothing greater than living an authentic life inside-out. Only cowards would be comfortable living in chronic dishonesty and mediocrity. There is no peace, abundance and joy in a life filled with lies. It was easy to forgive him because what he did was very human. I knew where he was coming from. But accepting him again after what he did was something else.

He wasn’t able to change himself for the better (in fact, he only got worse in time) because he chose not to. He may have had his own share of pains and betrayals but not all who experience the same things end up hurting others, too.

We may be limited by our circumstances but we could always choose how to respond to them. Pain could either break or make us better. It’s our choice.

He broke my heart. He buried me so deep below. But it was my choice not to sink.

I fought for you, my little girl on fire. Nobody could kill you.

Maybe I was broken down for a time. But I picked up the good parts of me that were left and I rebuilt myself into a stronger and wiser version of me.

Bitterness and regret should not have a permanent place in my life. I didn’t want to end up hurting others because I was hurting, too. I surrendered myself to healing. I was not gonna make that pain that he caused turn me into a monster. I held on for who I was. I held on for you.

We are stronger than all these pain and loss. Love and goodness, these things will rise above all the negativity.

We were healed by an all-encompassing love. We will endure. We will get better. Life will get better for us who believe in its goodness.

I love you, little-girl-on-fire. I promise to keep you safe and protected. Nothing could kill your warmth and light. Please keep lighting up my life.

To my Younger Selves

Age 5

Hey Kat,

You have the right to be a child. You have the right to cry and demand the adults in your life to take care of you and not depend on you. You have to learn that it is not right to trespass other people’s boundaries only because you couldn’t help your own pain and mess from spilling over.

Be tender but tough. Be tough and wise in tenderness.


Age 21

Dearest Daena,

This deep shit you’re in is an opportunity to know yourself and transform into the person you feel in your soul you should become. Just take each and every blow. You’ll come out of this more alive, stronger and wiser because you are a lot bigger than all your troubles.

Learn to look at your monsters eye-to-eye. Learn to reach the opposite end of the tunnel by summoning all your courage. Learn to follow the light.

We can do this! Fight!


Age 27

Dearest Daena,

The beauty of the universe’s wisdom is right before you. You can see it because you are ready. Don’t worry. Your independence will come in time. Believe in nature’s own process of healing and liberation.

In time, you’ll land at your own feet; they may be sore and thick with scars but they will be more capable of standing.

Be humble to accept all of which you have yet to learn. Let yourself be guided. Forgive. Express your gratitude. You have the right to fall flat on your face, change your mind and stand up again.

You are worthy of many second chances. Redemption is in your hands. Seize it.
The universe is on your side as long as you stay true to yourself.