Don't try to be the Buddha (Christ). Just be yourself for that is the Buddha.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Our family at the Divine Mercy Foundation.


As a family we woke up at 3:00 AM in the morning earlier today. That is how we beat the traffic and missed the long line at the barge. If you didn’t know, a barge is a boat that carries passengers and cars across water when there isn’t a bridge in place. And when traveling from the province to Davao City, we catch a barge. But before getting to Davao we dropped by a religious site known as Divine Mercy. The site consists of a good sized church, a large landscaped park, and a big statue of the legendary Jesus Christ. There is also a place to light candles and some souvenir booths lining the entrance.

I was a little disappointed that I was still sleepy when we got there since I didn’t enjoy the outing as much as I normally would. It was also really hot outside. But I still got to sit in an empty church, and I love empty churches. I actually love quiet churches but that usually only happens when the church is empty. Most of the time it doesn’t matter what kind of church it is, as long as it is a church, a temple, or something like that.

I feel a strong sense of peace in a down-to-earth real way when I enter an area of silence that a large number of people have prayed and meditated by. It is like I can feel the energy of the people who prayed there. The modern consensus in the scientific community would probably be at odds with this but I believe we leave traces of our emotions wherever we go.

Well. . . That’s enough about that. I hope you enjoyed the photos. I will do my best to maintain silence in my heart and mind at least a little bit each and every day.

A statue of Jesus Christ at the Divine Mercy Foundation.
The landscaped park at the Divine Mercy Foundation.
Overlooking a beach in the Philippines.
The ocean in the Philippines.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Elma & Tita Flor.

It’s May 28th today and that means it’s Aaron’s birthday. He is now three years old! I still remember before he was born when it was just his Ate Claue and their parents. He is still young so he doesn’t know English yet but Claue does.

We bought them some blank paper and pens but I am hoping to buy them school supplies. Paper, crayons and pencils are cheap but sometimes it’s not a priority since food is more important. I want them to have a little extra so that they don’t have to worry about running out of paper or losing their writing tools. It might not be time for Aaron to write or draw yet but I think he enjoys seeing Claue draw.

Now back to the party. In the photo below there is a roasted pig. It is different in the United States since I only saw a roasted pig there once in my life but here it is extremely common. Most people who can afford purchase a pig to roast on almost every occasion that is considered special (at least in the inner circles that surround me).

So that’s the update for today. Thank you for being a part of reality and make sure to take time off to find yourself. If you’ve already found yourself you are a lot like me. Even if it doesn’t seem like it.

Birthday Celebration.
This is a street dog here in the province.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Emafe & Chris Rice.

Emafe and I were laying down last night and I asked her if we could take a photo together. It is now one of the many photos we have taken together as a married couple. I also asked Jake if I could take a photo of him.

I upload my photos to Instagram. And if you didn’t know, Instagram is one of the beautiful apps on the net. I like it since it is like a personal diary. I have a lot of my memories there and it is easy to navigate since it is organized by picture, not by text. It is often less stressful than Facebook since most people probably look at their own profile more than others.

I discovered that paying too much attention to others can affect our ability to care for ourselves. If we want to care for others, we must care for ourselves first. That is when all of us will discover we are all connected. One body in a sense that a single human being who suffers affects the rest of us.

Jake.
Dried fish.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Emafe and her relatives.

Emafe and I visited a mountain top with her parents and family. It is actually where some of her relatives live. At first I felt a little uncomfortable since it was a new scenery and I felt a little stressed from the news I saw on TV. But then it was time to sit down and look at some of the chickens that live there.

Chickens have eyes that look a lot like fish eyes and their necks move fast in twitching-like motions. I saw how innocent they were and felt a sense of peace watching them walk around and take care of their young. I also took a few moments to look at the mountains that sat off in the distance. The coconut trees living there seemed as vast as an ocean. I liked that too.

The last thing everyone did was play volleyball. I didn’t play but I watched a little bit. I was content just snapping a few photos as a remembrance. People were smiling so I was smiling too. It was another beautiful day in the Philippines.


Emafe & Chris Rice.

Mama chicken and her chic.

Chicken playing peek-a-boo.
Walking chickens.
Coconut trees on a mountain.
The family playing volleyball.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jake’s in his Holy Child outfit. 
Holy Child is the school he went to in Davao City (2016).

This is one of the good memories that I share with Jake. He was wearing his Holy Child t-shirt with red face paint and his Ate Emafe is the one who took the photo.


Holy Child is the school he went to when we lived in Mintal of Davao City. It was an English speaking school and the education there was good. There were a lot of extra projects and extracurricular activities like swimming and taekwando.

On the day in the photo above, Jake participated in a singing event with all of his classmates. He was singing so loud that the veins in his neck were getting really large. And I remember seeing a strong sense of innocence in his expression and gestures. That is probably the closest thing to fatherhood besides my wife’s pregnancy that I have ever experienced.

So I am looking forward to more interactions like that with Jake, and especially the birth of my son, Zac Lucas Rice. I have a good sense that the day he is born will be similar and probably a lot more intense and for a longer period of time. It will be the first time I witness the miracle of life, and I predict it will be a day of pure joy :)
Jake & Renz (July of 2015)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fast sketch of Chris & Emafe Rice.

Sometimes our society or at least the part of society I grew up in teaches people to have goals. The philosophy is that without a goal, a person will get nowhere. But I am starting to believe that somewhere is worse than Here.

When we don’t have a goal, we are more fully ourselves. We enjoy life, our family, our friends and most of all ourselves. Goals might be good sometimes, especially since having a goal ‘To Not Have Goals’ is just the same thinking pattern all over again. But lets not get so caught up in goals and enjoying ideas that we forget to see the real thing, Reality, staring us in the face and waiting for attention.

Words are symbolic and in many ways words are metaphors since everyone who reads this will have their own interpretation. But one interpretation for the word God is Reality. It is the only thing that is real, everything else is false.

Sketch of Emafe Rice.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chris & Emafe Rice
Emafe met me at the Manila Airport with her aunt and cousin on August 29th, 2009. After our time in Manila we flew to the province and got picked up by her parents and brothers. I still remember seeing the never ending rice fields and coconut trees lining the highway with the wind blowing towards me and the fast motion of the multicab I was in. It was surreal, especially since I hadn’t yet been to a country like the Philippines.

Once in her hometown, we visited with her other relatives, her Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, etc. But one of the first things Emafe did was clip my toenails. I am not very clean when it comes to things like that and in the Philippines I guess it is more important. I am usually busy looking straight in front of me so I don’t spend that much time caring for and looking after my feet. That could be why I needed them clipped so badly.

Anyways, it was awkward getting my nails cut by someone else for the first time. It almost felt like she was going to cut my toes since she used a nipper to trim the skin around my nails. It felt a bit frightening and still does, even though it doesn’t hurt that much. But I am finally getting used to it.

I am now making it a habit of saying Yes the moment Emafe is ready to cut my nails, and I am making an effort to do other things that make me feel uncomfortable. ‘Exposure therapy’ is one of the best ways to relieve slight and mild cases of anxiety. I recommend it for people who get a feeling of discomfort, anxiety or stress from things, thoughts or feelings they are avoiding.

Emafe clipped my nails today.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Our dog, Gabby.

Sometimes when I notice an animal I see a dog, cat or a bird. And sometimes I can look at Gabby the dog and I sense some sort of reflection, like a mirror. I see something similar in his eyes and mine. He doesn’t walk upright, talk English or have a wife, but I can see a part of myself when I look in his eyes. Especially in this photo. I can notice the same thing in the cats we used to care for.

Some people say that Love is a form of attachment, other people say that it is seeing yourself in another person, animal or thing. I don’t think it matters what the word means but I can sense some sort of connection between me and everyone & everything else. It isn’t that strong but looking at photos like this one makes it stronger.

There is a doorway that leads to the End of Suffering, and Mankind is almost there.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

This is a church at the Monastery.

I visited a monastery with Emafe and her family the other day. The location was silent and solemn with trees, open space and a small prayer room. As a family we took time to sit, walk and reflect. Most of us wrote prayers on little paper cards. Renz even wrote a prayer asking God if he could go to Heaven with his family. Someday he’ll know that Heaven is only revealed when Heaven and Hell, Good & Evil, Happiness & Sadness (a.k.a. Reality) are seen as a package deal. The Kingdom of Heaven is Here, and it was always here. It was with us all the while.

Beyond the concepts of Good & Evil, Satan & Christ, Life and Death is God. It cannot be explained in words but it can be experienced. Desperation for such an experience guarantees it will happen.


I love the open space here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Emafe's Dad in his store.

I have had a good time since I moved to the Philippines. Distance has been a slight issue, since I am away from friends and family members that I grew up with. But in terms of Self-Growth and Personal Development, I had no choice but to move to the Philippines.

Life is simpler Here. I am sure there are places in the United States like the Philippines and even simpler if you compare Amish communities with cities in PH. But the crowd I was with in the United States wasn’t simple. Keep in mind that there is nothing essentially wrong with being complex, it is a matter of preference, not Right or Wrong.

The two most influential people in my life that help(ed) me do this is Emafe and her Dad. Her Mom, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends and everyone else I was introduced to played an equal role. But it is Emafe who helped me appreciate animals, her Father who helped me appreciate plants, and both of them showed dedication towards helping me improve my health, lifestyle and understanding. Everyone did, but looking back, it seems like the two of them took leadership positions.

Emafe is a leader, just like her Dad. And I owe the two of them something money can’t buy, Love, Joy and Understanding in One.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Renz is practicing his photobombing skills in the background :)