“Surround yourself with people that inspire and encourage positive change in your life. Build a team in which you can work together to support each other and build better lives.” ― Avina Celeste
My family and I just moved to Cebu City two months ago. Prior to coming here, I already planned to explore and meet new connections. So when I saw a notification from Facebook that there is a #ConnectedWomen meet-up in Cebu City, I took the chance to be there.
On May 22, 2019, I arrived at The Company in I.T. Park Cebu eager to know what the event would be like. I saw women talking with each other while seated on long tables. A variety of food and drinks were neatly set up at the back. The atmosphere was light and welcoming. As a first-timer, and new in the city, I quietly took a seat and expected to have a great evening. And I was not disappointed.
According to Ms. Lorna Bondoc, Connected Women Cebu Organizer, Connected Women simultaneously meet nationwide every six weeks. This year, they have a series called #AllAboutGoals, part of this is to empower women in all aspect of their life (family, work, self, etc.). The topic that evening was about self-care and self-love.
Our speaker was Ms. Windy Gancayco. She is an Author, a Teacher and a Coach at The Gassho Center for Healing Arts. Since 2016, she has been facilitating retreats and individual and corporate training on mindfulness, meditation, shamanism, energy healing, and yoga. Her topic that night was called, “ From Nourish to Flourish, Practicing Self-Care: Finding Purpose with the Chakras”.
Ms. Windy, in her gentle tone and soft-spoken voice, introduced seven main chakras for beginners: root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. Through a visual presentation, she showed that these chakras are in the center of our bodies where energy flows. If the energy is blocked in our bodies, we suffer from illness. Ms. Windy explained what each chakra is, where it is found in the body, and what color we can use or wear to atteact positive energy or heal parts of the body. ( For more information on this topic, please find Ms. Windy's websites below.)
Ms. Windy facilitated a discussion using two guide questions after she described each chakra. She instructed us to share our answers with a selected partner, and taught us what active listening is. It is to remain quiet while another person is speaking, no nodding of heads or any nonverbal gestures nor any facial reaction or interruption. It's zero response while letting your partner speak. Sounds easy, but challenging for a beginner.
Some of the questions were:
Does your work reflect who you are? If not, how can you change it?
How did you express creativity as a child?
Are you a people-pleaser?
How can you learn to love yourself more?
Are there things you want to say but are afraid to?
When was the last time you acted on intuition?
What is your soul purpose?
After moments of discussion, she called volunteers to come in front to share their answers to the wider audience.
While listening to women speak how shy they were before, how they were once people-pleasers, or how they struggled to love themselves, I felt connected with them because I was once that kind of woman (sometimes, the ghost from the past emerges if I am not mindful). Sitting there, I came into a realization how much the broken parts of me received healing, and how much I have grown to love myself.
My main takeaway from Ms. Windy’s talk is on self-care. She said when we begin to love ourselves and practice self-care, we are going to upset a lot of people. As women, we tend to put the needs of others first before our own needs. So when we begin setting boundaries for self-care, people will tell us, “ You changed; You’re selfish”. But the beauty of loving ourselves is those outward criticisms won’t matter anymore.
Our last activity was a two-minute eye-gazing with our partners. My partner was Ma’am Jo, a seasoned educator who owns a tutoring business. The thought of someone looking at me in the eyes for two-minutes made me feel self-conscious; however, as the activity began, it was a self-discovery that I didn’t mind being seen for who I truly am.
Perhaps because having written my journey on World Pulse, I have nothing left to hide. I have become my authentic self, no more wearing of masks of pretension, nor thick armors of protection. No more building of walls to hide vulnerability. That’s how I felt when Ma’am Jo gazed at me. And I to her, I saw nothing but love, acceptance, and compassion for another beautiful and brave woman. I also became curious about what were her life’s untold stories waiting to be set free.
After the session, Ms. Lorna made a few announcements, then the participants took the remaining time as an opportunity to meet, connect, take photos, and exchange business cards.
An unexpected blessing that night was when a woman named Michelle decided to walk with me because she and I have the same route going home. It was already late at night, but I felt safe walking in the streets of Cebu with her. During that 20-minute walk, we exchanged stories about life, love, financial management, and more. I enjoyed every step of it. I don’t do well with small talks, but I engage with deep, meaningful conversations. The latter was Michelle’s gift to me.
I am truly grateful that I attended the #ConnectedWomen Cebu Meet-up. The whole activity, from the vision of Connected Women to the insightful and interactive talk on self-care to (literally ) walking alongside another woman, was a night to remember! I initially expected it would be a gathering about information and communication technology, but I am glad it was more than that. It was the introspective nourishment of the soul, a self-reflection of our purpose, and a connection with empowered women, no less the “Queens” of the Queen City of the South!
Moving to Cebu City gives me an affirmation that it is a great decision because I can now surround myself with women in my local community who can help me blossom into a better version of me.
A shoutout of thanks to Ms. Lorna Bondoc, her sister Ms. Lei Bondoc, Cebu Artist Bisai, and Ms. Tuesday Zabala for their generosity and dedication to make the event a success!
"The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued."- Michelle Obama
About Connected Women:
#ConnectedWomen are tech-powered women entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals.
We put the spotlight on our experts, sharing their expertise and helping them get seen, found, and talked about.
We foster intelligent conversation among like-minded individuals, for collaboration, and network-building.
We curate freelance and remote work opportunities. As well as the latest tips, tools, and hacks for remote teams.
We inspire our community to focus on achieving the success, happiness, and balance they want in life.