Encouragement Gives Life!

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Posted June 7, 2018 from Philippines

After calculating the risks, and weighing the pros and cons, I decided to leave my adventurous world in the development work to become a fulltime mother. I felt it is the best decision to make given the circumstances we had as a family.

So just as I said goodbye to the dynamic, impactful, and exciting job, I said hello to the routinary yet demanding, mundane, albeit fulfilling, world of childcare and housework.

Being a stay-at-home mother can be rewarding, but along with it are the unspoken difficulty of being with the children for 24/7. It sometimes felt like being trapped inside a house while my adventure-seeking self seemed deprived of creating impact to society.

There were times I missed the community visits where I trekked mountain trails, crossed rivers, rode different types of motorcycles along life-threatening terrains. I also missed facilating trainings, conducting community meetings, participating in social issues and discussions, and so on. 

Now I am changing diapers, preparing meals, deciphering different types of cries,  cleaning after my boys' mess and so on.

These are not a big deal if I live in the place where we have a support system. But since we transferred to a new city with a dialect I am slow to learn, it can be downright isolating. 

The only adult conversation I can engage with is my husband.

Joining World Pulse changed it all. 

It was my friend Dyan Mabunga, a human rights activist and a gifted writer, who encouraged me to join. We communicate through social media. I asked her what topics do women write about, she said, " A spectrum of topics".

 I created an account in World Pulse on December last year. I began to explore the site. I was intimidated at first as I scanned the stories of women and their contributions to their communities. I thought this isn't a place for a nonworking mother like me. I pondered there isn't much I can contribute to this online community for I already left the development world.

While browsing on my newly set up profile, I  saw the "Become an Encourager" button. I was curious on what were the requirements, then I thought I can do this. I love to encourage people! 

As a World Pulse encourager, I set aside time to check my assignments. I was new to this so I would comment a sentence or two. I was unsure if I was doing it right.

When I wrote my first post on World Pulse about surviving a storm, I did not expect to receive such love and comfort from women all over the world. It brought so much joy and affirmation. 

When I got awarded as a Featured Storyteller, I received more support. I treasure every word. They all felt great. I realized my story matters after all. I received empathy, encouragement and empowerment. I felt validated, vindicated even.

Those encouragements empower me, from then on I took my role as an encourager seriously. I began to read more stories, more than the assignments given to me, because just as I felt LOVED when I was heard and accepted, I wanted my sisters, especially the new ones, to experience the same.    

The irony is that as I read our sisters' stories from all over the world, I am encouraged and inspired as well. ALWAYS!

Each story brings value to me. I learn something new about a place, a family, a culture, a community, an organization, and a sister herself. It makes me reflect on my personal journey, and how I can turn my personal traumas and wounds into life-giving ones, and how can I make use of my skills and resources to help my own community. It makes me admire what a woman can achieve to bring about societal change. Surely, there is nothing a World Pulse sister can't do.

And although my husband seems silent in this online space, he checks World Pulse regularly, read stories ahead of me, then tells me, 

" Dear, this post has only one (or two or few) encouragement/s. Encourage her." OR

"Dear, this post has no encouragement at all. Encourage her." I would then gladly oblige!

From being an encourager, I have form connections with other World Pulse sisters where we send regular updates in private messages and emails. I feel alive and doing something worthwhile in the small corners of my temporary home.

In my mundane stay-at-home-mom world, I found a purpose by being an online support to women. I may not be able to give much, but being an "online listener" or confidante can ease a burden of two. I am learning from their experiences, too. This season while I'm "stuck" at home I get to reflect on what advocacy or social change I want to pursue when my sons are independent enough, and when I can finally go back to serve communities.

In World Pulse I found a space to be relevant and create positive impact just by giving encouragement, sending love, and sharing stories.

Life is hard. Every woman -- single or married, menstruating or menopausal, stay-at-home or working mom, young or old, rich or poor, sick or healthy, schooled or uneducated --  face challenges. 

Sometimes, we have bad moments that at the end of the day, we feel beaten up. It is in those moments we need a tap on the shoulder, a hand to hold, a heart who loves, and words that say, 

" I see you", 

"You got this", 

"I believe in you",

"I am proud of you!",

"Congratulations!"

"I've been there, too".

"I'm so sorry you are going through this",

"You inspire me!"

" I'm praying for you!"

"Let me hug you!"

Or even, 

" I'm in tears...I don't know what to say."

These words give life. 

There are so many factors that could pull us down. But words of encouragement go a long way. It did to me.

Thank you to every World Pulse sister who took time to give me encouragements. It is because of you that I found confidence in telling more stories and, to be honest, pursue writing.

Allow me to give a shoutout to two of the regular encouragers I come across with, Olutusin and Jill (Jlanghus). I aspire to be a regular encourager like the two of you. Thank you for being great examples!

To the rest of the WP encouragers, I honor you, too. I know you have your own personal struggles to deal with, but you take time to encourage and become online cheerleaders!

To the rest of the WP sisters, you can be encouragers, too. We may not be physically helping one another, but we can bring support to one another through our empathy, encouragement and empowerment. We may not know how many women's live can change with our words, or how many projects will blossom through our support. Encouraging words give life!

World Pulse is a safe space where  digital technology strengthens and even immortalizes the women legacy.

Let us encourage women! Let us be, as Olutusin says, our sisters' keepers! 

This post was submitted in response to Transmitting Change.

Comments 28

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jlanghus
Jun 07, 2018
Jun 07, 2018

Hi Karen,

Thanks for sharing your awesome, eloquently-as-always written story on your experience of leaving your fulfilling career and on becoming a WP Encourager. I love how much value you have gotten out of becoming an Encourager and your forum commentary/feedback is so invaluable to WP. I'm so glad we met and have become great confidantes/friends/sisters. I love Olutosin's saying, too, that we are our "sisters' keepers." I hadn't heard that yet:) I will remember it always. Hope you have a great day!

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 07, 2018
Jun 07, 2018

Hello, Jill,

Reading our sisters' experiences is like a friend listening to their updates. Connecting with you all is my form of social life (for now). It uplifts me, too.

I am happy that I met you here, and even more happier that we write and update each other regularly. I am honored to get to know you deeper in our correspondence. And opening up to you has been beneficial for me, too.

Thank you, Jill. I value our new found friendship. If there is one new thing I am attracting at this moment, it is to meet you in person someday, whether in Spain or in the Philippines or elsewhere! Yeah, that would be nice!

Yes, Olutusin commented being a sisters' keeper on one of my posts.

Thanks again for your kind words, Jill!

jlanghus
Jun 09, 2018
Jun 09, 2018

Hello there:) Ha. It's my social life, too!

Oh, that would be awesome. Let's make it an intention and goal to meet up... it will happen:)

You're welcome, power sister. Namaste!

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

Oh yes! Let's plan for it then.

Namaste, power sister!

jlanghus
Jun 12, 2018
Jun 12, 2018

:-)

Urmila Chanam
Jun 07, 2018
Jun 07, 2018

Dear Encourager,

About 14 years ago when I was changing diapers, planting potatoes in my kitchen garden and applied face powder and lipstick maybe once a year because that was how rare my social events were back then, I never knew the days of child care and at-home experiences will one day bring in me a unique sensitivity to the demands on a woman's time and energy in households. Your situation will change with passing time. Enjoy this phase because it will never come back and this will never be wasted on a reflective person as you. I joined work again after my daughter turned 3 and worked for orphaned and vulnerable children, children living with HIV/AIDS and street children for several years in m career. What set me apart from many others was my own experiences and collective emotions. I wish you all the best dear Encourager.

Much love and hugs
Urmila Chanam
urmila.chanam@yahoo.com

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 07, 2018
Jun 07, 2018

Dear Urmila,

I have been following your Breaking the Silence campaign, and I commend your passion to visit remote areas in india to raise awareness on women's health particulary their menstrual cycles.

I am humbled that you took time to read my post. To receive such heartfelt encouragement from you and to know that you had been in this journey, too, is (again) empowering!

A million thanks to you, dear sister. I treasure your words. I have something to look forward to in the future. I hope one day we could meet, too!

Tarke Edith
Jun 07, 2018
Jun 07, 2018

Exactly sister Karen ,when one is encouraged he or she has sternt or the power to move forward .hi sister you have impressed me alot

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 07, 2018
Jun 07, 2018

Hello, Sister Edith,

Your entrepreneurship journey has inspired me. I am learning through your stories, too. Thank you for taking time to read. Hugs. I hope to meet you someday!

Tarke Edith
Jun 08, 2018
Jun 08, 2018

Yes sister Karen l really.wish to meet you too for l know l can learn more from you l wish you the beast today sister

Suh Diviner
Jun 08, 2018
Jun 08, 2018

Hi Karen,
I am very pleased with your story. Every sentence just kept me wanting to read more from you.
Just as you received empathy and love from your first story,i am getting the same.
Yes i feel intimidated and challenged by stories written by old members one of which are yours. I keep asking myself if i can write as you do.
I feel changed by your words and inspired more by your stories.
Encouraging words give life indeed.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 08, 2018
Jun 08, 2018

Hello, Suh,

Thank you for reading this post. Yes, I felt intimidated at first. However, World Pulse is such a safe space to hone our writing skills. I am still on the process of honing this skill, so I am humbled by your words.

I love the way you write, too.

Just keep on writing. Soon enough you will discover your voice and your style. One day you will be a Featured Storyteller, too. Aim for it! I am proud of you already!

Suh Diviner
Jun 08, 2018
Jun 08, 2018

Thank you Karen.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

My pleasure, dear sis.

JulieG
Jun 08, 2018
Jun 08, 2018

Dear Karen,

I love this so much! Not only your writing about the joys and challenges of full time mothering (and leaving your career aside for an unknown period of time) but also the way you've described the rewards of encouragement on World Pulse (and in real life, too!) Thank you for the lift today, your words really warmed my heart.

Julie

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 08, 2018
Jun 08, 2018

Hello, Julie,

Reading our sisters' stories feels like I am on a global field trip. I get to imagine what it is like to live in their respective countries and to understand their culture. What amazes me is despite our differences, there are similarities in our aspirations, struggles and challenges as women. So it is cyclical when we encourage because we are encouraged as well.

Thank you for reading!

Princesse MUHINDO Malembero
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

Bonjour Karen,
Toute fière d'avoir partager votre histoire avec nous, membres worldpulse. J'espère que c'est une leçon si pas pour moi alors pour nos amies je prie à nos chères membres d'édifiés notre entourage par nos valeurs avec une une communauté saine et épanouie.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

Bonjour, Princesse,

I want to learn to speak French. It thrills me to receive an encouragent written in French!

Thank you for dropping by. Encouragement goes a long way. It is a fuel to a weary soul. I am happy that World Pulse is designed to encourage women.

Thank you, sister!

Adanna
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

Dear Karen,

I am really glad you joined World Pulse.

Your stories are encouraging and nice to know that your husband encourages you too.

I would love to see more sisters all over the world join World Pulse.

Love,
Adanna

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

Hello, Adanna,

Thank you for your kind words. I'm gld that you are here, too.

Yes, he does! In fact, he checks WP more often than I do. It does help to have a support system at home.haha.

Yes, same here. I am hoping every country in the world will be represented. I love how the women i Africa are so active here. I hope more women in Asia-Pacific would increase, too.

Keep in touch!

Karen

Funsola
Jun 16, 2018
Jun 16, 2018

Hi Karen, thank God you did not see your being a full time housewife as a limitation, you are a trailblazer. l love you. Will also love to encourage someone one day. Keep it up

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 11, 2018
Jul 11, 2018

Hello, Funsola,

Wow, I love the word "trailblazer". Thank you for your uplifting words. I love you, too, sister.

Yes, you can be part of the World Pulse encouragers. Please join us if you haven't yet. It is such a fulfilling experience. Let us encourage women!

chimdirimebere
Jun 20, 2018
Jun 20, 2018

Karen dear, I am so so so proud of you. Thank you for using your gift of encouraging others. I think it is a ministry that not too many people explore. We are in a hurting world where very few words can save a life from suicide and things like that. Being a full time mother is a sacrifice that will change the world of your children. Our children deserve more of our time than we presently give them. It is a worthwhile venture. God will surely reward your sacrifice!

Harriet

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 11, 2018
Jul 11, 2018

Hello, Harriet,

I almost cried reading your comment. This is a priceless treasure! THANK YOU soooooo much! You just encourage me right now (because even encouragers need to be encouraged, too.)

Yes, I believe it is a ministry, and I like that you see it that way. It affirms a calling. True, everyone is facing difficulties, we need more encouragement than criticism. Perhaps one person attempting to commit suicide just needs some encouragement to stop her/him from ending her/his life.

Thank for seeing value of my decision of being a stay-at-home mother. My time with my sons are truly priceless.

I love you, sister! Hugs.

leila Kigha
Jun 29, 2018
Jun 29, 2018

Thank you for sharing with us Karen.
It is encouraging too. The life of a full time mum and house wife is a very demanding one. For you to make time to still encourage sisters here on world pulse is so courageous of you.
Am glad you found something that makes you alive again.
Keep on keeping on sister.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 11, 2018
Jul 11, 2018

Hello, Leila,

The role is demanding indeed! I'm grateful for my husband for sharing the load of household chores from time to time. Because of that, I can spare a few minutes to encourage our World Pulse sisters.

The connection with you all is already an encouragement to me.

Thank you for your uplifting words, sister. Hugs.

Rosylyne Nabaala
Jun 30, 2018
Jun 30, 2018

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this. Yes we need to communicate with one another in every situation you need some body to share with what you are going through. Is true you can save a life by sharing. This is great.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 11, 2018
Jul 11, 2018

Hello, Rosylyne,

Life is tough especially for women. We need to draw strength from each other. WP is such a great place to find encouragement. You can be an encourager, too.

Thank you for reading! Hugs, sister.