When the pandemic happened, to my own surprise, I was very calm. I had no fear of the virus at all. I had turned a once doomed, cursed life into a blessed, magical life after realizing that my mental illness was a divine gift.
This unusual circumstance has made me see a unique opportunity to explore a different possibility of living — a creative, responsible, accountable way of life. One that is centered beyond being the usual individualistic style but a way of living that is more focused on communal wellness and nurturing the communal spirit.
When the quarantine period started, I decided to use the restaurant (van Gogh is Bipolar or vGiB) that I run as an open kitchen where nutritious food is served for free for the vulnerable individuals and disadvantaged communities around the city. I know that one of the greatest weapons that we can create to combat any health issue and concern is an optimized immune system.
It was a very natural response on my part since, for the longest time, I have lived a lifestyle of consuming living food as medicine. And providing service to the community came naturally as well since van Gogh is Bipolar has already been serving free food for street children and other people who live in the streets for the past few years.
Since I extended my service and opened my kitchen to the communities around Metro Manila, I started receiving more support from compassionate and generous individuals. They would send fresh veggies and rice for me to cook, prepare, and later distribute around the city.
As someone who has experienced, overcome and managed mental illness, this challenging situation has greatly further brought me to understand and know who and what I am in a deeper and greater sense. It showed me my strength and, at the same time, it also showed me the areas that needed more light, compassion, and understanding.
“ This pandemic, from my own perspective, is a great unifier and has brought the greatest qualities of humanity. ”
The pandemic has taught me to remain kind and gentle to myself, to continue embracing all my fears and anxieties with love, and extending great compassion to everyone around me.
Living in the city alone and away from my family has made me more responsible and accountable for my own decisions and actions.
My life experience as someone who used to believe that life on earth is one hell of a ride now shares the possibility of experiencing heaven here on earth.
This pandemic, from my own perspective, is a great unifier and has brought the greatest qualities of humanity. Because of this, I am greatly inspired to be part of this compassionate spirit of humanity, and it has made me realize that everyone is capable of bringing light and creating a difference for the highest goodness of life around us.
This has fueled me more to continually extend myself to live in my own unique way and capabilities.
“ If there is one great lesson that I received from the current challenging times, it is that “Love in Action” makes this world a safer place to live in. It connects us all. It makes us remember that we are one family. ”
I made a post on the vGiB page and gave away my number so that people who are undergoing severe depression and chronic anxiety and are in need of food may request and send me a message. And that I am willing to bring the food to their doorsteps personally. I also promised to keep their identities anonymously.
Riding on my bicycle and bringing food around the community was the best feeling ever. I felt so alive! It brought me so much joy that any remaining fear from my body has totally melted away. There was so much love and freedom pulsating from life itself.
This experience is humbling and yet empowering.
If there is one great lesson that I received from the current challenging times, it is that “Love in Action” makes this world a safer place to live in. It connects us all. It makes us remember that we are one family.
As I always say on my Facebook posts: “We continue being each other’s home.”
Edited by Büm Tenorio Jr.