Category Archives: Life

Still Alive, Still Thinking Too Much

I was preparing my bullet journal for August and it suddenly hit me that we are officially in the second half of 2020…

And things are not getting better.

They do not look like they’re going to get better any time soon.

They might even get worse.

And it sounds like a cliched, pathetic attempt to say this, but I guess all we can do is to find what beauty and joy we can in the moment.

 

Something that has been tugging my inner guilt strings – the fact that I am not working full-time at the moment. A recent email exchange with one of the places where I provide services informed me that they still have a “no visitor” policy, which I understand as totally valid and needed.

What surprised me was the sense of relief I felt upon hearing that.

And following that, guilt.

I feel guilty that I feel relieved that I have a legit reason not to be working full time right now.

If that makes sense.

In relation to that, I’ve been thinking a lot (probably too much) about our society and expectations and the social constructs of “full time” vs “part time” work, at least in this part of the world.

For example, why do we feel that someone needs a good, valid reason to be working “part time” (kids, caregiving duties, disability, etc)? I can only imagine the “oh ok…..”s should I tell people that I choose to work “part time” because I enjoy having time for myself, because I feel the stimulation of working “full time” to be too much, because “part time” allows me the balance of being meaningfully engaged without being drained, with enough time to recharge and sustain (ie: Reasons that potentially sound selfish and … *gasp*… lazy) …

Having said all that, I understand that being able to choose this “part time” option without too much stress and worry about finances is a luxury, and that many would probably choose this option if only their commitments and responsibilities allow them to do so.

Which then spirals me into another cycle of guilt for seemingly having it easier than others…

 

 

 

Enhanced Measures

Collective grieving is taking place.

We are grieving the loss of normalcy, the loss of the lives we could be living.

Even though the period of these measures is supposed to last only a month, I think there’s a part of us that says: “What if?”

What if it lasts more than a month?

What if it becomes a full-blown lockdown?

What if this never ends?

What if we never know “normal” as we once did again?

And so we do what any human being with feelings would do.

We grieve.

Slow and Steady

As I sat down for lunch, I noticed this little guy was at the bottom of the wall. He hardly seemed to be moving, if at all.

About 10 minutes later, I looked in his direction and saw that he had made it this far. Wow, that was fast, I thought.

At the end of my lunch, as I was packing to go off, I took one more look at him and saw that he had made it to the top of the wall, and seemed to have reached his destination among the bushes.

Slow and steady. You will make it.

Dark Over Light, Light Over Dark

I’d like the light to win over dark, of course. But sometimes resistance is futile (and tiring) and you just have to accept that the dark is stronger for now and sitting over the light.

And that you can step back and look at the colours flow and overlap with each other. Which can be quite an aesthetically pleasing sight.

And remember that it could always be worse.

It could be totally black, without any other colours at all. At least now I can still see the colours and I know they’re there.

Essentialism – Saying No.

So I recently read this book:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

In a nutshell – how to discriminate between the vital few in a society which glorifies the trivial many. How to make choices that will advance our agenda (provided that we know what we want in the first place), and allow us to focus our limited energy and resources on aspects of our lives where we can make the highest quality of contribution.

Needless to say, achieving the above consists of a fair bit of saying no.  And not long after I had finished the book,  I had the chance to practice some of the principles almost immediately.

A call from a respected person in my circle came: Would I like to perform with them in front of some Minister for some Chinese New Year event on the following Sunday?

There are several issues I have with their request.

  • Firstly, Performing = Dressing up, putting on makeup, making small talk before and after, waiting for long hours just for that few minutes on stage – all of which are not quite at the top of my favourite things to do.
  • Secondly, Sunday = My day of rest (which obviously does not include the activities stated above). That Sunday also happened to be the day when I had arranged for Skype supervision from Sydney – and I did not want to postpone it again.

 

So, my mind started going into overdrive, thinking how I was going to get out of this one in the most respectful, graceful way possible.

“Erm..That Sunday…”

“Why? Are you overseas? Not around?”

“No, I’m around. But, I have already made plans to skype someone that day… And it’s quite important.”

“Oh.”

I heard the disappointment, and it really disturbed me at first, to know that my response had been the cause of it. I had probably been expected to be really excited and thankful for the opportunity to perform at such a prestigious event, and to accept it immediately. My response must have been unexpected. Maybe ungrateful and rude, even.

But.

Now that I am able to look back on it, I feel only relief and pride. I maintained my boundaries respectfully and honestly. I made a choice that allowed me to direct my energy in an effective way, conserving it from being spent at an event that would probably have no long-lasting benefit on me or my life. They would probably think twice before asking/inviting me to another event or opportunity like this… and frankly I am perfectly fine even if they never consider me again.

I’m glad I said no. 

Rest

So for the first time in my life, I am actually not doing something fully.

For a month or so, at least, I am working… *gasp* part-time.

To be honest this was something that would never have come to me as a feasible idea.

Work part-time? And have… all that free time?! Apart from weekends?! And take home less pay than I already am making?!

But once I made the decision, it felt so right, so why-didn’t-I-do-this-earlier.

“Finally!” I could hear my body saying. “I’ve been trying to tell you for so long!”

OK, buddy. I’m listening to you now.

 

On the first weekday I did not have to go to work, I found the time and motivation to finish an online course I had been putting off. I enjoyed a slow leisurely lunch with the brother. I went cycling and soaked in some Vitamin D and produced some endorphins. The exercise was so beneficial that I felt motivated for the first time in 2 months to compose new musical ideas for sessions! Then I cried and used it as a wonderful opportunity to practice self-compassion.

 

I have no idea what will happen from here.

But let’s see where this journey is going 🙂

India 2018

I learnt that everything can look the same on the outside but the weight you carry around can really make a difference to how you see the world.

On good days I would be present. On not-so-good days it feels like everything is seen through a fog. Like I’m there but… not really there.

Does that make sense?

Expectations were another thing I had to grapple with.

I guess I had gone on this trip with the expectation that everything would be solved. That the weight would lift, that I would be able to move on with life as before again.

It can be dangerous to have expectations. Because it means you’re setting yourself up for greater disappointment and despair.

So I learnt that it’s probably better to have more realistic expectations, especially where human emotions are concerned, and that maybe, there are just some things in life we have to go through.

And these things are shitty and feel horrible and confusing but –

if I could just pull through, I know something will come out of it. Something has to.

I refuse to go through all these in vain.

Today I am Thankful for:

  • Friends and people who have been there for me through the past few months
  • The fact that I live in a country where I am able to get access to therapy services and health care
  • The awareness I have over my feelings and bodily sensations
  • The ability to FEEL.
  • My morning routine.
  • The desire to stick to my morning routine, even when I don’t feel like it.
  • The ability to look towards the future.
  • Having made it to 2019.
  • A world with music, books and cats.

 

Shopping and Inner Voices

On the most normal and mundane of days, I do not enjoy shopping as a recreational activity to begin with. But sometimes, I indulge in it when I’m with friends. During which I would walk around with them and inwardly gasp at how expensive our consumerist society is, while keeping up a conversation of sorts as they browse the racks. As long as it’s not for too long a period, as long as I feel we’re still making some meaningful connection – I’m fine.

But yesterday, a mere 20-minute walk around the shops transformed into Battle of the Inner Voices.

What’s the point of doing this.

She wants to shop, its her day off, just walk around with her for awhile.

Yes but what’s the point. Of all this. Of life. 

Let’s not go there. Just walk. 

Ok now she’s talking to you. Smile and say something appropriate.

Ok. Why do I always have to feel like I have to put on a mask?

You don’t. You’re choosing not to let her know how you’re feeling inside.

That’s because I don’t think she’d understand. And it’d just make everyone uncomfortable. Putting on a mask is easier. 

So don’t complain. 

I’m not complaining. I’m just trying to articulate what I’m feeling.

So what are you feeling? In the body?

There’s that weight in my chest. The foggy feeling. The feeling like something is wrong with me.

Ok just note it and let it be. It is what it is.

Smile, Smile. 

I’m trying. Why is this so hard. What’s the point, again?

It’s ok, you’re doing the best you can.

If I were better I wouldn’t be feeling this way. 

It’s not your fault, just note the sensations and let them be. See where it takes you.

It’s just… there. Where is it going? What if it stays there forever and never gets better?

You don’t know that. Just breathe mindfully. 

I can’t wait to get home and cry.