Category Archives: Writing

A Solitary Day

Just one of many much needed ones.

 

 

 

A friend and I were talking the other day about how, as introverts and sensitives, we really need our quiet and alone time, but even then we have a threshold. Try going a week or more without meetups with close friends or without any meaningful human interaction, and even the most introverted person I know would start looking through their whatsapp chats to see which friend they can ask out.

So as I post this and think about how much I need and love the solitude in my life, I am also fully appreciative and thankful for the people who make my life this much more meaningful.

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Healing Conversations

Meeting up with a long-time friend last night after a period of hiatus offered me some new insights and perspectives on being in this world.

I told her that our meetup was very healing for me, for reasons I couldn’t quite articulate in the moment myself. “I don’t know… It just felt healing… on a deeper level.” I replied when she asked how was it healing.

It was only after some reflection and processing this afternoon that I think I came to some sort of explanation…

See, in my relationship with myself, I think I am at the stage where I can comfortably switch between roles, act them out accordingly, and give myself time and space to recharge, thereby reconnecting with myself, and maintaining authenticity and a relatively authentic relationship with myself. I may not always want to be outgoing and spontaneous, but if my job requires it I am able to tell myself that there is meaning in doing this, so let’s do it, and most of the time I am able to make peace with the different roles I have to play in daily life.

But, in my relationship with the world, I don’t think I always have this harmony or peace. In fact, there may be times when I might actually resent and blame the world for all my painful, conflicting emotions, my struggles with unworthiness and inferiority and inadequacy. While I can forgive myself for having to act inauthentically at times, I may not always forgive the world, that which has forced me to act in this way and which has imposed these struggles upon me (at least that’s how I see it).

And thus, having friends who represent a facet of that world, showing me that it is possible for at least a small part of that external world to understand, to not judge, to really LISTEN, to validate and see me for who I am, without expecting me to change to meet their expectations…

This longtime friend was just that, and I think that’s why and where I found healing.

Thank you πŸ™‚

The Inevitable

As I mused to someone before… We who tend to be easily affected by the opinions of others and who hold ourselves to high expectations would likely carry these traits with us wherever we go.

So no matter which job you do, which country you move to, it’s probably unlikely that you’d be able to get away from yourself.

Which is why, as always, the most important work has to be done within.

Stop the Worry Fest

 

Picture/ Post Inspiration Source: Be More With Less

Worry – the double-edged sword of my life. The edge that makes me strive for perfectionism, that makes me want to do things well, that makes me strive on and forward. And the other edge – the sleepless nights, the overwhelming thoughts, the sometimes irrational fears.

It has always been a see-saw ride of sorts, and recently I’ve felt that the other edge has been, well, having more of an edge. And this quote came at quite the right moment – how something ends up never depends on how much you worry about it.

After a familiar sleepless Sunday night, and a day after in which most of my worries didn’t materialise, or at least weren’t as bad as I thought, I really thought I wanted to stop this worry fest tendency once and for all.

Easier said than done, of course. But I guess this reminder is a good place to start. How something ends up never depends on how much you worry about it.

Free From Ego

A recent read (this) led me to contemplate about how much I let my ego get in the way of the things I do .

“Over-investing your ego in your results is unproductive and unnecessary. If you think the failure of your ideas is a personal failure, you’ll take too few risks, risks that could ultimately pay off. But if you can learn to separate yourself from your ideas and your work and see them as something separate from yourself, you’ll feel you truly have the right to be wrong.” – Steve Pavlina

I thought this was really poignant because it very closely describes and articulates why I fear failure so much. Why I even fear responsibility to a certain extent, because with more responsibility it means that there is also a greater chance of… you guessed it, failing.

Recently, as a member of a local professional body, I was tasked to help out with editing of the association’s newsletter. It was a job I thought I’d be well-suited to do. I’m generally organized, communicate well with people through emails, and make sure everyone keeps to their deadlines to make sure the publication makes it out in and on time.

What I did not forsee was… when the time came for final rounds of edits to be made and a few colleagues kindly offered to help me look through the publication one more time, I was aghast to find that… there were MORE things to change. Things I had not noticed were inconsistent, things I had not thought of looking at until they were pointed out to me. The horror. It totally collided with my view of myself as an organised, on-top-of-everything, time-keeping freak.

Then I came across the podcast/article on OLD, and the quote above, in particular, struck a deep chord with me. I had been over-invested in my ego when I accepted the role, that was clear enough to see. And because of that, I linked discrepancies and perceived lapses in the job as personal failures, as personal flaws. When it does not have to be this way. It could be simply a job everyone is tackling together, for the ultimate goal of getting the publication out.

And when I think deeper, I see how much I have learnt from placing myself out there, from accepting that I have missed out these details, and from re-organizing my perspective so that I look out for such things better in future projects. Without being “wrong”, or flawed, I would not have had the valuable learning experience.

And now I have a beautiful, wonderful opportunity to work on something for self-improvement: To do my work wholeheartedly without necessarily seeing them as an all-encompassing part of who I am. The work may fail, we may stumble and trip and fall along the way, but it need not define who we are πŸ™‚ Yay for that.

 

On a separate note, it’s off to Bali for the mother and me for the next 5 days. Perfect time for rest, reflection and recharge!

Happy Non-Teacher’s Day

This year, I celebrate my identity as a non-teacher.

On the Wednesday of the last week of August, as schools around the island closed for half a day to celebrate and honour their teachers, I reflected on my identity of not being one.

I looked at instagram posts by ex-colleagues and friends, sharing their proud moments, their pile of letters and gifts from students, being award titles like “Most Caring” or “Most Inspiring”. I looked at them and I felt a little tug. I could have been one of them. I WAS one of them.

What was that tug? Jealousy? Nostalgia? The longing for something you think you might like but know that you would not want it so much once you have got your hands on it?

Maybe a mixture of all of the above.

As I contemplated my mixed feelings on a day I had always had mixed feelings about (because I was never fully secure in my identity as a teacher), I also contemplated on the person I am now.

I thought about the decision I made to leave a particular system, though I realise now that leaving the system does not necessarily mean leaving the identity completely. So many aspects of who I am now and what I do as a music therapist still manifest from the teacher in me, just in a different context and in a different industry, with different goals and intentions.

And as I told a comrade, “the institution we left has its own system of rewards to get us to do what they want. Because we have opted out of that system, it means that we may not get those rewards, but it also means we are spared from the confines of that system.”

And that is certainly something to celebrate. Because freedom to be who you are and to relate to your authentic personality in what you do is something priceless. Certainly not something you can measure in gifts and awards and letters, no matter how heartfelt and touching and affirming they are.

That said, I was very touched by the call from 2 ex-students. It’s always nice to be remembered.

So… on a day when I would have celebrated (or tried to celebrate) my identity as a teacher, I instead contemplated on who I am, who I want to be. And relished in the freedom of being able to do so.