Category Archives: Writing

Seek

It is ok

Even if your days look like endless walks

through the forests of your mind.

There is still beauty –

in the walking,

in the going on,

in the moving forward,

in the seeking for something you’re not quite sure you’re going to find.

There is still beauty in all of that.

 

 

 

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The Logic of Self-Care

I used to think that self-care was some sort of insurance or guarantee.

As long as I practice my self-care routines, set my boundaries, have enough time for my solitude and recharge, I will be fine. I will have problems and life will be shitty from time to time, BUT I will still be be able to go to work daily, make a living doing what I enjoy, while cultivating quality relationships with people important to me – AS LONG AS I PRACTICE SELF-CARE.

The equation has somewhat shifted.

I realise self-care is not something you do in order to prevent upheavals from happening to you.

Self-care is what you fall back on when the upheaval happens.

And I am thankful for the self-care routines and habits I had formed before to fall back on over the past few months – Habits, relationships, activities I do.

And now I am learning that I can try to do more to improve what I already have, so that I can grow in resilience and strength.

Her Singing Voice

We were singing the Goodbye Song when we heard it. Her singing voice.

She was going “baaaaaaii~~~!” at every “bye” in the Goodbye Song, while looking straight at me. It took me about 2 rounds of that to realise she was singing.

Before that session, I had only ever heard her vocalise and babble using her baby sounds. It was the first time I heard her use what seemed to be her singing voice – softer, more airy, not in tune but definitely higher than her usual vocal range, as if she was trying to hit a higher note. She seemed to know it was a long note at the end of the phrase, too. As her breath was sustained, the notes would spiral into a descending glissando. In the space in the music after each note, her contribution was mirrored musically, as a validation. To let her know: I can hear you, I can see you, and I am taking your lead in this music we are in together.

Can you imagine what it feels like to hear a child discover her voice for the first time?

It was beautiful.

Beyond the Tunnel

There is light
beyond the tunnel.
The traveller sees it.
There is light
but what lies beyond?
Unanswered questions.
Mysteries.
The uncertainty that breeds anxiety.
The traveller wants to reach the light,
yet is afraid to.
So it’s true
that sometimes
even the most distressing
and undesirable of circumstances
could become familiar and comforting pain
if endured long enough.
The traveller makes her decision
and takes another step forward.

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. 

Framing

Recent thoughts.

Who was I before all these happened?

What kind of person was I?

Optimistic? Sensitive? Accepting? Curious?

Am I still all those things?

I’d like to think I am.

And yet I have changed – and am still changing – on this journey through unchartered life territory.

This journey has allowed me to see myself through a different lens. It has made me realise I am more resilient than I think. It has helped me forge stronger relationships with my loved ones and friends, and helped think about how I would be a better friend or companion if someone around me were to face similar issues in future. It has enabled me to discover roots and inner resources I never knew I had or was capable of.

– John Green, “Turtles All The Way Down”

I didn’t decide what came into the picture of this life, but I’m glad I still get a say in which frames I want to use.

There are always choices.

Digging Deep

So recently I have been thinking.

About how I am still alive.

And how I have made it through all those times when I thought I would not be able to.

All those days when I don’t feel like I could get through but I did, one step at a time.

Looking back, I realise we really should not underestimate the power of the inner resources of a human being.

I realise we do have the capacity to dig deep, and sometimes deeper than we think we are capable of reaching.

When the circumstances call for it, we really can rise to the occasion. And in the process, develop and gain new skills and strengths.

I am thankful for my inner and external resources – everything and everyone that has helped me through thus far.

May the journey ahead be a smoother one.