Tag Archives: life

Walk in Courage

About a month back, I made the decision not to go for a fancy (read: hotel, dress up, lucky draw, performances, 10-course meal) staff dinner, making the time instead for myself.

This post is to remind myself – what a good and courageous decision that was.

Well done, you.

 

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Liberation from Fear

From the one and only Mandela, who certainly had plenty to fear in his life.

As I reflect on this quote, one particular fear that I’ve always carried around comes to mind: The fear of judgement from others.

In a recent MBCT session, we were asked to write down a possible stress/depression trigger. I wrote:

“When I feel that others are watching and grading the quality of what I do”. 

What sort of thoughts run through your mind then?

“They can tell I’m acting. They will be able to tell I’m not that good. They’ll be able to tell I’m trying to fake it. They’ll see me for who I really am, with my weaknesses and all. I won’t be liked as much after this.” 

What happens in your body?

“Lightheaded. Heart racing. Adrenaline rush.”

What do you feel like doing (after)?

“Tell a trusted friend about it. Pray. Seek validation from myself or from others. Journal about it. Process. Change environment so that I can get a different perspective on the experience (and I usually do, thankfully).” 

Are there any old habits of thinking or behaviour that might unwittingly keep you stuck in feelings of depression or stress?

“Replaying the scene in my head, over and over again.” 

 

While I was told that I have pretty good coping mechanisms, it doesn’t change the fact that we will still face plenty of scenarios in life that would make us fearful. Slowly, I see how our way of BEING (being mindful, being aware of our old thought habits which may be unhealthy) can affect the way we DO things, and that in turn might have an effect on how we are SEEN. While changing our behaviour to cater to the approval of others is never a good idea, we ourselves would certainly benefit from a better quality of doing, doing from a place of non-fear.

And who wouldn’t benefit from a presence of non-fear?

Glimpses of Perfection

This thought came to me one day, when I was contemplating about my relationship with perfection. How it is my motivation and yet my bane. How it brings me so much pleasure yet suffering.

And I thought: Maybe this is simply the way life is. All we will ever have are glimpses of perfection. To expect Perfection to be a constant state would be the same as a person wanting to live forever. It simply does not happen that way. The roller coaster of Life simply does not function according to such laws.

So yes, all we might ever have, even after endless striving, may just be glimpses of perfection. But knowing that that is ok, that it is normal, might be just the key to contentment and peace 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.

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.