Thoughts

Been feeling various things in recent days.

Some days, I feel really driven about something, and want to spend all my waking hours, reading on it, learning all about it, telling the world about it.

Some days, I’m just totally exhausted, not willing to face the world.

Some days, I feel more than a little depressed, misunderstood & ready to fight, wishing the ground opens up & I just disappear away.

In other words, depending on what day / time it is, the people around me will see different sides of me. And they are not pretty.

For some years now, I have been on a personal journey to focus on what’s important to me, and live a life that I want.

The various coaching programs I took have been really awesome – they certainly took me on a trajectory in life which I could not have imagined just 3 years back.

Of late though, I feel that I have been slipping back to my unconscious self, one where I’m more guarded and wary.

I decided to write this note as I feel that what helps me to keep out of a mental whirlppol is the awesome bunch of people in my life. These are people who I may have known for quite some time, or people who I just got to know. These people remind me of life truths, help me experience the world with different eyes, and help re-open my mind to possibilities. These people know me for who I am, and understand what internal fights I undergo to keep moving forward.

No matter the time or day, when barriers seem insurmountably high, these people are just a call or email away. They listen and work with me on what I need – a listening ear, a sounding board, a road map, a gentle reminder that I can choose to overcome internal barriers.

While most people see situations and work on the symptoms, these people help me understand where the source of problems is, and help me look deeper into aspects of life that’s not working.

To these people, thank you.

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Taking action. Small boy, big impact.

I was really impressed by what I read in the news today… The idea itself is not new for I have heard quite a few people say they want to start collecting recyclable items in their blocks… but how many have actually started to do so? Most times, I would hear a lot of arguments for & against such an idea, and then all goes quiet…
This little boy wakes up at 5am (wow), goes to different apartments to collect recycling bags (wow wow), puts them in a recycling bin which his dad wheels are him (wow x3), sorts out the items (wow x4), have breakfast and head off to pre-school (he is only 6!).

He may be small, but he is making a big impact! Check out this link – he has inspired 9 other children in his estate to pick up recycling items; a flea market where neighbours sold items to one another; and got many people talking about the project.

link to Straits Times news article

Reflection & insights

The visual image I see in my head was a car. I was driving. Pass a series of junctions, into a long dark tunnel, and coming to a stop eventually. But what I actually went through is something far more mundane. And nothing to do with driving. I was working late, rushing out some map because I will be on leave the next day, and missed the chance of being present at an event I that wanted to go to. And as much as I want to say that stopping the car felt awesome (because that was what I focused on), it wasn’t. I emerged energy depleted, in need of rest, no longer capable of meeting the needs of my own, let alone others.

The week had started out quite differently. I had a few friends asking me if I was available to assist in some events, all focused in the areas of personal growth.

I promised a lady friend that I would support her in an event on Saturday afternoon. There was some mis-communication along the way, but I realised eventually that there would be a pre-event alignment meeting for the team on Thursday evening. The timing clashed with the other event I wanted to go support. I had volunteered to support in curating their future events, and really wanted to be there. I can’t really explain why but volunteering for this other event felt like a personal bucket list kind of thing. So, rather reluctantly, I said I couldn’t make it for the team meeting (and hence, couldn’t support the friend in her Saturday event also).

So, I had every intention to go for this other event. It starts 7pm and ends 10pm, or so I had registered it in my calendar.

There-in lies the first fault line – my thinking that since the event is 3hrs long, I can miss the first bit and still manage to attend a large portion of the event. My rationale was I was rushing to complete work and I could finish in the next 10-30 mins anyway. The rush was because the work needed to be done by Friday, and I took my Fridays off. I planned nothing concrete really for Friday but I was determined not to work on my off day (a side-effect of having worked without rest days for 3 weeks that did have a couple of public holidays in between).

There were bus shuttles from the office building till 7pm. I missed all of them. I saw my team mates leaving, but didn’t follow them.

A friend who was attending the event messaged me. She wanted to save me a seat. Within a few minutes, the seat was taken for she didn’t know when I would arrive.

By 8.30pm or earlier. I replied eventually. I was almost done! I knew I could make it.

9pm. Emails sent. Shutting down computers… The work was complete for the day even though it was not perfect. If I tried to perfect the results, it will be midnight before I left the office!

Then came a message from my friend. The event was over, and the crowd needed to clear out by 9.30pm.

Sucks…………………………

I felt really deflated when I realised I missed the event I really wanted to go to. I was exhausted already from working and staring at the screen all day, but emotionally I was sinking too…

I saw how my choices, or rather the lack of making a self-empowering one, led to how things ended up. On the surface, I was delivering results on time, so that my colleagues can follow up on it when I am away. At a deeper level, I was neglecting accountability to myself. The things I feel are important fall alongside when work comes along – even though in the last couple of years, work is no longer the number 1 priority in my life. Or has it returned to what it was before? The state before I embarked on my personal growth journey?

The tunnel vision of simply seeing only 1 route ahead (completing work and then going to the event) meant that I didn’t stop to think clearly, and couldn’t see how else I could have delivered results at work, and still be able to attend 1 or both events that I felt are important to me.

I saw, only after all this, that I could have folded all 3 together.

  • take the 5.15pm bus shuttle
  • attend 1st event till 8.20pm latest
  • attend 2nd event till 10.20pm latest (this require some pre-planning, but can be done if I had a strong intention, and was really internally motivated with a strong belief that I could and want to do so)
  • wake up early on Friday
  • work for a couple of hours or even less
  • enjoy the rest of Friday!

I feel that I keep facing this dilemma on how to meet the demands of work, personal space and growth on a regular basis nowadays.

The experiences we have in life keep repeating itself in patterns – until we learn the lesson they bring, integrate it in who we are and what we do, and move on.

So, apparently I had not learnt the lesson well. Rather than to live in fear that the lesson will swing by again unannounced, here are some little reminders for myself and anyone interested:

– quiet space for clarity in thinking, and being open to possibilities (apart from what I already see as “truth”)
– pen down the list of things that are important to me
– how it is important to me that I focus time and energy on them?
– what are the potential conflicts that can come up in trying to focus on them at the same time?
– how can I create an environment that is conducive for meeting the needs of the top 3 items on my list?

A night walk amongst the mangroves

I had this wonderful opportunity of walking amongst the mangroves in near darkness this evening. With me were little children and their parents, and our guide.

A little girl behind me held her breath in excitement. “I want to come back again to see the fire flies,” she told her mum who was carrying her.

Right in front of us were 2 lone fire flies, dancing in the darkness. What a beautiful sight, made more beautiful with the words and expressed delight of this little girl.

As we made our way down the boardwalk, we saw more of such fire flies dancing away in the distance. One crossed our path, it was so close that we could have reached out and touched it.

In this same walk, we saw other animals. One other animal that caught my eye were the dog-faced water snakes that waited for their prey along the banks of the mangrove streams. There was also a tree-climbing crab that disappeared into a tree hole when we came along. “Be quiet, and keep the torches off”, it seemed to say. “Be invisible if you want to observe the nocturnal world for what it is.”

bruschetta

Decided to try making bruschetta after being inspired by a simple recipe posted on Facebook. Still feeling full hours after the early breakfast!

Here’s my simple little recipe to be improved upon:

– 2 slices of sprouted wholemeal bread
– toast for a minute
– drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, and a bit of pepper
– add tomato chunks
– add cheese
– add chia seeds
– toast for another 9 mins
– enjoy!

Was busy with other things so the bread tips were a bit toasted

bruschetta

bruschetta

The Young Cheetah – A Story About the Voices That Influence Us

Better Life Coaching Blog

Who do you have speaking into your life?  Voices that question your capabilities, or voices that encourage you to greatness? Who do you have speaking into your life? Voices that question your capabilities, or voices that encourage you to greatness?

A young cheetah had just left home and was setting out to hunt for the first time.

As he prowled the savannah looking for potential prey, a hyena saw him and asked what he was doing.

“I’m going hunting,” the cheetah said proudly.

“What?  You?” the hyena sneered, “You’re too small and inexperienced, you’ll never catch anything!”

Demoralised, the young cheetah wandered around aimlessly for the rest of the day without success and went hungry.

The next morning, the cheetah headed out to hunt again, hoping that he would be more successful this time, but not overly optimistic.

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Fishball Story

Of the people I heard speak on a stage tonight, one person stood out. His name is Douglas, and he is 23. He makes fishball noodles at a hawker market, and is a very dedicated and passionate one at that. He shared that he learnt to make fishballs from his grandmother so that he could enjoy them every day, and then thought why not step up & sell them at a hawker centre because fishball and hawker food are very much our national heritage? Even as he spoke of the many challenges he faced in the last 7 months as a hawker (e.g. young hawkers have no subsidy and are less likely to get good stall locations), his words and energy were brimming with passion. He needed no slides or photos to capture his audience’s attention. The photos in this blog look really yum – must go support his food one of these days.