Friday, December 31, 2010

Simple beauty

Beauty is such simple things in life like the frangipani that grows in the garden. We seek for exotic beauty often neglecting to appreciate the simple beauty of things around us.

Same attitude in our search for happiness. We travel far to seek for happiness when happiness in within our reach if only we pay attention.

May we all find happiness within our reach.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My yoga practice

I suddenly have the urge to want to do handstand.  That's coming from someone who could not touch her toes two years ago.

Walked into my first Bikram class not knowing what to expect and was hooked since then. It started with falling in love with the experience of shutting down the mind and focusing on my breathing for 90 minutes. Nothing else in the world matters other than just breathing, following the teacher's instruction and staying in the heated room. It was the only time I calm my mind.

There are still many postures in my Bikram practice I am struggling with. On some days, I cannot even manage the basic ones. Weird as it may sound, some postures that started quite easy grew difficult.  I recalled how I used to fear back-bend. I was scared. It was until one of the teachers who told me that back-bend is all about receiving love that I finally mustered the courage to give it a try. And the initial months of my attempt to do back-bend made me nausea.

Some days, I beat up myself for not perfecting many of the poses. Then I recalled how I started, a woman who could not even touch her toes. I have improved a lot since then. Instead of being too hard on myself, I simply have to practice and continue to believe in myself. Someday, I am sure I can do the handstand.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


"So, are you going to church?" is the question many people asked when I told them I celebrate Christmas.

I have not been to church for a while and have no plan to attend a mass just because it's Christmas. I do not care about impressing others to be seen in a church packed with worshippers. For me, Christmas like any festive season is about spending time with friends and family. It's about celebrating love across all denominations and culture.

My kids recognize Christmas as a special day where they get to spend time with the family. We put up the Christmas tree in November and buy cane candies. Christmas eve is dinner party at home with friends and family where they get to stay up late and eat chocolate cake. But they do not ask for Christmas presents. They are so blessed they do not know what presents to ask for.

I love the festive mood of Christmas just like any other festive season I celebrate. And yes, it's all about friends, family, love and feast.

Feeling alive

Over a few glasses of wine, a friend in her 50's laments that she misses feeling alive. This is a woman who moved to a foreign country with three young kids while finding time to help her her husband's business.  This is a woman who decided to start her own business when her kids are adults.  She now works ten hours daily.  This is a woman you want to invite to a party 'cos she warms up the room.  Yet, she is feeling as flat as a can of soda left in the sun.

She no longer gets excited and doesn't quite know what she needs to do to feel alive.  Not that she is complaining about life. She knows life has been good to her; she has brought up decent kids, she is healthy, she is financially comfortable, she is surrounded by family and friends.  She is not unhappy.

Are we simply being too demanding on life? Is it too wishful to have it all and want more? I too am grateful for what life has given me yet like my friend, I yearn to feel alive.  Is this a sign of mid-life? Or are we going through a phase of soul-searching?  Are we all seekers?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Year resolution

It's that time of the year when we feel most inclined to draft up New Year resolutions. I have the habit of listing down what I want to achieve in the year to come. Some of my previous resolutions amongst others were learning to scuba dive (done, PADI open-water certifed), running 10k (done), progressing to running half-marathon (done, improved my time to slightly less than three hours at 2 hour 56 minutes), travelling (travelled to more places than I can ask for), start writing (taking baby steps with my blog but finally made it to the Ubud Writers and Readers festival).

It is easier to tick off the tangible items on my list. But what about the intangibles? I want to be wiser, more compassionate, more patient, more understanding and better at listening. How do I measure whether I am a better person as each year passes by? Have I learned to forgive? Has my presence touched someone's life in a positive way? Has life taught me to be a better person?

As I look at myself in the mirror and notice new lines on my face, I hope I am a better person with each pasing day. There is no boxes to tick as it is an on-going process; it is not the destination but the journey that matters.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No reason to be cranky

There's really no reason for me to be cranky. Work, which usually drives me up the wall, is slowing down. Afterall, Christmas is round the corner and festive mood is in the air (and in every malls in town). People are either out of town (which means traffic has eased off) or are busy exchanging gifts. And I have received a few gifts myself.

Yet, I am in a lousy mood today which makes me seem ungrateful in the festive season when we should feel thankful. I was not able to contain my crankiness and probably chewed a few heads. Was upset over the silliest thing like not charging my iPad. Trivial stuff gets to me today.

Perhaps it's the absence of "me time" over the last two days when I was out with colleagues on business trip. Perhaps it's the lack of yoga or running which I find therapeutic. Perhaps it's PMS.

Whatever the reasons, I've decided to take care of myself. This means skipping a tempting invite for a drink to go for yoga practice. This means giving myself "me time" to decompress whether it's writing or resting.

I acknowledge how I feel and recognize that this is part of being me. I no longer feel bad and beat myself up for having a bad day. Instead, I take this as a cue to take better care of myself. I am learning to be kind to myself.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's after aceptance?

Have you woken up feeling thankful for your imperfect life and wondering what's next? Perhaps it's age, perhaps it's the effect of yoga practice, but I am going through a phase of acceptance. Not quite the zen stage of acceptance where if someone slaps you on one cheek, you present your other cheek cos I can still be fiesty when I want to. It's a feeling that in spite of all the imperfections, I am truly thankful.

Yet that leaves me grappling with what is next. I used to be driven and constantly aiming for the next milestone to accomplish. Am I now to sit and wait for life to present itself?

May be this is a stage in my life where I learn to still my heart and mind so I can better listen to my inner voice.

For now, as I wait, I will count my blessings and be thankful for all things big and small and for everyone who's touched my life.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


In yoga class, the teacher told us where our eyes lead, our body goes. This reminds me of physchology class 101 where the same concept was being taught. The more a driver tries to avoid a lamp post, the higher the tendency he drives into the lamp post.

I am trying to relate this to my work life. There is a colleague I totally cannot stand. He gets on my nerves. To be extreme, I feel suffocated being in the same room as him and hence try to avoid him at all cost. Unfortunately, my work requires a certain amount of interaction with him. He is my nemesis.

I have yet learned how to deal with him. But I'm now trying to deal with how I feel instead. I can choose to see this as a challenge in life I can avoid or an experience that stretches me and make me a better person. Do I need to make an effort to like him? That would be too much of a stretch for now. Just like yoga where I listen to my body, I am now listening to my inner voice. I will choose not to focus on him instead focusing on how I feel. I will try not to focus on him and instead of being agitated by him, I will choose to let the negative feeling go. I refuse to let someone insignificant to me hold any significance to how I feel and how I lead my life.


Woke up this morning feeling lazy.  Not the negative laziness where you wake up exhausted but lazy in a good sense where I don't feel a sense of rush.  Usually wake up with a list of things I plan to do for the day which results in me jumping out of bed and tackling my plan diligently.  Yet today, I woke up with a sense of surrender.

I decided to listen to my body to just relax and rest.  Spent the whole morning over a cup of coffee at my front porch surfing my favorite topics.  The weather was cool after the rain last night.  My kids seems to take the cue and was just going about enjoying themselves playing around the house.  No one seems to care that we do not have plans for the Sunday.

I cherish moments like these.  Nothing exciting yet it brings a sense of blissfulness.