Sunday, May 22, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Happiness is what I have been searching for. Ten years ago I wanted to be happy. Ten years later, I still want to be happy.
Yet I have stopped searching for happiness. It is no longer a goal I yearn for. Rather I have accepted happiness is a journey, not something far fetched I aim for.
I am happy as I am. I want to be happy as life is short and when I am happy, people around me are happier. Being happy is a choice and I choose to be happy.
Just like my yoga practice, some days I do better, I push deeper. Some days, my body can't seem to stretch and I am just not in the mood. On those days, I simply go with the flow, be conscious of my breath and stay present.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
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Sunday, May 8, 2011
My all time favorite cuisine, Japanese shabu shabu. You cook a variety of vegetables in the hot pot filled with broth or miso. The broth base is the authentic style but I like the miso base, it makes the vegetables tastier. The original shabu shabu comes with a plate of thinly sliced beef which you cook into the hot pot and dip it into ponzu sauce before allowing the beef the melt in your mouth. Ponzu is a lemon based soya sauce which you can add freshly cut chili, garlic, spring onions and radish to bring out the favor.
My favorite shabu shabu is at Shabu Shabu House at Little Tokyo. It's the best in LA and probably the best I've had.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Is it when you first fall in love
Or is it when you truly lose yourself in love
Can you ever forget your first love
Promise me my love
You'll never forget our love
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Is a feeling we never forget
We all yearn for feeling
That reminds us of our puppy love
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Yet I didn't know what I wanted to do. There were so many things I planned to do but yet nothing that I really wanted to do. I wanted to go home early to rest cos I told myself my body needed it. This conflicted with a little voice telling me I ought to be ought spending time socializing. After all it's Friday! I needed a hair cut, yearned for a massage, wanted to spend time with my kids and missed reading and writing. Did I mention there was another office function which I was invited?
With all these thoughts going in my mind, I became restless. I was not enjoying the people I was with instead wishing I was doing ten other things. No doubt they didn't enjoy me too given I was not the most engaging company.
Realized I am so addicted to busyness that when I have idle time I packed them up with activities. Instead of simply enjoying the present, I run around doing one things after another. And when I don't have anything to do, I line up my mind with things I wish I get to do. This sounds bizarre but I am restless when I am not busy.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
The modest houses have brown tiled roofs. Once in a while, you get to catch a glimpse of the village life. I see children playing in the fields, and several young girls sharing a scooter.
We have now arrived at Cirebon.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
What makes this news scandalous is the fact that this lady banker in her late 40s looks should I say well-preserved. She has done a lot of work on her face giving her the look of someone much younger. And she is well-endowed beyond natural. The pictures circulating shows someone happy to flaunt her "asset".
The story behind her is rumored to be a husband who likes a trophy wife. She is said to undergo extreme efforts to keep herself youthful and attractive. That includes frequent vitamin drips amongst others.
But all the effort does not prevent a divorce. I have no insights into her marriage but the main cause of failure in marriage is usually a third party. And it tend to be a much younger third person.
Question to all the women out there, how much are we willing to undergo to maintain our beauty in order to keep our man? Is it a sign of insecurity when we try to stay youthful for our man? Whatever happens to inner beauty and true love?
These are questions worth pondering as we age. And the answers will force us to confront the true nature of our marriage.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
When I was in my early 20s which was ages ago, I used to think sleep is a waste of time. There was so much to life (friends, school, parties, learning new stuff) that sleep was not a priority then.
More than a decade has passed and now I treasure any opportunity to sleep. With the responsibilities of a full-time job and a family, I crave for uninterrupted sleep. The one where your head hit the pillow and you open your eyes to a new day. I hate the kind of sleep where I wake up in cold sweat in the middle of the night, I end up feeling lethargic the next day.
Since I started yoga, I sleep better. I still need at least eight hours of sleep to get me to fully function the next day. But gone are those nights where I toss in bed counting sheep. And I tend to sleep through the night. On evenings where work or social obligations take the lead, I compensate the following night with a good sleep. The best nights are those when I come home fully relaxed after yoga practice. Those are the nights I sleep like a baby.
In need of another vacation. Going on holidays is one of my best remedy to release stress. I do undergo the usual traveller's stress which includes packing, delayed flights, unforeseen circumstances that change the plans amongst others, but they are manageable stress. And they are worthwhile for the opportunity to see a new place, experience new culture and meet new people.
Wonder if you would feel the exhilaration of traveling if you do it full time.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Yet somehow it doesn't feel right. Can't put my fingers around what exactly is bugging me. Is it my instinct talking to me? Or is it fear that is whispering into my ears? Am I so at ease in my comfort zone I am scared to make changes?
Need time to think this through. And being sleep deprived doesn't help me to think clearly. Gosh, need an undisrupted "thinking time" set aside this week.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I napped a lot. Caught up on all the sleep I needed. Finally started reading a book (then got distracted by tweeting). So half finished book waiting.
Since it was so quiet, I heard the rustling of the leaves. And since I was staring into space a lot, I actually saw puffy clouds moving which was a pretty sight and which reminded me when I was a kid.
So this Day of Silence actually went well. The fun part is tonight when there will be complete darkness.
Ok, I can catch up on sleep for one. But how much can one sleep? I can read books and finish the half finished books I have stacked up. And I can tweet and blog. But knowing you are confined to the hotel and not allowed to go out kind of spook me. It means no jogging and no yoga class which are my weekend routine. Did I mention the lights will be off at 6 pm tonight with no activities allowed at all. What do you do in complete darkness for 12 hours?
This is definitely a sign I am not living in the present and that I am a worrier.
As I breathe in the sweetness of the Bali air looking over the ocean, I decided to just let go and enjoy. To simply embrace the beauty of the tranquility. As I was typing this away in the bale (pavilion) by the pool, I saw two dragonflies flew across and a few birds flying in the horizon. Such is the beauty I am surrounded by.
Instead if fretting over what to do, I decided to do nothing and just enjoy what nature has prepared for me, its beauty crafted in perfection.
The Balinese take Nyepi seriously. The hotel car had to turn back at the junction a stone away from the hotel and find an alternative route much longer as the access road was blocked by preparation for the night's activities. Villagers were out on the street watching the Ongoh Ongoh; scary looking huge statues meant to be burnt at the end of the night. It was a party scene and you are allowed to make as much noise as you want.
Tomorrow would be totally different where everyone is expected to stay quiet. Activities come to a still. It would be interesting to experience such peacefulness for once.
Friday, March 4, 2011
On the downside, it takes me 90 min to travel 10 km to work. So that is three hours wasted on commute daily. Well, with my blackberry and iPad, I get productive in the car. But still, it is frustrating. Not go mention another 2.5 hour if I want to have lunch outside the office. Of course, the driver is the perk. And having a driver is very much part of life in Jakarta for the middle class. It costs less than $200 for the monthly wage of a driver.
So there is upside and downside to life in this city. We don't have parks but instead of lots of huge, glitzy malls with more malls to come. We lack public transportation but we get by stuck for hours in the car chauffeured by a driver. Jakarta is as safe or as dangerous as most cities in South East Asia (excluding Singapore which probably has close to zero crime rate). Practice basic common sense and safety precaution and you will be fine.
It's a shame Jakarta is under-rated as a tourist destination and usually not the preferred posting for expats. Give Jakarta a chance and in time you will be charmed by this place and its people who are probably one of friendliest you can find in any cosmopolitan cities. You can always spot a smiling face in Jakarta.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
photo credit to: africa's portfolio
Both yoga and church consist of tightly knitted community. Once you are in, you become part of the family where everyone knows each other. And soon, you start hanging out with each other outside class or church.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Photo Credit: winnond's portfolio
Here in the cafe, I could easily be in KL or Singapore. Three generations getting together for dinner. Almost every table, you see grandparents, parents and kids. Food, chit chat, gossips, kids running around. Typical scene in most Asian cities.
It's great to see families getting together. It's a comforting sight to see old people still very much included in the family activities.
Time for me to finish up writing and give up my table for the next family.
Tomorrow, it will be my family day where I bring my kids to have lunch with my parents.
It makes me ponder whether I am taking the same approach outside class. Do I wake up and approach life on an auto pilot mind set, failing to appreciate and listen to what life has to offer? Last week I felt like a car running on auto pilot on a depleted gas tank. I had no time for myself, let alone people around me.
As the week begins (I've started to take Sunday as the beginning of the week instead of Monday), I will make a note to take this week slowly; to breathe in and appreciate what I take for granted. I will start with my morning walk; listen to the chirping of the birds, feel the coolness of the air on my skin and allow the sweet smelling fragrance of the flowers to tinkle my scent.
On and off mat, I will try to switch off the auto pilot mood and be more present.
Idea go's portfolio is:
Monday, February 21, 2011
Woke up at four this morning. Went to bed early last night, exhausted from yoga practice in the morning followed by flurry of activities the whole Sunday. Gave up my much needed afternoon weekend nap.
Jakarta is surprisingly cool at this time and what a pleasant surprise to wake up to the chirping of birds. Having my cup of strong, black coffee. The aroma filling the room.
I usually freak out when I wake up too early as it means I get totally exhausted by mid-day. And I do get extremely cranky when I am tired. Today I am determined to simply enjoy the day. It's going to be a long day with a conference call starting at eight and all the way to a karaoke session with colleagues in the evening.
Perhaps this is the day to live by the motto "live life to the fullest". After all, today is a blessing.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Now my mom-in-law is in pain from a bad fall. She underwent vertebroplasty to inject cement into her fractured bones. She is bed ridden and at the same time having terrible gastric pain due to the pain killers that make her throw up after every meal. My sister found a lump in her breast and will need to have a small surgery.
It hits me how vulnerable life is when loved ones start slipping away. Read that two people in the world die every minutes. It's a statistic that doesn't mean anything until one of the two person is someone you know, someone you can put a face to and someone you've spent time with, someone who is part of your life. And then all you have left are only memories of the person with words unsaid, things undone and regrets.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I should have let things go. Instead I chose to confront and antagonize the other party just to get a respond. Or may be I was being childish. You know how kids throw a tantrum when they don't get what they want?
Perhaps the best thing to do when I am angry is to do nothing. To not say things that are hurtful which unfortunately came out from my mouth this morning.
Today, I pray for compassion, for myself and the person I was upset with.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Bumped into an old friend in a bar on Valentine's evening and spent time swapping stories over our past. We both started our first job together and had some tough times making our ways in the corporate jungle.
What was amusing was the stories he said about things I did (sounded rather childish) and how I behaved (highly emotional). I had totally forgotten those stories. I actually don't recall being the kind of person he described me to be. I wonder if I go about painting a certain image of myself while others see me in a diffent light? Some of my closer friends claim I put on a facade with people I don't know. It is my armour of protection. But what am I trying to protect myself against?
Why am I scared to show my true self? Am I so accustomed to behaving in what society expects of me? Or am I putting on different facades to please people around me?
Perhaps there is nothing wrong in puting on different facades as when the situation calls for. What is important is staying true to myself without worrying about what others think or say about me. I hope I am compassionate towards people regardless of what facade I am putting on. I hope I am strong enough to stay true to myself.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Valentine's round the corner. In the States, this would be celebrated with flowers, chocolates, candle light diners and hallmark cards (at least ten years ago before the internet age hallmark cards are a must to express your love).
I do not recall when was the last time I celebrated Valentine's Day. Do I miss celebrating this special day? I suppose I miss receiving flowers, chocolates and tender loving words. I think I miss being made to feel special.
Then it occurred to me I am doomed for disappointments if I am waiting for other people to make me feel special. I am special for who I am and I do not need endorsements from others. I am special in my own quirky ways and there are people out there who love me for all my imperfections. For those people, I am thankful.
On this special day, I am going to take the chance to tell people I love how special they are. I hope in doing so I can touch the heart of just one person and make that person believe in himself. Life is full of hope only when you believe in yourself.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Somehow, towards the end of last year I seem to have mellowed down. From the outside, people can't quite tell. I am still putting up my facade at work, colleagues still consider me aggrssive and ambitious. But deep inside, I could feel myself losing that fighting spirit. Not sure if it's still part of mourning for my aunt's death, or that age is making me more mature, or perhaps yoga has taught me to be more accepting.
I was quite scared of what I seem to have become. Then it gradually sank in that this change will stay. This is what I am transforming into. I haven't lost my fighting spirit as I am still pushing myself to improve my poses and driving myself hard on the yoga mat. I am simply balancing acceptance and my fighting spirit. On and off the yoga mat, I will give my best. Once I have tried my best, I will not beat myself up over the outcome.
I will simply let go.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Skyline of Hong Kong from IFC Mall
View of Shenzhen
Shenzhen used to be the poor cousin of Hong Kong. It is catching up very fast as an up-coming cosmopolitan city. Hong Kong is vibrant yet too crowded for my liking. I prefer the luxury of walking without having to elbow my way around.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Zaia, Cirque Du Soleil at Ventian Macau
Cirque du Soleil is a mesmerizing performance. I was sitting at the edge of my seat for the whole performance engrossed. I suppose this is the ultimate art that we seek, one that transports us to a different realm. The music, lighting, special effects, acting all help push the performance to the pennacle. It is in itself an art.
I enjoy being totally present for the whole show, just being there. It is such a wonderful experience. I suppose we don't have to meditate to be in the present. Art can be be similar to meditation if we are totally soaked in the experience. Different people respond to diffent art forms.
I find it important to try out diffent arts to find what appeals to us. Keeping our minds open bring surprises. I wasn't sure my parents would enjoy Cirque du Soliel. To my pleasant surprise, they've enjoyed the performance. It seems to bring out the child like in them. And they were as much engrossed as I was. My parents have enjoyed it as much as my kids.
Starbucks in Shenzhen
Shenzhen is a bustling city. It used to be known as the place where tourists cross over from Hong Kong in a train to purchse counterfeit bags. Now this city in Guangdong province north of Hong Kong is shedding its image as Hong Kong's poor cousin. It is trying to catch up with its glittery malls. Most major bands are present. Well, may be not all; at least didn't find Chanel and Hermes. But you get the point, Zara, Manggo and every major fast food chain are present. Star bucks has found it's place here.
Had Chinese food for dinner in an upscale restaurant in town. But it was lunch at this neighborhood restaurant that amazes me. I love the concentrated chicken soup cooked with Chinese herb served in a Chinese teapot and drink from the small tea cup. Tasty.
Have to get used to the cold. Well, I've have always been a tropical person.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
The term yogi (male) or yogini (female) is used to describe someone who practices yoga. Wikipedia describes yogi as " practitioner of various forms of spiritual practice".
I am rather cautious in calling myself a yogi or yogini. After all, I started as a woman who can't touch her toes and is now taking baby-steps towards yoga practice. I've looked at the blogs of many yogi/yogini and have been impressed with the years of experience they have under their belts or should I say on their mats. Many have learned under well-know gurus or at least been to Mysore, the Mecca of yoga. Two years of Bikram yoga class does not qualify me to be in the same league as some of those yogi/yogini.
Yoga can be a rather intimidating experience for beginners. I recalled how confused I was when I first decided to check out a yoga class. They sound like foreign language to me (even reading through the descriptions of the classes do nothing to help me in understanding the different schools of yoga).
I signed up for Bikram yoga since the studio was most convenient to where I live and ended up liking it. It probably has to do with the fact that the first few teachers I've had impressed me. Omar was one of the first teachers I've had and he exudes the yoga spirit. He was working in the IT industry before he decided to teach yoga full time. This is not a guy who is a high school drop-out who has no idea what he wants to do in life and ended up as a yoga teacher. This is a guy who decided to put aside what he had to pursue his dream or calling. He shares his story of being a vegan, another true reflection of his calling. This is definitely someone who practices what he preaches.
I suppose you can call yourself yogi/yogini when you truly exudes the yoga spirit, when yoga is not a badge you flaunt on your sleeve but a way how you lead your life. A true yogi/yogini is compassionate.