Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yoga class reminds me of church

Going for yoga class reminds me of going to church. Everyone puts on their best behavior.  We are all nice, polite and full of smiles.
photo credit to: africa's portfolio
We go to yoga and church wanting to feel good. We listen to someone tells us what to do.  Of course, the difference is yoga comes with physical movements while you simply sit through church.  But if you consider the meditation aspect of yoga, it is similar to sitting and praying for hours in church.

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.

Like any social groups, eventually gossips and clicks kick in. Then someone starts not getting along with another person. Someone else starts disliking another person.  Those that refuse to conform gets outcasted. Along the way, people get disillusioned and dropped out. 

What we tend to forget is the purpose of going to yoga or church? For me, going to yoga is about becoming a better person, physically and emotionally. Yoga helps me stay focused yet is effective in helping me relax. I will not drop out of yoga the way I dropped out of church because of the community. This time, I will stay focused on my objective.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Family time

Sitting at Old Town White Coffee cafe at Emporium mall in Pluit. For those who do not know Jakarta well, Pluit is in Northern Jakarta with majority of it's population Chinese. This gives it a rather different vibe to the other parts of Jakarta which is less homogeneous. It doesn't quite feel like Jakarta with a concentration of Chinese families.
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.

Are we leading life on auto pilot?

The yoga instructor told us not to do our poses on auto pilot but to listen to the dialogue. It is easy to come to class after a while knowing what to expect and just going through poses after poses without actually listening to the dialogue of the teacher. We fail to listen and hence fault to improve ourselves, making the same mistakes class after class.
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.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Woke up early

Photo credit to markuso's portfolio

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


People around me seems to be getting older suddenly. I am confronted with my loved ones falling ill and passing away. My mom had a stroke and thankfully recovered after a surgery for her brain aneurysm. My dad had a heart valve surgery. My aunt who is like a mom to me passed away from complications from diabetes. All these happened in the last two years.

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

Anger and compassion

I am embarrassed I got so angry. With all my yoga practice and self-help books, I thought I would have handled things more calmly. But somehow the incident triggered some much resentment and anger.

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

Who we think we are may not be what others see in us

Photo credit to anankkml's portfolio

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.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Photo credit of tungphoto's portfolio

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.