defragment.me

Restarting from the bottom

I went through a series of events from the beginning of this year that made me ponder very hard about my existing life/lifestyle. I wondered about plenty of things that have been at the back of my mind all this while.

I wondered if it would make me happy if I didn't have to worry about money anymore.

I wondered if I would be happier if I was doing the best work.

I wondered about myself being emotional – I feel so much that it really makes me depressed sometimes – is this a weakness or a gift?

If everyone of us is truly unique and all of us have something to give to this world, what would mine be?

I believe I am emotional for a reason, I am the way I am for a reason.

During the past few months I have been through times when I cannot seem to pull myself up, even with all that I have known and learnt about life, I was just drowning and I couldn't keep my head above the water.

I think, all I wanted was to know, was that it was okay to be myself. To be weak, to cry, to crumble, to be unable to cope.

I think I have a split personality, the one that wants to live life in comfort and prove her worth through her work, the other who just wants to live life simply, be happy, be free, and give.

The gulf between the two has been causing me a lot of struggle lately.

Finding true freedom

I have worked very hard and I realise I have grown attached to what I have gained through working hard. I am afraid to lose it all and ironically I have stopped being free – when the original intention to be a solo worker was to be free.

There is no point in being financially free when the soul is not free. Mine is starting to wither and I know it.

I want to do something for people who are like me. Two main groups I guess – people who lead unconventional lives in our materialistic society, and people who struggle to cope with their own minds.

It upsets me when I get to know of people who have chosen to end their lives or lose sight of hope, because they are unable to cope with their minds. Whatever that is eating them up from inside. Empathy truly exists when you're one of them and you know what it exactly means by having issues with your own existence.

Our society doesn't readily accept people who refuse to conform to the mainstream and it is getting increasingly difficult (in some ways easier, though) for our younger generation. I think they too, just want to know that it is okay being different.

Coping with our own existence

And there are many of us who are struggling to cope with ourselves everyday, and they too, just want to know, that there are others like us out there who are struggling too, and will empathise. More importantly, there are many of us who continue to struggle and yet not losing sight of hope, or give up pursuing our dreams.

I know how it feels like to cope with my own existence. It is ironically a double-edged sword that has given me strength and the will to pursue my dreams, and yet sometimes it becomes so difficult that I truly feel like giving it all up.

A chance for a restart; if only you see it

Many times, it is eerily rewarding, because it pushes me right to the bottom and allows me to regain perspective of my priorities. Rising from the ashes, they say. Each time I come out of it, it makes me stronger, it allows me the courage to follow my heart, because if you get to the point when you realise you're about to lose yourself, all that fight for financial security or to gain approval (whether by family or society) becomes meaningless.

But what about the others who never managed to come out of it? One moment of desperation, one split second of despair, is enough. Not everyone has the chance to restart. Or know that they can restart.

I won't end my own existence, primarily because my personal spiritual beliefs tell me that I would have to repeat my lessons again anyway, but it doesn't make coping easier. And there's still tons of us who are not fortunate enough to be spiritually aware, or to have family support, or to find empathy.

I want them to know that they are truly not alone. I have some vague plans forming in my head, nothing concrete yet, but it is a start.

If doing the best work is not something that will make me happy, perhaps doing the best I can to aid a cause I am personally involved in, will make a difference.

Because I know, it is through helping others when you are helping oneself.

I won't seek to make a difference to tons of people, even if I find/provide empathy from/to one soul out there, I would have answered to myself.

Additional reading:
The Lost Years & Last Days of David Foster Wallace

How the Universe worked its magic on me

I have been buried in work, which in turn makes me feel like crap because I can't seem to output anything that is of my own standards when there are deadlines everyday. I can point fingers at client-side delays inducing clashed schedules, unexpected events in my personal life (passing away of an uncle), bad luck (falling into a drain), but I won't.

Deep down in my heart, I know I can blame nobody but myself for the situation I was in.

Positive intentions, bad execution

The intention started out positively. All I wanted was to kick-start my travel plans, so I took in more work to steady myself financially, believing that I will have the strength to overcome tight schedules and an increase of workload with the bigger picture in sight. There were also a couple of local startups in need of design help, I have always been a supporter of local talents and I felt that it was something I could do to give back.

I ignored that little voice.

That little voice that tells me that I was risking over-extending myself, taking my energy for granted and that I should think carefully whether I was capable of survival myself before offering my help to anyone else.

On hindsight, perhaps I was meant to go through this period. It was the much needed splash of cold water on my face, telling me that I need to respect myself and my time more. That it is not to be taken for granted that I can work any piece of canvas into well-crafted websites. My own carelessness taught me a harsh lesson as I started to produce work that nauseated me.

Falling into that pit again, quite literally

I am not sure why, but I seem to be overly harsh to myself. Each stumble I made, I cruelly chastised myself for being inefficient, unproductive, incapable, ill-disciplined, whatever negative word I can think of to describe myself. The high expectations upon myself is a double-edged sword. I could feel the shadows of my depression overcoming me once again. I felt my life-force slowing draining away from me.

It is just work, right? I know. I just cannot tolerate myself for stepping into this vicious cycle, or ignoring my gut feel. I reminded myself repeatedly that my issues are non-issues compared to warring countries and starving children; I just can not help feeling as though I was sinking deeper and deeper into a bottomless pit.

When I fell into a drain amidst really tight deadlines for my work, I started laughing at myself. No, I was not going mental because of the unfortunate events, but rather I was getting amused. I looked up at the sky above and asked, "What else?". Amazingly, despite the really bad cuts on my leg and bruised ribs, I knew I was blessed. I knew I have been riding on my luck because I did not have any serious physical injuries since I was a kid. I knew the fall could have been worse, I could have ended up really badly injured rather than just cuts and bruises.

The magic begins

I had ordered a few books from Amazon.com a few days before and for unknown reasons, they shipped half of my order by UPS even though I did not pay for it. In this particular shipment there was a book by Michael Newton – "Destiny of Souls". I have read Newton's first book on past life regression and hypnotherapy many months back and was totally fascinated with it. I put his second book on my shopping list for a long while and have only decided to buy it after I needed to buy a few other design-related books as well.

Michael Newton holds a PhD. in Counseling Psychology and has been a professional hypnotherapist for years before accidentally regressing one of his cases to his past life. Since then he has handled thousands of cases, regressing them into their past lives and also in between lives. He was an atheist with a logical, scientifically trained mind and it took him quite a while to reconcile what he was experiencing.

This was mind-opening for me personally, because though I have always believed in higher powers, it is altogether different when a doctor writes a book detailing thousands of recorded cases. Thousands of people from different walks of life, many non-religious, but providing very similar information pointing to dimensions beyond us.

The Universe conspires

Due to my fall I was not able to work for a day as I was in considerable pain, forced to be bedridden. This is why I always say, we can all have the best laid plans but the Universe usually have other ideas for us. Co-incidentally (no, actually I don't believe in co-incidences anymore) the books arrived by UPS within a few days after the order! I have ordered books from Amazon many times before and this is the first time they despatched my order into two within the same day, to two different postal carriers. The usual wait is two weeks at least but this time I ordered on a Friday and received them on Monday morning. I had time to read the book because I cannot do much except to be in bed.

I finished the book while nursing my wounds, throughout the read I was constantly getting reminded what life is all about. The book was gradually pulling me out of my self-built pit and was somehow gently telling me that I have better things to do than mope (which I have already known but was too caught up with perceived practicalities of life).

Remembering

I was still contemplating about the contents of the book when I had to reply to an email by my spiritual mother (long story) and was halfway lamenting about my sorry situation before it dawned upon me that this is not the way I want to spend my life. Moping. I want to remember my life as a life I am proud of, not a life full of wallowing in self-pity.

I can be plagued by a series of unfortunate events but so what? There is no point in feeling 'unlucky'. It does not do anything to help the situation. When one stops fearing misfortune and the unknown, one achieves a sense of liberation. I have been blessed enough to be aware enough not to be tied down too much by the supposed practicalities of life and the reality set down upon me by others, but being human I kept losing my way. I accept this because this is part of the human experience. No matter how spiritually aware one can be, there is always bound to be ups and downs, greater challenges than the previous one. This is the point of life. To keep learning. I am grateful because somehow I am being guided back to the path intended for me. Silently and steadily.

When one stops fearing misfortune and the unknown, one achieves a sense of liberation.

I understand that I will need to learn how to cope with my overwhelming emotions and underwhelming self-image. It cannot be expected to be eradicated so soon after a lifetime of deep-routed programming and god knows how many past life-times.

My obsession with past-lives

My spiritual mother (yes this sounds funny but I cannot think of a better term), Julia, once commented I am the only person she knows that is so obsessed about past-lives. While signing up for the Soul Realignment course, Andrea Hess told me that I would not want to sign up if I am not able to do it. Thinking about this along the same line, perhaps there is a reason why I am obsessed and intrigued about past lives. There is a reason for every soul's desire, right?

So halfway typing the email to Julia (yes I have an issue with digression) I realised that this is what I really want to do and why not? What is stopping me? To be honest, I am afraid to cope financially. This a rational fear and I am sure many others while seeking their way to their goals feel the same as well. However, this time I am determined not to let it stop me. Pursuing my spiritual interests has been part of me for a long while now and why should I not? I can only get too impatient and eager to learn.

In denial

Perhaps I have been in denial about my work for a long time. Each time I think it is a passing phase caused by stress, but it has been a long time since I genuinely feel excited about a design project. The catch-22 situation here is, perhaps if I can find ways to diversify my income streams, I would not face so much pressure from my design work and that will enable me to produce work of a higher quality, and that will in turn allow me to work with better clients and budgets, which will also allow me to rediscover my love for design again. It is very much a part of me, so much a part of me that I am afraid to let go.

Yet I know I have to let it go first in order to find it back again. This applies to a lot in life isn't it?

Why spiritual therapy

I have had irrational fears, behaviors, reactions, inexplicable happenings. I had felt I do not belong to this world. There are just too many things in this world that cannot be explained by logic. When I was a child I never understood why I had to live, the thing is, people are so afraid of death right, most of them want to live. For me, everyday I wished for death. I did not know why. To be honest I never had a particularly harsh childhood, there was a lot of rejection and emotional pain but it was not as though I was made to beg on the streets.

Awakening spiritually was a life-turning point for me.I still don't quite get it why we have to progress spiritually in order to rejoin the Source one day, like why even start this process in the first place, or why was there even a Source in the beginning. However, it meant a lot to me that there are reasons why I have certain feelings.

I realise (thank god for the internet!) that there are many others like me. They are still in the minority, and there are many who did not have the luck or blessing to experience spiritual support (like I have Julia with me) or an awakening process. I know how it feels like to feel alienated and weird and I feel that I can learn to provide some form of support to these people.

I went through a Soul Realignment reading for myself and introduced Julia to it. We both found it really beneficial in different ways individually, it brought a lot of clarity to what we have been experiencing in the past.

Imagine being able to remember why you came into this life, why you have seemingly unresolvable issues with a parent, why you are afraid of heights or water, why you have an unexplainable pain in a certain part of your body. There is always the conflict of – perhaps we're not supposed to know that much, but I am slowly believing in 'when the student is ready, the teacher appears'. We're supposed to gain the information we are already meant to know.

I feel my empathy is gifted to me for a reason. This will not be my only stop. I have a deep-rooted interest to learn spiritual regression, animal communication, alternative healing, the list goes on. I am not sure when I will be equipped to actually provide any help, but I will know it when the time comes. I hope to blend whatever knowledge I will eventually acquire into some form of personalised support to people drawn to seek my help. I hope to be a conduit in some form because I had felt helpless before and I know how much difference it makes to have means of support and empathy.

This is what I desire, I do not know if I will eventually succeed or if I will lack the patience to persevere but at this very moment I will give it my best shot.

Reasons for feeling insulted, disturbed & hurt by the new AWARE leadership

I have avoided writing about the anti-gay sentiments put out by the new AWARE executive committee (exco) because I feel that being in support of the old guard has nothing got to do about anti-gay vs pro-gay, but about women's rights in general. Till I got increasingly disturbed by their anti-gay statements, which I cannot put in words exactly how disturbed I feel to be reading the comments made by them.

They say we are very often abused by our fathers

This was one of the most disturbing ones:

"On a personal front, I've given ministered, I've counselled them. So you need to understand I'm not talking about... They are in pain. And very often...where you have abusive fathers, they do things with their daughters and the daughters revolt, rebel against society. We understand this is what it's all about." – Dr Thio Su Mien

Excuse me?! My father is one of the nicest men you will ever meet and he will feel very personally insulted and hurt to read this. I seriously do not think this self-proclaimed 'feminist mentor' should be even allowed to speak in public with all the insulting rubbish she is spouting.

I cannot decide whether I am petrified or amused that such narrow and un-evolved minds exist in women who had been highly educated and possess high-flying careers. These are the very same women who now want to fight for gender equality.

So, according to the new exco, led by 'feminist mentor' Thio Su Mien, me and my peace-loving, society-contributing gay community are criminals, abnormal, wicked, anti-family – basically in their eyes we do not seem to warrant a place in society, supposed to be abused and in pain.

The consequences & implications

Speaking from the bottom of my heart, I really wonder if they have considered all the implications and consequences before making such statements and having such beliefs? Is there even an absolute truth in anything? Did they even consider the feelings of people like us, or even the youth who are confused about their sexuality? To be marginalised and criminalised in this manner, to be made to feel as though as we do not belong anywhere, have they even stopped to think for a second if they may be causing a lot of hurt?

Supposing if they win the EOGM, and the possibility that the new sex education material is made to reflect homosexuality as a negative word, would there be a possibility that young, talented, confused minds will be driven to depression, or even suicide? What about influencing young minds into being homophobic individuals, subjecting their 'abnormal' peers to gay-bashing and discrimination?

Brainwash people to be gay?

I did not have an abusive father, sorry to disappoint Dr Thio, I do not remember having sex education in my school days, and homosexuality in my era was largely a taboo subject. There were no gay films, no gay propaganda, no media reporting on homosexuality, almost zilch.

Having no gay 'influence' when I was young did not stop me from falling in love with another girl. For me personally, for many of my gay friends, being gay has nothing much to do with preference for bedding the same sex. It is as simple as falling in love with another person. We just don't feel the same for the opposite sex, does that make us less of a human?

Why can't the new exco and paranoid parents simply realise that presenting homosexuality in a neutral perspective does not brainwash your precious kid into being gay? If your kid is gay, even if the poor kid is blocked off the entire media will do nothing much to change how he/she feels. You can probably threaten to disown the kid, make her/him marry someone, have kids, but do you even know how much more pain and suffering that causes for the person and the people involved? What about the marriage partner who was deceived into believing that their partner loves him/her?

The reverse is also true, if your kid is not gay, no amount of external influence can change that as well. I have plenty of straight friends who loves going to gay parties, watch gay films, hang out with gay people, but they would still rather be with the opposite sex. There is a healthy mutual respect, a mutual respect which would be in danger for the youth if the new exco manages to have their way.

Personally

I am proud to be who I am. I am in a committed relationship with a partner who loves me more than anything in this world, despite and in spite of my flaws; and I feel the same way for her. We are both doing our best for the causes we believe in – animal welfare and environmentalism. We like to give our time to stray animals whenever possible, she recycles everything that can possibly be recycled. We are not well off, but we are contented with what we have and are both working very hard to pursue our individual dreams. She has been my pillar of support, I would not be where I am today if not for her. Yet, according to Dr Thio, the new exco and their church, we should both seek cures (read an example of their supposed cure program). We have done nothing wrong except to love each other with our hearts, yet in the eyes of the new exco, we are dysfunctional and really need to repent.

I am lucky. My parents accept me for the person I am, we go out all together for family outings and occasions. My mom asks about my partner if she could not be present for some reason. I am out to everyone who knows me personally. I never had a friend who ended our friendship upon knowing I am gay. In fact, I never really had someone dear to me shake their heads in sadness and look at me with pity or distaste, but the harsh reality is, there are plenty of people who are subject to such discriminatory and hurting behavior.

Being in the minority has allowed me to be sensitive to other minorities. From my very own spiritual perspective, I see it as a blessing. I feel the pain and hurt when people exhibit discriminative behavior towards other minorities, be it the foreign workers, other races, etc. In fact, in many parts of the world, Asians are being discriminated upon as well. I do not feel it is fair to discriminate anybody if you do not want to be discriminated upon as well.

Mis-informed judgement

I deliberated for a very long time whether I should write this post. Like I mentioned previously, I am out to everyone who knows me personally, but I have never mentioned anything about my sexuality on my own websites, because the possibility of being judged by business associates and clients. I do not think that it is fair to be judged if people do not have the chance to get to know me personally first. That is the precise point I am trying to make. It is not fair to make a sweeping statement representative of gay people if you have not personally experienced their personal lives and relationships.

Yet I eventually decided to write this post, just like how I decided to out myself to everyone I know when I was in my youth, because I believe people will accept me for the person I am and not base it on my sexuality. People who make pre-judgments would not really appreciate me for me anyway.

Lack of empathy

I do not think the new AWARE exco has once stopped to put themselves in the shoes of gay people, or in the shoes of those parents who have gay children. They simply do not understand or empathise and is only concerned on their own selfish agenda of doing things THEIR right way.

Think about those teens who are already confused about their sexuality prior to this whole AWARE saga and take a moment to imagine how they would feel now. Take their adolescent sensitivity into consideration, their pain of not being accepted by society and the people they love, and being labelled as abnormal, disgusting, and other tons of negative words the new exco and their church have used.

My Feelings & thoughts – whom they belong

I've always somehow prided myself on my emotions and imagination, thoughts and ideas. I could write, and still can, time permitting, pages after pages of words. I was the kid who kept asking for additional paper during examinations, much to the suspicion of the examiners. They raised their eyebrows when I asked for not one, not two, but like five pieces of additional paper, and would frown with concern when I would fall asleep after 30 minutes of writing. "Are you not feeling well", they would ask, and then looked in disbelief when I would sleepily show them the pieces of paper, messily stapled, but written to the maximum, on both sides.

There was this part of my brain that would seem to effortlessly string up the words, formulate the ideas, structure the thought-forms. Being able to write was my pride and joy, and was my much needed comfort when I did miserably with my math and science.

I have kept a journal for the longest time. In my childhood it was the traditional type that had a tiny lock and key, and when the internet age caught up I maintained an online locked journal, documenting my darkest, deepest thoughts and feelings. At the lowest points of my life, I would remember pouring my heart and soul into words, and somehow, someway, the dark clouds in my mind would automatically lift mid way through my writing. My thoughts seemed to straighten themselves out through my own written words, pointing out the silver lining or the wider perspective that I never seemed to notice prior to journaling.

Journaling was therapeutic, which I attributed to writing being able to sort out my thoughts in a clear and structured manner.

Communication of another dimension

Erin Pavlina's blog was the first blog I read that focused on spirituality. I remember having read about spirit guides somewhere before, but Erin's blog was, and still is, one of the most comprehensive resource on spirituality and spirit guides. I began to wonder about the existence of my own guide/guides, and of course, I have an un-quenchable curiosity of the unknown. I think most people would want to know what their own guides have to say.

And so the quest began. I tried guided meditations and visualisations, went to an angels workshop, tried to learn how to communicate with animals at an animal communication workshop, and tried guided meditations again. My mind is over-active, to the point whereby I suffer from chronic insomnia because I have a problem trying to shut it off. I realised I was not really good at visualising because my mind does not seem to like holding any images for more than a few seconds, before getting interrupted by a random thought. My mind runs so fast that I suspect I myself cannot catch up most of the time.

I did not seem to be able to get much results trying to communicate telepathically, be it with my dogs or attempting to connect to my guides. Was it because of a noisy mind, or some self doubt, or there was really a psychic block? Perhaps a combination of the mentioned.

Perhaps the answer is...

My curiosity perpetually seems to get the better of me as I reckoned since I could not connect to my guides on my own, I would still want to know more about them. Thus, I went ahead to order a spirit guides profile reading, and at around the same time tried the free mini reading by Anna Conlan, whereby she would be able to tell people what are their primary intuitive vehicle – clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience or claircognizance.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the reading from Anna tells me that my primary gift is clairsentience, followed by claircognizance. Basically I receive information through feelings, then through thoughts. The mini-reading re-affirmed my spirit guides reading (done by two separate lightworkers), which revealed that my primary guide works with my thoughts.

I cannot help but feel slightly amused, because all these while I have been expecting a vision or a voice in my head, when I should have just expected feelings and thoughts to come in.

Discernment

This is where the tricky part comes in. My primary guide has been with me all my life, I am so used to having wild, random or overactive thoughts in my head, I would not really know when is she dropping me hints. Yet I am certain of her presence, it is this sense of just knowing, because my intuition has always been my guiding light. I remember writing in a previous post, that somehow despite all those dark times, I have managed to be guided by some unknown source, there was always a flicker of hope and naive idealism, even at the lowest point of my life. All those times when I have been writing out my thoughts in my journal, have I been somewhat channeling someone else's thoughts?

Empathy – my gift or my curse

I can probably write a whole new post on the subject of empathy and how it influences my life. I used to believe that I am born a cry-baby. I cry a lot, I tear because I am touched to see old couples holding hands, I cry helplessly at poigant movies, I cry whenever I have to leave a stray dog or cat behind, sometimes I even have crying bouts for no reason, which I attributed to PMS.

My empathy has been a wonderful gift, I could totally understand and relate to what other people are going through when they are feeling down, I can feel what they feel. However, I did not think of it as a literal sense – literally feeling what others are feeling. I have attributed my empathy to the ability to perceive myself in people's shoes. That brings the understanding of people's situations, I thought I felt so much because I was just a natural emotional wreck. Wherever I went people just seem to enjoy confiding in me, and I seem to be able to provide fresh perspectives to their issues.

Yet it did not come without a price. I noticed myself feeling constantly drained, and I realised that I did not like to be in crowds. While people at my age enjoyed parties and social gatherings, I preferred to hole myself up at home, on the bed, and literally rest without moving an inch. This was way before my journey into spirituality and I had presumed that I was perhaps not a very sociable person.

Have I been unconsciously picking up thoughts and feelings of people? Is there a real reason why I seem to be constantly fatigued? Have I allowed people to freely feed on my energy?

Those times of depression, was I feeling down because of my own unhappiness, or have I just been soaking up people's feelings of unhappiness?

I do not have definite answers to these questions, not even after the psychic readings. However, I would definitely pay more attention to my thoughts and feelings from now on, that they may not truly belong to me, and I need to trust my intuition much more.

Next time I have this urge to do something, go to a bookstore to pick up a book, or to walk in a certain direction, I would probably heed it.

Gratitude

Though I am still hoping to see visions or hear voices in my head, I remain very thankful for my gifts, for they form the core of my being. I have been criticised as over-emotional, naive, delusional and illogical, but I would not have exchanged them for anything else. No amount of words can describe the feelings of joy when people tell me that I have been a comfort to them, or when I provide the unconventional perspective that perhaps they needed to see.

I look at where I am standing at my life now, none of these would have been possible if I had not been naive or over-emotional by most people's standards.