defragment.me

Looking forward to 2011

I've been writing customary annual review posts for this blog since it was incepted, it seems like I've been a little late this year. I was wondering if I should skip it entirely, for I was afraid that I will sound all doom and gloom. My mood during the transition from 2010 to 2011 wasn't very good, and I didn't want it to colour my perceptions for the new year.

To be honest, 2010 was quite crappy for me. I'll spare you the details since I've written plenty of longwinded posts about it. They say all things will come to pass, I have managed to survive it still, but I wouldn't have made it if not for the support from several key figures in my life. I know very well, that I am blessed.

From a philosophical point of view, I know adversities and change propel people forward in ways that couldn't have happened if they're stuck in a comfort zone. However, it is really difficult to keep my head afloat when just about everything seemed to go wrong. I pray for myself to get emotionally and mentally stronger everyday.

I am not sure if this bad patch has truly passed, it has lasted for more than a year now. I don't like feeling full of hope that it has passed only to realise that it was just wishful thinking. I don't want to live in my own self-fulfilling prophecy either, so all I can say is I am hoping to make the best out of everything that is given to me.

Nevertheless, 2010 was still a year that I can still be proud of. I've made my first real solo trip to Phuket and Khao Lak for three entire weeks. It was a trip that was very much necessary for me to pick up all the broken pieces. That was in May, then in August, I visit the Philippines and Taipei for the first time. Not bad at all I guess, for a travel addict. In the middle of it all, I've had two clairvoyant readings done for me, two attempted spiritual regression sessions, and one very special session where a third-party went into trance to connect to my subconscious. They were all mind-blowing for different reasons. I've also experienced a trance state for the first time in my life. That fleeting state of being connected to the Universe. These are experiences I would like to write about in detail, hopefully soon.

I've also tried a raw diet for the first time, which made me understand the importance of being truly in tune with what you truly want to do as opposed to things you try to accomplish because you think it is good for you. Did I lose you in the previous sentence? I'm trying to say, what ever new diet/regime/resolutions/goals we may have, we need to really want to do it, in fact, desire to do it from our inner-selves, else it wouldn't last long or be successful. I guess you can tell by now that the raw diet wasn't very successful for me. ;p

Despite having experienced tons of obstacles and disappointments, I still made a leap of faith in September when I came back from all that travelling. Sometimes I think I have a split personality. The paranoid one is constantly questioning the idealistic one for being crazy.

I wish the idealistic one will come out and play a little more, because if not for her, I would still be stuck in a job, enduring long working hours for minimal job satisfaction. Just that, I think the paranoid one has trouble coping with all the big decisions the idealistic one has made, there is a disconnect there that I have to bridge.

I have no idea what 2011 will bring me, this time I will have no expectations or resolutions unlike the previous years. I just want to live more in the present. I just want to fully experience life and not allow fear to consume me all the time. I also want to put my health as my main priority. You know those game characters with health bars? Mine has been borderline orange for the longest time, I would like to nurse it back to an all-healthy green bar. It keeps going back into the danger-red-zone because I never had enough time and space to be well before I had to face another stressful situation.

I thought I've over-dramatised my health issues until I can't feel my pulse anymore. I thought it was my imagination until the sinseh told me the same thing. Enduring too much stress, being unhappy and working too hard can really mess up your body. It is not worth it. I've never been the same person again since my body started acting up. Previous years I would be down with flus, fevers which lasted a couple of days max. In 2010, I've had a few week-long episodes of crippling migraine and chest pains, it wasn't funny. Nowadays, every time I don't get enough sleep or I seem to overwork my brain a little, I'll start to feel very sick. It feels like every single cell in my body is sick and I am really not kidding.

Talent and hard work can only bring me so far. There is no point in all of these if I can't even enjoy the simple pleasures in life. I don't seem to be blessed with those infallible bodies some of my peers seem to have. I take this as a sign, there is something with my life that I have to fix.

I found this article a couple of days back which was very timely. There's this part which says:

Baby mammals, including humans, learn by playing, which is why "the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." Boys who'd spent years strategizing for fun gained instinctive skills to handle real-world situations. So play as you did in childhood, with all-out absorption. Watch for ways your childhood playing skills can solve a problem. Play, not work, is the key to success.

I do believe in finding that sweet spot when work doesn't feel like work anymore. I've seen people experiencing that zone, whereby they spend hours doing something someone else would feel tedious, yet they seem like they're in their own happy bubble.

I would like to fix my health first, and if I don't sound too greedy, I would really like to find my own happy bubble.

I really don't dream of being a millionaire, owning a huge house with a swimming pool, or driving a sports car. I can even give up my dream of jetsetting around the world. All I want, is to be able to indulge in the present and enjoy whatever I am doing. I don't have to be flying across half the world to feel happiness. I can be happy simply by having the ability to walk freely. You have no idea how much I treasure my migraine-free status now.

It is just sometimes my paranoid and insecure pysche messes me up, I get so caught up in the stress and my lack of accomplishments that I forget, how precious it is to be able to be healthy. Just to be able to have a painless head, or a digestive system that allows you to savour food.

I hope by next year on this day, I'll be looking back in 2011 smiling at my own efforts to push myself into a better place. I would understand if I don't eventually succeed, but I would be mad at myself if I don't even have the will to try.

I guess till date, I do mope and feel down, but somehow the little hope in me is still there. There have been dark days when I really feel that I don't wish to participate in evolution anymore, when happiness and love doesn't seem enough of a motivation to live. Wanting to die is not as bad as ceasing to live. When you want to die, there's still something that you are trying to do for yourself. When you cease to live, you simply give up hope. Life or death means nothing. Happiness or sorrow means nothing.

I don't ever want to feel that way again.

With this, I look forward to this new year, wishing that I'll have the courage and conviction to face any adversity that may come, the awareness to enjoy happiness when it is here with me. I wish that I can be always honest in writing this blog, stay true to myself by being longwinded if I want to (lol), have a lot of heart in whatever I do, don't be afraid to take risks or make mistakes.

Happy 2011. :)

Energy, or the lack of

One of the promises I kept making to myself and breaking was to make a sustained effort to exercise more.

I've always been feeling tired. Even when I was a child. I disliked to do anything that required an ounce of physical effort because I am just too tired to do so. I hated Physical Education classes more than Math.

Inspired by Sport

It just occured to me while waiting for the train today while feeling totally drained, no matter how much discomfort I am in, trying to make some effort to gain some energy, it wouldn't be that bad compared to an athelete recovering from a long term injury, for example. I think I had this epiphany while watching football. There are plenty of football players who had suffered from serious career-threatening injuries and had to rehabilitate for a year or more. Typically after surgeries, they have to recover almost literally inch by inch, from letting the wounds heal, to doing a lot of gym work to grow their muscles back, to gaining match fitness. I can actually imagine how much physical and mental pain they have to go through.

Recovery from injuries are not the only example. I have to admire footballers like David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, not because they have great looks and to-die-for bodies, but they are known to train harder than anyone from their teams. How many people know of this fact? Do they know why Beckham's freekicks are so eerily accurate? He actually practiced them everyday, by trying to send the ball through a spare tyre hanging at the corner of the goalposts.

The best example in football today has to be Darren Fletcher. I have to admit, along with many other Manchester United fans, that we moaned each time we used to see his name on the team sheet. He cannot dribble, he can't make 60-yard passes like Beckham, he basically didn't know how to attack. All he had was stamina, but he couldn't even be a proper defensive midfielder because he was simply too thin and scrawny. We had no idea what did Ferguson see in him.

He has come a long way. He went through some metamorphosis and he is probably the first name on the team sheet if he is fit. I read an interview of him a while back, and he attributed his success to gym work. The Manchester United trainer asked him to be inspired by Ronaldo – Ronaldo was the fittest player in the team (before he went to Madrid and got cursed by a witch lol) and that was because he put in extra hours to train at the gym everyday. Fletcher admitted that he did not enjoy the gym work, but he knew he had to do it if he wanted to prove himself.

That is my epiphany.

That bit of dedication

I hated to exercise because I didn't like how it feels. But I've neglected to see the bigger picture. That in order to accomplish goals, there must be stamina. Stamina to carry on when the going gets tough (which is like always).  And stamina doesn't simply appear. It has to be acquired. By sheer hard work and dedication.

I have entirely missed the point for the past 28 years. I thought that as long as I invested my time and effort into my work, I would see some form of success. However, I did not have enough stamina to push myself through when it got tough, I came through it eventually, but it took a lot out of me. Instead of drawing from my strength, I drew from whatever else I had – and that drained the life out of me.

This is not only about having enough energy to carry on the work, it is about having the stamina to have the clarity when making crucial judgments. To nurture creativity. Nobody can create when they are tired.

I cringe when I think about doing all that manual work, but honestly, if I don't invest time and effort in myself, nobody will. Thus, this morning, despite not sleeping well the previous night, I flipped a switch in my head and coerced myself to go for a swim. I was on the verge of not going because I badly wanted to sleep, but I reminded myself of athletes again. I am sure many of them on plenty of days do not feel like training but they do it anyhow.

I always tell friends that what defines a good relationship is not how good two people are together, it is actually how they ride out the tough times together. Now, I have come to realise (yes, albeit slowly again), that what separates people who achieve their dreams/goals from those who don't, is that bit of dedication. The willingness to work on things even if you don't feel like it.

Having ideas is just probably 10% of the war won. The difficult part comes in the execution. And that is where most people fail.

If I want more energy, then I just have to work hard for it. It won't just appear out of nowhere.

I only did 5 laps and some sun tanning, which thereafter I felt like my body no longer belonged to me because it has been eons since I did any exercise. But I have faith that I will get only stronger with time. If the universe permits. Baby steps are better than none.

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.

Getting out of my comfort zone

Hugs exchanged and tears shed at the airport yesterday when we sent off my cousin to Brisbane as she embarked on a whole new journey in her life. This is the same cousin who grew up with me during my formative years as we both shared the same interests and were labelled the rebellious ones in our families in our youths. She is eight years my senior, but that never seemed to be an issue when we exchanged heart to heart talks that were so important during those times when there seemed like no one could or would understand.

It was a strange relationship, because she was the anti-social one in the family while I was the young, pesky, attention-seeking eight year old when we first shared one of those lengthy conversations about life in general. Nobody would have expected our special bond, because she seemed intent on getting rid of me and gave me poisonous, evil stares during my early childhood while being under her mother's foster care.

I shed tears when she was going through the departure gates yesterday, not because I would miss her or that I could not bear to see her leave, but the sight of seeing my aunt having to part with her beloved daughter broke my heart. Five years. My aunt would no longer be able to dish out long nagging sessions of concern or cook special dishes for her daughter for five long years. Five years are like five eons to a mother.

It must have been hard. To make this decison to do her part for her love of animals, and having to leave her close-knitted family behind, having to bear witness to all the tears and the knowledge of her parents are both getting on in years.

But she did it.

The same cousin who loves routines, enjoys stability, needs security, and dislikes change – made this decision despite the difficulties. The same person who still keeps her childhood toys in pristine condition.

The irony of myself

I woke up today feeling upset, and I suspect it is not so much out of the sadness of seeing her leave. It was more of being upset with myself, because I know I can no longer hide behind my excuses and so-called worries when someone who has been so resistant to change in her life has gone ahead of me to create this change in her life. Not for more money, not for a better life nor ambition – but for her deep love of animals.

And me, who has been telling everyone who would listen that I want to be a nomad and explore new avenues, is the one who seems to be unwilling to leave the comfort zone and uproot my feet from the stable ground. Me, the person who goes around telling people that change is constant and everything is transient, that life is short and we should all live life to the fullest, is now the one fearful and apprehensive about taking big steps out.

My cousin, the person I least expected – served as a loud reminder for me to stop the procrastination over my travel plans.

I am not sure why. Is it because I am afraid to lose whatever that I have so painstakingly built over these recent years? Is it because I had nothing to my name all my life so I was never afraid of change, and now that I am slowly building my life up, I am no longer willing be a risk-taker anymore? Isn't it ironic that I am in the fortunate position I am in now because I was not afraid of risks and change, and now that I am starting to see the fruits of my labour, I have started to develop a paranoid, insecure complex?

The intricate balance

Where is that intricate balance between wanting to experience life to the fullest and yet able to ensure that I do not have to rely on government aid when I am old?

This is a huge learning process for me, to find that intricate balance. To not be afraid of owning possessions and committing myself to long-term plans and yet not be fearful when I lose these possessions or my plans do not work out the way I want them to be. I used to be money-wary, thinking that having too much of it will cripple my life or that it will have a negative influence on me, but I realised that I should welcome the presence of it to my life, because it will enable me to help those who are not able to generate income on their own (like animals). I was also commitment phobic, but I also learnt through the hard way that a certain amount of commitment is needed for the fulfillment of goals.

I really do not want to be hoarding on to any material possessions to get a sense of security because I know that that sense of security is nothing but an illusion. The aries (sun sign) in me is like shouting in my head to just do what my heart requires but the insecure taurus (my moon sign) is telling me that I have to hoard for a rainy day.

The amusing part comes in when I actually know the answers to my issues. Even if I hoard everything for a rainy day, some external event (like the economy collapsing – no longer so far-fetched) can happen to take that all away, so the reality is I have no control over my possessions; I may as well follow my heart. I actually know these at the back of my head, but somehow I find myself slipping into that insecure state of mind every now and then.

Faith is all I need

Undiluted faith is all that I need, the faith that by following my heart, and by trying to fulfill my purpose in life, that everything will turn out the way it is meant to be. At least if the day comes when I have to struggle to death without a penny to my name, at least I am comforted with the knowledge that I have not lived my life in vain.