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. :)

Action plan for change

I’ve been in a state of limbo for the whole of 2010 – a year which I thought will bring tons of positive developments to my life, after all the groundwork I’ve put in for the past couple of years. The previous year in 2009 I have been hard at work to try and curb all my personal fears and issues in order to give myself the platform that I need to pursue my various goals in life. I’ve took the step out to:

  • write openly about my low self-esteem
  • end my hermit-dom (aka social phobia) and meet people from my online social circles which cumulated into attending an industry event full of 200 over people I don’t know
  • start travelling solo which ended up my life-long fear of sleeping in the dark & various paranoias of being alone in a foreign land
  • take various metaphysical courses which have always been an interest that I’ve put aside for ‘proper’ work

Life can only get better I thought since I’d gradually overcome the issue that was affecting me the post – myself.

This was a significant life-lesson to me, never be complacent and expect things to run smoothly within your expectations, ever. Life always has this uncanny ability to throw us curveballs when we least expect it.

Background story

So, the story of 2010 can be broken down in 3-month parts from January to September.

First 3 months was spent in anxiety and denial about the situation which transformed to a delayed reaction of anger and it ended up with myself breaking down physically, mentally and emotionally. I can’t really write about the actual situation itself, except that it involved me having to shift my entire plans for this year which included a drastic breakdown of a relationship that was very dear to me. Having a fear of conflict didn’t help as I tried desperately for it not to evolve into a conflict and it backfired instead for all parties involved as buried feelings and forgotten childhood hurt rose to the surface.

On the surface, the situation is not that big a deal. I think it could be difficult for people to understand why it affected me so much. I actually didn’t understand it myself and it contributed to the worsening of the situation as I repeatedly asked myself whether I was over-reacting. On hindsight, I think I was just very weary of fighting similar battles in my life – I had this feeling that I’ve spent all my life fighting, and just when I thought the worst is long over, everything crumbled again. It drove me into feelings of helplessness, self-resentment, half wondering if I didn’t try hard enough, and half wondering if the Universe was intent to make a joke out of me. I have done my best, but my best just wasn’t enough. It seemed like no matter what I did was enough to earn me a period of peace and quiet.

The second 3-month period was spent cleaning up the mess as I gathered every last bit of my sanity and energy to rationally handle my responsibilities. I was blessed because most of my clients understood as I tried to make my poor health and emotions take a backseat.

It wasn’t just poor health and unstable emotions though, it was a loss of something that makes me never ever want to feel that way again. I lost my enthusiasm for life. Even travelling didn’t help me feel better, but what it did was to give me the space I needed to pick up the pieces, thankfully.

The final 3 months of June to September I spent trying to heal. I was able to stop working for at least a month from mid august to mid september. I went through several transformative experiences during this period and I would like to write about it in the near future.

I came back in mid-september and amusingly (it is amusing to me now) went through another stressful period house-hunting, dealing with awful property agents, feeling anxious about my housing-budget, packing and finally moving.

I am back to the physical state I was before my travels, tired. But this time it is different. I am carrying the same physical fatigue, but my mindset is totally switched. If I cannot control my external circumstances, I may at least be in the optimum state to deal with it.

I thought it would be good to share my action plan with all of you (as well as a reminder to myself). I no longer want to give myself excuses or be in denial about myself.

1. Build my fitness

I’ve always suffered from a chronic lack of energy and I wonder if I was predisposed to it. I guess I will only know if I actually did try to make an effort to build my fitness. I admit I don’t exercise much and I should. Now with a swimming pool near me, I really have no excuses. Water calms me down as well. I forgot to mention building my fitness involves taking greater care of my diet.

2. Learn to calm my mind

I think this is closely related to the one above, I guess if I am always twitching with nervous energy from lack of exercise, then I cannot really blame my mind for going wild. Will like to try regular meditation practice as well.

3. Condition my mind

I suffer from fear and anxiety in relation to several issues that are no longer relevant to me but I still suffer the long-term effects of having to cope with (or run away) from these issues for so long. For example, I have absolute faith in the Universe’s integrity yet my mind tries to make me paranoid because of the fear of lack. I know security is an illusion and yet sometimes I unconsciously strive towards it. I want to truly live in the now, make the best of each and every moment instead of worrying about some event in the future that may never happen. All things shall come to pass.

4. Practice detachment

This is also closely related to point 3. The reason why I am prone to depression, anxiety, fear (apart from possible faulty genes) is because I tend to feel emotional about anything and everything. I am proud of being emotionally sensitive, but it gets to the point whereby I don’t stand up for myself or my mood gets affected feeling upset about something that I should not get upset with, if only I can put aside my emotions to gain a clearer perspective.

5. Trust

I suffer from an immense distrust in myself because of what happened in the first 3 months of 2010. I have this paranoia that my breakdown will happen again. I find it difficult to trust myself to rise from adversity. There is no reason to feel that way if I do my best to manage myself well. The worst situation can happen but I have no reason to fear if I truly believe in myself and the Universe.

At least I’ve tried

Despite of what had happened, one belief has never changed. I rather die trying than to never have tried before.

Adversity happens for a reason. I now look back and realise that the events were immensely beneficial to my growth. If everything went as smoothly as expected, I wouldn’t have the time to reflect on what truly matters. I also wouldn’t have been pushed to such a corner – to make drastic changes to my life. I wouldn’t have been reminded again that never to put all your eggs in one basket, we need to constantly renew and rejuvenate ourselves in order to stay progressive in life. The pursuit of security is a tiring, endless and fruitless game. Think about it, the Universe has ways to take away your comfort, money, anything whenever it wants. The point is to make the best out of every moment. Keep the faith.