Tag Archive | growth

Releasing 2015

There’s a sense of new hope as I woke on the final day of 2015. The arbitrary calendar date somehow offers a symbolic permission to unload all the dread and anxiety I’ve carried on my shoulders this year. Despite the grand intentions set at the beginning, there were parts of the year that were just fucking miserable. Truth is in 2015, I reached one of my lowest points in life where there seemed to be nothing but self-loathing, denial, irresponsible self-destructive indulgence, self-doubt, and depression. And it was all my fault.

The lows made me fail to acknowledge the great events and achievements: moving out of the family home, volunteering for lifeline, managing chaos at work, remaining inspired in early childhood education and spreading the love, trying pole, discovering Kizomba, meeting new people and connecting with old friends, eating relatively well, pulling off graduation and making a crowd of parents cry, visiting Southeast Asia and seeing Ang Kor Wat…

Even as I go to list these events, my mind is constantly pulled to magnify the failures: the broken hearts, the harsh words, the let downs, the apathetic absences, the irresponsible inconsistencies, and the inability to remain committed to anything……… 

Ugh! I need an upgrade. I need to reprogram my brain so that the lens I see through, the words I use, the goals I set, and the way I connect with people are authentic, graceful, and nourishing for the soul.

2016 will be a humbling (yet ass-kicking) year for learning, looking inwards and increasing the frequency of my vibrations! I can do this. I have to. I will.

no more hiding

Truth be told, I was quite scared to be in Sydney on this day. So I planned a holiday, to hide from all that’s messed up in my life this year. Mess, that I didn’t want to face, didn’t want to deal with. 

For me, birthdays have always been a time for reflection. Naturally I’m forced to really evaluate all that’s happened since my last birthday. Yes I’ve made questionable choices this year. I’ve been isolating myself and pushing friends away. I’ve been less than honest at times and have allowed negative emotions to ride me down destructive paths. 

Yet when I finally face all the things that hurt and accept the darkness as a part of what makes up the whole, I’m able to see clearer. This year has been a blessing. A year of change and immense growth. Moving away from the family house and discarding their belongings, challenging myself with a new role at work, picking up (and giving up) pole dancing, volunteering for lifeline, falling in love with Kizomba, and finally travelling to South East Asia… Goals were set and completed, I learnt, I grew, I’d like to say for the better. 

I’ve been lucky. There was a time when I was falling. So much that getting out of bed became a problem on weekends. Yet a couple of weeks into that, renovations for the apartment upstairs began. There was drilling, hammering, loud enough to vibrate the walls. It physically pained me and pushed me outdoors, where sunshine and nature saved me by giving me enough motivation to start saving myself. Transition that pushed me back up. 

It hasn’t been the easiest year, yet when I reflect back, I am humbled and amazed by all the people that have given me their time to connect with me. If it weren’t for the people who helped me move, I would be in way over my head and drowned in my family’s things. If it weren’t for the genuine smiles and conversations that happened throughout the year, my soul would have shrivelled.

So I’m grateful for all the people who have made the effort to share moments with me. To you it may have been a simple drink, or meal, or just a conversation in passing; but it may have been powerful enough to charge my faulty battery, carrying me to the next day. 

For all the people who have connected with me deeper, I’m so grateful for the depth you’ve allowed yourself to go with me. I’ll admit I can be a pretty intense person, so thank you for fulfilling that craving to intertwine on an emotional, mental, or spiritual level.

For all the people who have shared a dance or two with me, please know that each dance is truly appreciated. It’s become such an important, uplifting part of my life. Thank you for making that possible!

As for all the mess that I’ve been in…. Well, I’ve come around to recognise it as character building. So all in all, a very valuable year. I just hope this next one doesn’t require as much struggle.

Much love. 

X

Come What May

Try new things.  Go somewhere you’ve never been before.  Talk to strangers.  Do something you’re afraid of.

Why is it that so often we’re told to “step out of our comfort zone”?

It’s all good in theory, and I’ve always pushed myself to do these things simply because I enjoyed pushing my boundaries.  Yet only recently have I begun to see the benefits come to fruition in my own life.  By exposing ourselves to new experiences, we’re giving our brain weight training and growing those thinking muscles.  Simply put, our brains grow by making new connections.  I don’t know about others, but learning gives me a high much like exercise.

Not only that, when we get into the habit of constantly having to adapt to new things, we gain something invaluable – confidence.  We come to trust our abilities in foreign environments, believe that we can come up with solutions to new problems, and remain calm in unexpected situations.

This is where you may want to raise examples from work, apply it to business situations and write motivational mantras.  Sure, I can relate this to freak situations at work, or travel, or spirituality and personal growth.  But what inspired me to write this post, (as always), was when my friend bombarded me with a series of “what-if” relationship questions.  What if down the track things change; what if it doesn’t turn out the way you think; what if your feelings change… What if, what if, what if…

And I took time to consider each scenario seriously as they were presented – I never dismiss my friends lightly, I know they’re always looking out for me.  Yet my answers were always clear and resolute, full of belief and hope.  When asked “how do you know?”, I searched my brain, but could only come up with “I just know”.

It comes from a deeply embedded confidence that no matter what comes my way, I’ll find the courage to see the silver lining, the strength to tackle it head on, and the flexibility to make room for it in my life.  I don’t know why I have this confidence, perhaps I am naive, perhaps I am ignorant, perhaps I’m just living in a delusional denial in a warped universe.  But perhaps, through all the shit I’ve encountered, I’ve come to realise the world will never end, and I can handle whatever life throws at me.

So to all my friends still lacking confidence to believe in themselves:  Try new things. Go somewhere you’ve never been before. Talk to strangers. Do something you’re afraid of.

Perhaps then, your hypothetical questions will no longer be answered with “I don’t know”.
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Never Ready

A great sense of loss and grief took me over as quick as the storm clouds that darkened the skies this afternoon.  I always knew it would come one day.  I understood it conceptually, empathised logically; but my heart was never ready for this eventuality.

Goodbyes were said in lots of loving cuddles yesterday.  Yet it wasn’t until today, when I saw her friends wondering the playground without her, that it really hit.  Amelie has graduated from us.  For personal reasons it was her last day yesterday, after 5 years being in the centre.  I was only there for the last one and a half…  But she was there 5 days a week.  Always with bright smiles and her wonderfully warm, kind, beautiful personality.

Oh Amelie…  How it was a pleasure to have watched you mature and grow.  I still remember you were so shy to greet me in front of your mums at first…  Yet we bonded straight away – naturally, because we practically had the same name!

Amelie, I was there to sooth your cries.  I was there to clean you up when you’ve made a mess.  I was there to facilitate your social interactions – a little nudge here and there gave you confidence to flourish.  I was there to observe and celebrate your achievements – and how proud I am of all that you’ve become!

Yet you know what?  It was your openness and acceptance that helped ME when I was down.  The love you were used to getting, the love you drew from me, saved me from being helpless and lost.  Your genuine kindness and the care you have for your peers, remind me to be more gentle.  And the way you strive to search for exploration and learning – it inspires me to try harder to be a better teacher for you.

I guess I never held back.  I gave as much love as I could, and in return, received much more.  Hence the sense of loss…  I’m happy that she’s all grown up and ready for school – I know she’ll do very well.  Yet I know I will always remember her smile and miss her cuddles.

To pick myself up from this and to continue giving these children love.  To know that they would not remember me, yet strive to shape and facilitate their growth…  Perhaps this is the hardest struggle for preschool teachers.  Yet how fortunate I am, to be in this amazing position to influence so many young minds and souls…..

Thank you for the privilege.  You are all my angels.

(And to think I haven’t even been teaching Amelie this year!  I was her teacher last year and stayed in the 3-4 year old room in 2014.  Next year though, I’m moving up to the preschool room with this lot…  Oh 2015 is definitely going to be an emotional one!)

(Not really sure why I made myself watch “What Maisie Knew” as well as “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” today… Had me balling my eyes out.)

Fear of ginger

Growing up, I was a very picky and annoyingly fussy eater.  I had many aversions, the most severe of which was towards ginger.  Now that posed a lot of problems for me as an Asian kid… Especially when we have seafood.  Practically EVERY SINGLE SEAFOOD DISH in Chinese food has ginger in it.

Mum used to try to hide it, take the ginger out before putting it on the table.  But she never fooled me!  Nop.  Even if that one tiny slice of ginger is invisible, it had done its damage to the dish and now “ruined” in my stubborn little mind.  I would spit the food out and outright refuse to take another bite of the dish… Oh the wonderful seafood I must have missed out on!

This ‘sensitivity’ continued for years, decades, even after I’ve grown to love garlic and onion and all the other things I used to avoid as a kid.  I still frowned at the sight of ginger slices in any dish and sneered upon all ginger-flavoured foods including ginger beer and gingerbread.  The thought of having to put ginger in my own cooking was always a struggle… Until recently.

For some strange unknown reason, 2014 keeps bringing breakthroughs.  One day, I just decided I’m no longer gonna let this ginger aversion define me.  I began using ginger in my soups, roasts and stir-fries.  I even put sliced ginger in my thermos drink bottle (along with goji, red dates and ginseng).  Mum has been nagging me for years on the basis of chinese medicine, how ginger warms the body, is great for neutralising the ‘cold’ in our energy system etc etc.  Well, mum, I’m gonna conduct an experiment on myself to see if it’s true.  I will drink this concoction of “things that are good for you” daily and put ginger in as many dishes as realistic… And we shall wait and see if my circulation magically improves!

Even if nothing happens… I’m kinda just proud to have eliminated a daunting fear that’s terrorised my childhood dining experience.  Liberating.

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[Day 37 minus 1] Once upon a time

Part of reflecting requires harsh, brutal honesty through which you pick off the old scabs, dig at the pink scars, and look at the bloody, ugly truth in your past.

I was once very proud of how much I could “sacrifice” for love.  I thought by placing the other person’s happiness (and convenience) first, they would see how much I loved them and would cherish me.  So I’d stay up to talk, even though I’d be micro sleeping all day afterwards.  I’d make my own public transport way just to save him “the hassle” of having to get me, even though it takes twice as long.  I’d do all the chores in their house, I’d spend my ridiculously tiny savings on them, and I’d put up with anything as long as it made them happy… Watch scary movies, stay home and do nothing, be everything that they wanted me to be even though it wasn’t really me…

It was an intense and heavy love.  Now that I look back, I am completely horrified.  Who wants someone that doesn’t know how to take care of themselves?  What a burden young Emi placed on her lovers.  How much pressure they must have felt to have my world revolve around them.  Who was I to judge what it was they needed and wanted?  Living in comfort and convenience never lead to much growth – why hold people back?  I wouldn’t date little Emi from 10 years ago… {Bless the brave souls that did.  Thank you for putting up with her.}

I am now much more in control of my own happiness and prioritise it.  I believe you have to take care of yourself (physically, emotionally, spiritually) before you can take care of another.

I believe in living your own lives and sharing the journey together.  Your path is yours to walk on alone, but I can walk along side you on my path, and we can walk hand in hand without stepping over each other.

I believe in giving each other the opportunity to contribute to your happiness.  Allow people to do things for you – it will make both of you happier : )

I believe in sharing the work.  Life is dynamic, and you need to be there when the other person is down and vice versa.  Maintaining a relationship requires both parties to put in effort, and it won’t always be equal, but you should take turns in being on top ; )

Sure, I still believe in sacrifices and compromises.  But I am much better at gauging “the point of resentment” where I begin to keep something in my mind, write a mental list, and bring it up during the next opportune moment.  I don’t really like that or want to be doing that.  I don’t want to over-sacrifice or compromise that I start building a resentment towards the other person…

No longer convincing myself my happiness depend on another – I now believe in creating your own happiness so you can share it with others!

Perhaps it will come back… That type of sacrificial love often happens in a parent-child relationship.  But I will strive to keep reminding myself to be the one to stimulate, not sculpt.  Whether it is my partner or my children, I want to be part of the drive that make them want to be better.  I’d rather inspire than push or shove.  Allowing freedom to make mistake means no restrictions in how much they can grow.

I’d like to think I know better now.  I have grown to have respect for others, and respect for myself.  By putting myself first and making myself happy, I am liberating my love and giving it wings to soar.

Fly high Emi.