Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Looking out from the inside

Lately the depression returned.  Most of the time I feel somewhat normal, yet not quite. Can one laugh yet immediately feel a force within clamping it down? Can one start to cry yet immediately feeling the same force pushing it away? Can one actually stop thinking? Sometimes I lose the ability to think. Literally. My mind draws a blank. Except that the only thought is, 'think, come on, think! i want to respond to this and i know i can, but why is nothing coming up?' And then frustration. Hopelessness. Despair. Especially in situations where one needs to think, like at work. Or helping a friend. Talking to people. Can one really walk around like a shell, no feelings, no particular opinion, no thoughts? Can one start to break down in the middle of nowhere, with no prompt, with no indication of an end to the tears? Can one want so badly to seek company, yet want to be alone? Can one desire to be just alone, yet want to be in the midst of company?
Yup, all possible. Some people say, just try to think happy thoughts, stop being so negative, be happy! But how, when things that used to make you happy, or are supposed to happy, don't even elicit that emotion in you? 

"I know I feel dead because I can't express myself fully. But why can't I and why don't I allow myself to? Only God knows and I don't know how to start finding the answer, neither can I start to express myself in the way that I want. It's very frustrating and I feel like I'm dying inside with every moment. It's like I want to get out yet I don't want to. I just want to hide away and cry the days away right now. That's pretty much all I want to do at the moment. Not going to xmas parties, not meeting people, not going to work, not going to eat, not even eating. Is that what this whole depression episode is about? Is this how it is manifesting itself at the moment? Who will pull me out of it this time? When will it end? How will it end? I just don't know and that is scary. It feels like it'll never end and I'm scared, if fear is even an emotion I am capable of feeling at the moment. Can I even feel? Do I feel joy? Joy comes up, if only just a little, when I hear about your day, and then it fades away. There's nothing to grab onto, nothing that stays. What remains is emptiness and an empty shell in which I reside, an empty shell from which I am looking out into the world. A world where one feels like there is a glass sphere which traps you and you just can't get out. And there doesn't seem to be a way out. You see where you want to be but it's on the other side of where you are, and there's no opening, no crack through which you might even start to escape"

Enough. I've had enough. And this is one of the ways I'm fighting back. Sharing my story. Coming out of the closet. Releasing the shame. Reaching out to you who may be feeling or have felt the same. Written above in parentheses is how it felt like today. I had to text E about it. I couldn't hide it away anymore. I can't deny it and pretend that I am OK when I am clearly not OK. It is paralyzing and suffocating and overwhelming. And this is not how I want to live the rest of my life. Some people say, sometimes you just got to hit rock bottom before you start to bounce back. I guess I did. I reached breaking point and decided I had to do something about it. Just like the last three times (how could I ever have forgotten?). This time I am telling my close friends about it before it was over. Heck, I even told my boss about it. I had to let it out, find a means to express myself, stop being ashamed of it. And expressing did help. Admitting that something is off helps. It's not completely gone, the despair. But I think the hopelessness is fading away. I think I feel more meaning in my life now (more, meaning greater than zero, which is great!). The shame is still there. There's still the, how did you let this happen to you? This only happens to weaklings. You have no time to be weak. You don't have the luxury to.
But you know what? I'm not alone. I know because I walk along a close friend who is going through the exact same thing. This girl is beautiful. She is funny, smart, a dancer, and definitely not a weakling. And we randomly start crying together. And that helps me feel somewhat better. or worse. whatever. I felt something. It was complex but at least it was a feeling. Not dead space. Maybe it's a good start. But evidently I'm still all over the place. 

Letting myself be alone and then asking for company from S who doesn't need me to talk, when I don't have the mental or physical capacity to, also helped. Crying over that animals being slaughtered and tortured helped. Crying over a birthday card from my dear friend helped. Being myself and letting myself be me helped. 
When I stop trying so hard to be who I'm not, it helps. So much. A great weight lifted off my chest. Until, of course, the facade returns out of habit, because somehow it doesn't feel safe to be me. How did this happen? I have no idea. But at least I'm taking baby steps toward learning to finally be me. When I let myself be me, the depression goes away.

Exercise does help, surprisingly. Even a 300m jog with my mum, though she had to coax me out of the house to take a walk. Or a walk to the train station, or running in the rain. I guess endorphins do help.

Finally, God helped. When you learn that Someone somewhere is walking alongside with you and is OK with you being the way you are, who still loves you and will hold you until you're ready to walk out of it without trying to fix you, and is just waiting to receive you on the other side, somehow it makes being messed up a little more OK. E does just that too (even though it's still so hard to believe that this is real). But I guess sometimes God reaches out to us through those around us, to remind us that we can and will still be loved even when we feel the farthest end of the spectrum from perfect.

And then slowly but surely, you start to become a little more OK.

Just a snapshot of how it feels like, looking out from the inside. 

Monday, 31 August 2015

Every moment is a second chance

copyright of Brendon Burchard
Ever felt bad about a mistake you made, or something you could have done better? Sometimes it's easy to dwell on the past, spending way too much time and energy on guilt and regret. You don't have to live this way though. We all slip up once in a while! Instead of beating yourself up for not knowing or doing better, why not take the stance that every moment is a second chance at doing what is right? When we are mindful, every next moment is an opportunity to return to the more loving path (for yourself and others), an opportunity to right a wrong. Life is full of second chances. Don't live in the past. Learn from it, and live in the present. =)

Monday, 17 August 2015

I don't need a prince, I want a king

When I was a little girl, I was a big fan of Disney Princess movies. Like many others, I was enarmored by the idea of a Prince Charming sweeping me off my feet, saving me from pain and hurt, protecting me from the harsh world. 

He would be strong and kind always, intelligent, witty and handsome. He would keep all his promises. He could do no wrong.
Likewise, I, as his princess, would be forever beautiful in his eyes, smart, pretty, and a good wife.
As you can tell, there was no room for error.

I had some growing up to do.
Thank goodness I did.
And thank goodness E showed me how much I've changed.

I don't need a Prince Charming to save me; I want a King to walk beside me.

I don't need someone to save me; I can save myself. 
Even if I alone cannot help myself, I can do so by accepting help from others. 
Unlike a dragon-slaying prince, my king wouldn't want to protect me from everything. Even if he did, he would do so in an empowering way, assisting me as I carve out my own path in my own way. He believes in my strength and my ability to figure things out eventually. He believes in me. 

Someone once said that, a good relationship is not one where two people gaze into each others' eyes, but one where they stand hand in hand facing the world together. 

As much as he is my warrior in arms, my king is not perfect either.
He will have his weak moments. He may crumble and fall sometimes. But that's what I am here for, as he is for me. We help each other stand back up. While he may face the need to appear infallible out in the world, he does not need to always be strong before me. We can show our weaknesses to each other, taking comfort in the knowledge that, despite the potential discomfort with realizing our unglamorous sides, we can and will be accepted and loved by the other. Even though deciding to be vulnerable can be difficult at times, we take faith, and will have that faith often renewed (if not always), in the space that is held by the other. The kind of space that is nurtured by love, patience and understanding. An understanding that none of us is perfect, and that we are both trying our best to be the best we can be. This space assures us that, even though one of us may run and hide because we feel afraid, the other person will be on the other side with arms wide open, waiting for him/her to open up again and work through our fears and insecurities together. 

"When you are king, dilly dilly, I shall be queen" (Lavender's Blue)

My king helps the queen inside me to shine. 
While we may all still have elements of a child within us -- throwing tantrums when upset at not having things go our way, or even acting in hurtful ways when hurt or afraid -- through communication I am learning to turn back from the ledge of allowing my emotions to take over in ways that may result in damaging behavior, learning to come to terms with and manage the same emotions. Through encountering his inner child I have discovered the extent of loving kindness I am capable of giving, more than I imagined I could. Through patience I remember that life is not a battle that I am fighting alone. Through acceptance I remember that life is not made of promises, past or future, but of present moments that we create and treasure. Through understanding I am able to tap into the immense well of love that I have within for him, for family, for friends and for myself. 
Through his love and in loving myself I am growing and learning. He does not require me to be anything else other than myself. I am perfectly imperfect in his eyes, and that is enough for him to love me. There is no need to prove myself to be anything, no need to achieve or do anything to be reason to be loved. I am reason enough to be loved. Through this love I am given the space to explore and create the me that I myself truly want to be. 

Through him, through us and through myself, he supports me in becoming the woman I can be. 

"When I am queen, dilly dilly, you shall be king"

And likewise, I do the same for him too. 


Love you, E. =)

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Being real

I will be moving across the world in two days. 
For a long time, I felt nothing about my move. Literally nothing. No excitement, no sadness. Just neutral. All I thought was, 'Well, moving is normal, all a part of life. Just one adventure ending, another one starting. What is there to be sad about?' In actual fact, I had numbed myself, shutting my emotions away so that I wouldn't feel sad about moving yet again to another country, leaving behind beloved friends and colleagues, a man whom I have come to deeply love, his dog, my second family of close friends, 'nieces, sisters and brothers', and a place that I have grown to love and wish to live in for the rest of my life. 
For a long time, despite spending my time finishing up the work I have left here, spending time with friends, and exploring places that I won't be seeing for a while, there was always an element of doing things 'just because'. It never really felt real enough, nor deep enough, often simply a skimming-the-surface kind of feeling. I always felt like there was something missing, but what was it? Why is it not enough to spend the days in fun and laughter, in enjoyment of people and things? What would I want to be anything other than calm, positive, and upbeat? 
Because, sometimes, it simply felt.. mechanical. I was living within a shell of 'happy!! I'm-doing-totally-fine!! Everything's great!', when in fact I had blocked off a part of me inside. The part of me that feels hurt, sadness, longing, regret, anger, and disappointment. That very part of me that is associated with what may be labeled as 'negative' emotions. As I reflect on this, I wonder if, in my recent efforts to become a happier and more positive person, I had even attempted to kill off that part of me.
The turning point came when I realized that I had stopped being able to cry. Being a sensitive individual, sentimental events would often bring up tears in my eyes... until a few weeks ago. While those type of experiences left me feeling sad (or I think I felt sad), I started being aware of a barrier within my chest that was blocking out my emotions. I realized that I was... unable to feel. I was disallowing myself to feel. I observed myself pushing not only my feelings away, but also people and things that I loved, keeping my distance from them, acting from behind a wall which I could retreat to whenever I sensed 'negative' emotions coming up. That realization forced me to consider this -- is this the kind of life that I want? To live flitting superficially from one experience to another, while protecting my heart so that I would never feel pain? Or would I rather feel pain and let myself cry through that pain, without a guarantee that the pain will go away?
I suppose you could guess what my decision was. And I did cry. I cried so hard that it was sometimes difficult to stop. I cried in church, in the theater, in my car, in my office, in his arms. Yes, I allowed myself to cry in front of a man I loved, someone whom I wanted to be a perfect, happy, girl for. Sometimes this was not the simply tears flowing down my face kind of crying, but the non-stop, body-shaking uncontrollably kind of sobbing that I would never want anyone to see. (and yet, I am writing this all out before the world. I am ironic that way.) I let myself feel, I stopped trying to be strong. I wore my heart on my sleeve. I let myself be real. Sometimes I couldn't even explain what had gotten me going, but I just let it come. I stopped trying to understand why or how, I stopped trying to decide what I 'should' be feeling or doing. I just let myself be. 
And you may wonder about how I feel now? 
Well.... I feel... good. 
Feeling the pain, releasing the pain, admitting that I will miss this place, that I will miss all my friends and second family here, that I will miss my life here, that I will miss him and whatever we have had, was the greatest gift I could have given myself over the last few precious days I have left here. Because I let the sadness be, I also invited love and happiness in. I finally felt so much more love for everything and everyone, the kind of love that I truly had inside for them, the kind of love that they deserved to experience from me. I was able to appreciate them more, tell them 'I love you' genuinely from the depths of my heart. Which, unexpectedly, led me to feel even more love for them. 
So much love, so many gifts that I was able to give and receive. All because I finally became real and opened the door to my heart. 



Thursday, 25 June 2015

Letting go of control

I have control freak tendencies. The extent of this controlling nature did not simply extend to just trying to control what other people did, thought of or responded to me. I even tried to control the control-freak part of me, clamping her down so that she wouldn't emerge to hurt my relationships any further. Sometimes I even denied her existence, hiding behind a veil of 'I'm only worried/concerned/acting out of love for you', or whatever excuse I could come up with at that time, to make myself feel better. (and yes, it makes me nervous to even type this out right now) Of course, that never really works out, because, my slips in mindful awareness are the times she would sneak out to wreak havoc on my mental and emotional state, not to mention my behavior toward the very people I love. 
Just not too long ago, I faced multiple incidents with my parents, as well as the man I am in a relationship with, where this side of me resulted in emotionally draining situations, unable to enjoy in the other party's company as the moment desired. Sometimes, I rebelled against well-intentioned advice, insisting on my own point of view and refusing to accept or even acknowledge their perspective. Other times, I decided for myself what was 'good for them', and attempted to influence events to fit my idea of an ideal outcome. Otherwise, I disallowed myself from asking for what I truly wanted out of fear of rejection or disapproval. Regardless of the situation, the ultimate outcome always ended up being either a dearth of connection between me and the other party, disappointment, or conflict. The desire to control never ends well, and most definitely a far fetch from the 'perfect ending'.
This was something I struggled with for a long time. What could be wrong when I had a (relatively) good idea of what I want, think, and need, and what others want, think and need? Why is it so hard to find a compromise so that everyone can be happy? And I struggled in vain, until two recent incidents  over the past weekend helped to provide some resolution on the matter. 
The first moment of epiphany happened during a church service where an interview about leadership with Dr. Henry Cloud (clinical psychologist, leadership expert and author) was screened. One particular sentence struck a chord within me -- 'A good leader allows, and trusts people to do what they are good at.', preparing me for what was to come later. 
That same day, I hesitated on something that E had the intention of following through with because I 'did not think it was a good idea as I am worried for him and think it might be a drain on his energy and time' (ie. I decided for myself what was good for him). He asked simply, 'Why don't you let me decide what I want?'. 
And that's when I fully realized, that trying to control or impose my own ideas on someone else's actions is not only selfish, but also futile. The only person who can, and should, have say over his/her life is the person him/herself. Because everyone is best at one thing -- living their life. No one can do it for them. As a friend, lover or family member, no matter how well we know, or think we know, the person, no one knows him/her as well as he/she does. Therefore, no one will know what is truly best for him/her, simply because only he/she is there 24/7 to experience all that they see, feel or do, to fully know their story. Everything else that we project onto them, well-meaning intentions or otherwise, are simply projections from our own lives onto theirs, and how can we really compare our experiences to theirs? How can we assume that the things that we worry about are of similar importance/value to them? Even if we would like to minimize the pain our loved ones may experience, is that the best way of showing them love? What if that very pain is required for them to progress to a better life? How would they learn otherwise, and can we (and should we) take this away from them? Is sheltering them and trying to control everything, are we protecting them or harming them? 
Letting go of control is an extremely difficult thing to do for anyone, especially control freaks like me. But in a mere few days, I have learnt that, whatever perfect scenario we imagine is simply something that happens in our head, something unreal that distracts us from what is real, what is truly happening, and distracts us from holding that freedom and space for those we love and even ourselves from developing into even more wonderful individuals than we already are. Without that space, open communication and true understanding cannot occur, the very things that resolves differences, even fear itself. Sometimes, the very act of letting go and trusting in the ones we love, trusting in our own judgment over how and who we love, or simply trusting in that life will turn out just fine the way it will be, allows for better things to emerge than we imagined it to be. 
In the end, trust wins over fear. Love always wins. So, quit it. =p

xoxoxo












Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The most beautiful people...

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

This past year, I witnessed several of my close friends go through difficult times in life and love. I watched them as they were brought to their knees, helpless in the face of challenge, and then I watched them as they brushed themselves off to rise in the face of that same challenge. Together, we cried, swore, and threw up our hands in exasperation when it all seemed too difficult to bear. Together, we laughed and sighed as we said, 'We'll keep trying again and again until we get there'. I saw how they grew over time into stronger, yet unhardened, women with a deeper appreciation for love, life and everything and everyone around them. I saw them becoming more and more beautiful over time, not just on the outside, but more importantly, on the inside. It never ceases to amaze me how time can change everything, even the most stubborn parts of ourselves that we never thought we could or would change. It never ceases to amaze me the kind of love and gentleness we could develop over time, much more than the extent that I envisioned we had the capacity for. 
To Kathy and Joy, I dedicate this post to you. I just want to tell you how beautiful you are to me, and how much I look forward to witnessing your journey, and growing with you into the persons that we can and will be. <3
To my other friends and readers who are experiencing a trying period in your life, I wish to send you love and assurance that, at the end of this chapter in your life, you WILL emerge so much more lovely and beautiful like the caterpillar that has metamorphosed into a butterfly. Do not lose hope, you are stronger than you may think, and you can get through this. Life isn't about perfection or the lack of challenge, but about how you decide to respond to the challenges. You can do it! =) Much love to you~ xoxoxo

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

All the time you've got is...

How often do we make excuses to not do something that we long to because we 'don't have enough time', or are 'waiting to have some spare time'? When will we finally decide that this life is all we have to do what we want, before we realize that we had wasted all that time waiting to 'have time' for it? 
If you have been procrastinating or putting off something that you really wish to do, but 'didn't have the time to' because of work/commitments/obligations to other people/roles, can you find a window of possibility to dedicate some time, no matter how short, to living the life that you truly want? Sometimes all it takes is a conviction and loyalty to yourself, or a willingness to say 'no' to things that don't make your heart sing or are not actually as important as you think they are, so that you can finally live the life that you want. One life is all you have. Make it happen! =)

Friday, 12 June 2015

“I want everyone to love me” by Michèle Jabre

Sharing a blog post written by my good friend, Michèle Jabre, who also happens to be a transformational coach.

"
Featured article: “I want everyone to love me”

How happy do you feel every time you are with people who love you? You feel confident and this highly positive energy allows your self-esteem to be very strong.

Yes, it is the characteristic of mankind to live in a community and to be affected by its feedback about us. We want to impress, to show our best face or value, to be recognized and ultimately to be loved. We simply desire to belong.

Each one of us is surrounded by people who love and appreciate her: family, friends, lovers… This is what helps us face obstacles and hard times in life. They give us the energy required to be able to confront different kinds of issues.

It is really an amazing feeling to be aware of this love. Isn’t it normal then to desire to be loved by everyone and totally forget about all the possible interpersonal tensions?

Think about it very well… about what it truly means.

Why would you have such a desire? Is it to make sure no one will judge you? Or is it in order to have more friends? Or maybe just as an ego boost?

Why do you wish everyone could appreciate you?

Okay, you might need a reality check here.

Just one question: Do you know anyone who is loved or liked or appreciated by all the people he/she meets?

I’m going to cut it short: NO!

No one can be since this is our nature as human beings to have the choice of our feelings towards others. We are free to like someone or not same as we are free to like a kind of food or color. We like it because it triggers something positive within us, and same goes with people. People appreciate you because they share a special interest or bond with you.

Also, let me ask you: Would you be able to love everyone you know? Obviously not. How do you feel about that thought? It gets trickier…

Well, this is the world we live in. We can’t all love each other. It’s just a utopia!

Meanwhile, what I recommend you to do is to enjoy the people who are already in your life. These people are making it better and are the ones by your side when you are in need of support. Tell them how grateful you are for all the love and happiness they give you. They are a blessing!

Now, you can transform your initial expectation into “I am grateful to have all this highly positive energy in my life!”


By Michèle Jabre
"

If you would like to connect with your feminine essence while experiencing more of  Michèle's amazing energy, do check her out at http://michelejabre.com/ !
Have a great weekend, everyone! =)

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

No matter what happens..

When life gets confusing, and you can't see what the next steps are or where they may lead, I hope you remember that..
No matter what happens, the path will reveal itself when the time and place is right. You can, and you will, find the strength to handle what comes your way. You will stand back up after being defeated, triumph over challenges, and you will grow with every experience. The truth is that, what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger. Because of that, you will be OK. In fact, you will be more than OK. You will become so much more than you ever imagined possible, and so much more beautiful than before. It can all only get better =)

Monday, 8 June 2015

What is forever after?

Recently, I met a man whom I fell in love with quickly, shockingly, and passionately.  He cracked my heart open in more ways than I thought was possible, showing me what love can be like, what it means to love freely without judgement, to love with full acceptance, to love without boundaries. 
I used to think that a relationship worth pursuing is one where there is a definite future, where there will be a 'happily ever after', two people in love with each other forever and ever. I believed in the permanence of things. But after meeting him, it all changed. Due to certain circumstances, it is unlikely that this relationship will last. Does knowing this hurt? You bet it does. As much as I'm learning to let it go, it takes all my strength not to be angry at my life for showing me something so beautiful and real, only to take it away eventually. But does it make this love less real? No, it doesn't. In fact, I wouldn't want it any other way. 
I have come to learn that forever after does not rest in the possession of something that you hold dear, but in the love that you will always keep in your heart for that someone or something, no matter what happens. Things, possessions, and all things material, are fleeting. Relationships, too. Romance may change over time, waxing and waning depending on time and place. But love will always remain. Love, however short, will remain in its unique form in our hearts with its memories and well wishes. And to spend time worrying about how long something will last, is to take time away from the beauty of the moment. Who knows what will happen tomorrow, in the next hour, or even the next minute? Things change, and people change. Two people may meet at a crossroads to share a beautiful moment together, and then part to walk down their own paths again, but that experience, however brief, is still as precious as one that may last years or decades. 
And for that moment alone, without asking for anything else, I am forever blessed and thankful. Thank you, E, for everything that you have shown and taught me. Thank you for holding that precious, freeing space for me while I work through my broken-ness with you. But most of all, thank you for being you, and for us being who we are today so that we can walk down this brief road together. I love you =)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Keep your heart open


*courtesy of Brandi Riggs

With love from Your Future Self

"
Dearest One,
Everything is going to be okay. Remember that when things get tough or a storm comes, you will survive, you will persevere, you will heal, and you will grow. The storm is here to test you, to teach you, to guide you, to carry you forward, to nudge you back to your true path, to expand your consciousness. And if you feel like crying, go ahead and cry. And if you feel angry or sad or frustrated or afraid—feel it all, experience it all. Don’t run, don’t pretend, don’t hide—feel, cleanse, experience, be. You are a beautiful and brave and strong warrior, learning and growing through every experience. Trust the journey. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Shine brightly, beautiful soul. Never lose faith, never give up. You are loved, and you are lovable. I promise you, you'll be okay.


With love,
Your Future Self

"
~Creig Crippen

Freedom and happiness

Have a good weekend ahead, everyone! =)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Are you being you?

Someone shared this article with me, that I find so very beautiful =)


"I am enough. I finally believe I am enough. I finally believe that I may be a little bent, but I’m not broken. I finally accept that I am a smart, courageous, loving, kind, generous, forgiving woman who is not always all of those things – but who deeply aspires to be all of those things. I’m a beautifully flawed human being. Falling helplessly in love cracked my soul open. I’m finally Being Rena."

Often we escape and hide pieces of ourselves away in relationships, but what if the best way to self-discovery and self-embracement is through a real relationship? So...
Are you being You? Are you willing to Be You? Now, that's the real question, isn't it? ^_^ 


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Embrace all of life

"Here’s a little truth for you: Everyone has moments or days in which they struggle. Throughout our lives, we will be presented with challenges, lessons, storms, tough situations, and difficult experiences. We will feel, we will hurt, we will cry—and we will grow. We’ll experience moments where we feel like we’re being presented with more than we can handle. But when you truly think about it, would you want a life where you do not feel deeply? A life where there are no moments of struggle? Would you prefer to live a life of numbness? A life that is a robotic, mundane experience?

It is the courageous that feel deeply. It is the brave that experience all of life. It is the daring that find the strength to confront fear, to discover themselves, to journey within, and to embrace life. We are blessed to have moments of struggle. We are blessed to have the ability to find the lessons in life’s challenging moments. We are blessed with the tenacity and the perseverance to overcome. Every experience is a blessing. Be courageous. Embrace all of life. Be love."

~Creig Crippen

Be you

http://www.ted.com/talks/caroline_casey_looking_past_limits

Hey there,

I haven't been writing for a while. The truth is, I was scared. I was afraid that what I wrote, wouldn't be of value to you, my reader. I was worried that what I wrote was just an expression of the small me trying to teach people what they already knew. I wanted what I wrote for you to empower you, to inspire you, to motivate you. I wanted it to be a one-step solution to your many challenges. I wanted this blog to be perfect. 
Most of all, I wanted to be perfect. This past month has been a tremendous struggle for me. I realized how much I wanted to be perfect. All my life, I was afraid to appear weak, afraid to appear less smart than I was, less together than I should be. On the outside, I tried to be always a thumbs-up, everything's-great, I've-got-it-together girl. When things went wrong, I used to think (more often than not), 'what's wrong with these people?? What's wrong with me??'. I tried to control everything else outside of myself. But the truth is, I was hiding from myself. I was running away from who I am, not being able to face my life or imperfections for what they are out of fear of not being accepted. But you know what? The worst thing is, it didn't matter if my friends, family and colleagues, even strangers, loved me. I couldn't accept myself or love myself for who I was, much less receive their love and acceptance. The irony is that what I have written on this blog for the past year, did come from the bottom of my heart, from my understanding of what it means to live a happy life. Though sometimes it's easy to give advice but hard to heed your own!
But, you know, the Universe never gives you a lesson without teaching you how to overcome it. Sometimes, the lessons are glaringly obvious, staring at you in your face. Other times, they are hidden in tiny experiences, sometimes challenges, sometimes victories, waiting for you to assimilate them when you are finally ready. And I think I am finally ready. I am ready to really learn to be me. I am ready to put what I have learnt into true practice. I am ready to learn and accept who Rosanna really is. I am ready to discover what Rosanna really wants, really likes, how she really wants to live her life for what purpose she wants to bring to this amazing world. And for that, I am truly grateful. I am grateful to my friends (K, J, D, F, S, K, etc.) and various mentors (Katarina Phang, Christine Arylo, Kathleen Mulligan, Creig Crippen, Gina Devee, Brendon Burchard and all the inspiration videos and articles I have come across) for all the guidance that I have received on this journey, as well as everything else there will be to come. 
There will be no more following 'rules', no more imitation, no more trying to be someone else. For the Universe made all of us for a reason -- to be simply us and nothing less than we are. 
So, here's a promise. If you are facing the same challenge as I am and are ready to make a change, let us promise to be true to ourselves, no matter how hard the journey may seem. Life's too short to be someone else when you were made to be unapologetically, fabulously, beautifully YOU. And the best thing is, you won't be doing this alone, because I'll be walking next to you the entire way. <3 Have a good rest of the week, my friend =) 

xoxo
Rosanna

Friday, 24 April 2015

I want to know...

Sharing a poem written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, posted by Rachel Hollis on The Chic Site
(http://thechicsite.com/2014/03/23/what-sustains-you/)


It reminds me of what it means to be human, to live from love and essence, to be real with what and who we really are — children and gifts of God brought to this world to simply be alive.


Stories

What kind of stories do you harbor about your life, your world, and yourself?
Are they real? Are they one-sided? Are they all-encompassing? Are they loving? Would you re-tell those stories in a different way? How would you change them?

This TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie may inspire you to rethink the kind of stories you tell about your world.
Have a good weekend, love! =)


http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story/transcript?language=en

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Be who you want to be


If they can, why can't you?

" ... Yasmine wrote, "Question your convictions. Be who you to want to be, not who they want you to be. Don't accept their enslavement, for your mother birthed you free." "

Being authentic

A piece by Brendon Burchard on what being authentic means:
http://brendonburchard.tumblr.com/post/114912499013/can-authenticity-suck

"...there’s two ways to approach the world:
  1. A fixed mindset, and
  2. A growth mindset.
And that growth mindset allows you to push through your own self labels to say, “Who would I have to become to deserve that dream? Who would I have to become to move toward that dream?”
  • That is real for me.
  • That is authentic.
  • That is in-line with my values.
But it’s allowing myself to stretch myself to go there.
Because if you won’t stretch yourself, your concept of yourself, your own boundaries of belief and behavior; you’re never going to reach that next level of success. 

...

Sometimes we limit our own definition of ourselves and we call it authentic and real and genuine and what we are is scared. And we need to look at ourselves and say, “Okay, let’s go to the next level.”

  • What’s it going to take?
  • What new thing would I have to develop?
  • What new part of me would I have to find?     "

I agree with him that many people abuse the phrase 'being authentic'. Is being authentic being true to yourself, but at the same time are you insisting that everyone else agrees with your point of view? Or will you be brave enough to acknowledge that everyone has their own experience, history and perspective, and brave enough to stand up for yourself in a loving way that is not aggressive, but kind, compassionate, gentle, firm yet flexible to accept new points of view? Is being authentic saying 'That's just the way I am', or saying 'This is what I feel and think now, but who knows what I can be?' ?

Can you do something fast mindfully?

Can you do something fast mindfully? The Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh answers this question.
From my own experience, as the master describes, one has to learn to be mindful by acting slowly and deliberately first. We are often conditioned to be lost in our head or oblivious to everything else when we act quickly. However, once we gain the habit to be mindful, one can also then remember to be mindful in any task, whether it is executed slowly or quickly. As the saying goes, "More speed, less haste", when we learn to act with intention and attention, the amount of mindfulness in the action will not be influenced by the speed of execution. One can be aware at all times. Can you then imagine the power behind that action?


https://youtu.be/SnnQVpiVm3A

Monday, 13 April 2015

How do you want to show up in the world?



Intention is everything. Believe in yourself, and live the life that you dream of, as the person that you dream of being. =) 
I believe in you. You can do it. =)

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Moral Bucket List, by David Brooks

I love this article so much =) I wonder what insights you may also gain from it?
The Moral Bucket List, by David Brooks, published in the New York Times on 11 April 2015


These paragraphs especially spoke to me:
"Commencement speakers are always telling young people to follow their passions. Be true to yourself. This is a vision of life that begins with self and ends with self. But people on the road to inner light do not find their vocations by asking, what do I want from life? They ask, what is life asking of me? How can I match my intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deep needs?

Their lives often follow a pattern of defeat, recognition, redemption. They have moments of pain and suffering. But they turn those moments into occasions of radical self-understanding — by keeping a journal or making art. As Paul Tillich put it, suffering introduces you to yourself and reminds you that you are not the person you thought you were.

The people on this road see the moments of suffering as pieces of a larger narrative. They are not really living for happiness, as it is conventionally defined. They see life as a moral drama and feel fulfilled only when they are enmeshed in a struggle on behalf of some ideal.


This is a philosophy for stumblers. The stumbler scuffs through life, a little off balance. But the stumbler faces her imperfect nature with unvarnished honesty, with the opposite of squeamishness. Recognizing her limitations, the stumbler at least has a serious foe to overcome and transcend. The stumbler has an outstretched arm, ready to receive and offer assistance. Her friends are there for deep conversation, comfort and advice."

Here is the link in case the one above does not work:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/opinion/sunday/david-brooks-the-moral-bucket-list.html?hpw&rref=opinion&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Sunday, 5 April 2015

You are light, and you matter so much

I am sharing two links to Christine Arylo's 'Divine Spark for Your Heart' 's of this month, and from my heart to yours.

When you are challenged, please remember that you are made of love and light. The light you are seeking lies within. You have the strength to rise above it all. Behind every challenge is love pushing you to become an even better version of you, behind every fear is love disguised as protection gone awry. Believe. Don't give up on yourself.

When you feel small, like you don't belong, feel inadequate or like an imposter, please remember to acknowledge how far you have come so far! You matter so much to the world. Even if you touched just one heart in this lifetime, you have made a difference. (p.s. you already touched mine. For that, I am sending much more love to you, my friend)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

From your future self

I love this.

"Dearest One,
Everything is going to be okay. Remember that when things get tough or a storm comes, you will survive, you will persevere, you will heal, and you will grow. The storm is here to test you, to teach you, to guide you, to carry you forward, to nudge you back to your true path, to expand your consciousness. And if you feel like crying, go ahead and cry. And if you feel angry or sad or frustrated or afraid—feel it all, experience it all. Don’t run, don’t pretend, don’t hide—feel, cleanse, experience, be. You are a beautiful and brave and strong warrior, learning and growing through every experience. Trust the journey. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Shine brightly, beautiful soul. Never lose faith, never give up. You are loved, and you are lovable. I promise you, you'll be okay.
With love,
Your Future Self"

written by Creig Crippen

p.s. JZ, this is for you, dear. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Mindfulness and positive thinking

Sharing this article written by Lori Deschene, founder of Tiny Buddha. 
I agree with it so much. Mindfulness and creating stillness in the mind with meditation (and yes, every moment can be a meditation) can bring so much peace. It is a fantastic complement to inner work (healing inner wounds and calming inner demons, as I have been writing about). If you're not at peace yet, don't give up =) We are only human. You can get there. And it might just take a shift in mindset. Change can happen in just one moment.

p.s. I copied the text here for your convenience.

See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” 
~Dalai Lama

I was a perfectionist growing up, always trying to bang my flawed round-shaped self into a perfect square hole that couldn’t possibly contain me.

In my early twenties, I decided to focus on personal development—a positive thing, I assumed.

I figured if I worked on improving a little every day and nurturing a positive mindset, I’d feel a lot better about myself than I did when I got down on myself for my flaws. 

I didn’t take into consideration that I might become a perfectionist about positivity.
That I might catch negative thinking and feel guilty about it instead of letting it go and moving into a more positive space.

That I might muster every piece of my will to avoid negative feelings and end up over-thinking them instead of simply feeling them and letting them pass.

For most of my life, I’ve fought reality. I didn’t like the way people responded to me, so I tried to manipulate their perception. I didn’t like the world around me, so I tried to control it. I didn’t like the world within me, so I tried to escape it.

Even when I tried to be positive, I was resisting the present. If only I was positive enough, I thought, I could create a better tomorrow—then I’d really be happy.

I tried on different positive hats in my pursuit of happiness.

I’ve told myself that everything really is in my mind—that if someone appears to be mean or inconsiderate, it’s largely a consequence of how I’m interpreting things. But then I started wondering if that’s the case, what’s wrong with my mind? Why do I so frequently assume the worst first and then have to catch it and change it?

I made lists of all the things my life would involve if it was more positive: I’d volunteer; I’d be open-hearted, always eager to greet a stranger with a smile; I wouldn’t fear lacking, and would freely give to anyone who needed it. Then I felt overwhelmed by the list of things I needed to do. Who has the time and energy to be that positive?

I’ve focused on things I appreciate in life by keeping a gratitude journal. Oddly enough, I stressed about that, as well. I felt guilty if I missed a day and continually measured whether or not I was doing enough to express gratitude in my daily life.

Positive thinking didn’t bring me peace because I was still the one doing the thinking, and I hadn’t really changed. I was still fighting, judging everyone and everything, including myself, and wondering when life would finally get easier.

No matter how positive I tried to be, it never worked because I wasn’t working for it.

Working for it, for me, involves just fifteen minutes a day.

I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t experienced it myself, but a brief morning meditation has a profound effect on me. When I start the day by sitting in silence for even a short while, my mental space transforms.

Without some type of contemplative practice, my busy mind gets overwhelming. Without taking time to clear my head, positive thinking is only moderately effective because there are just too many thoughts for the positive ones to have an impact.

Positive thinking, in itself, isn’t enough for me to experience the world in a present, joyful way. 

The most positive thinking, I’ve decided, is less thinking.

I’d like to say I no longer over-analyze, get lost in my thoughts, or get hard on myself, but that’s not entirely true.

Even with tools that help me feel calm and centered, I still feel this way at times.

There are days when I fight with myself and the world and judge myself pretty harshly. It’s usually when I’ve stopped doing the things I know I need to do for me. When work gets overwhelming and people seem demanding, sometimes I don’t make those things a priority.

I am still imperfect, I still make bad decisions at times, and I still struggle with letting go. It’s called being human.

Growth is rarely a straight line. It’s more like an EKG monitor. It’s tempting to look at it with a sense of anxiety. To measure the peaks and valleys, wondering if the peaks are high and frequent enough.

But I’m learning that being positive means releasing the need to judge—to stop assessing what’s right and good enough, and whether I’ve been right or good enough, and approach each new moment with a sense of space.

It’s my job to create that space—to clear out all the thoughts that drown out the positive ones.

The biggest barrier between me and peace is my instinct to analyze why I didn’t, don’t, or might not have it. Stillness silences that instinct.

When I take time for stillness, it doesn’t matter how I interpret things because suddenly I stop telling stories about events as they happen to me.

When I take time for stillness, it doesn’t matter how many positive things I could do if I tried; I’m too busy putting good into the world to dwell on those lists.

When I sink into stillness, it doesn’t matter how many things I write in my gratitude journal; I’m too busy appreciating the world in front of me to worry about jotting it down.


Today, I feel peaceful. In this moment, I am not trying to be positive. I created space for myself to just be. And that, I’ve learned, is the most positive thing we can do for ourselves.

You hold the power

"You have the power to open your front door and take on the world. You have the power to create change. You are strong. You are brave. You can build the life of your dreams. Your potential is infinite. Let go of what weighs you down. Release the fear. Release the excuses. Release the toxicity. Breathe in the love that life is offering you. Stand up. Dust off your wings. Be free. Begin.
~ Creig Crippen

Happy first day of spring! Spring is a season of new beginnings. If you have not started yet, start to build the life that you dream of, right here, right now. What are you waiting for? =) No more excuses. You have the strength to move past your fears. The time is now. Open the door to your heart. The life you are waiting for is waiting for you on the other side.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Go easy on yourself!

When the going gets tough, remember that you are not alone! =) Everyone is on their own learning journey, so go easy on yourself, love =)


Monday, 16 March 2015

When you say, "I love you"....


From the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh =)


"When you say "I love you" it means "I can offer you true peace and happiness". In order to be able to offer them, you must already be able to offer them to yourself."

I wish you a good week ahead loving yourself and your loved ones! 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Breathe, smile, the present is bright!

Good day everyone! Did you have a good week? 
Just sharing this story I came across today!

I love this story =) It reminds me so much of my friend who valets our cars in my workplace, whom I featured some time back (read his story here!)

As my friend K says (with a slight variation), Breathe, smile, the present is bright! ^_^


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

No pain, no gain

Today I overheard someone say, "Why is life so hard? Why can't it be easy?"

To which I reply:
"Here’s a little truth for you: Everyone has moments or days in which they struggle. Throughout our lives, we will be presented with challenges, lessons, storms, tough situations, and difficult experiences. We will feel, we will hurt, we will cry—and we will grow. We’ll experience moments where we feel like we’re being presented with more than we can handle. But when you truly think about it, would you want a life where you do not feel deeply? A life where there are no moments of struggle? Would you prefer to live a life of numbness? A life that is a robotic, mundane experience?

It is the courageous that feel deeply. It is the brave that experience all of life. It is the daring that find the strength to confront fear, to discover themselves, to journey within, and to embrace life. We are blessed to have moments of struggle. We are blessed to have the ability to find the lessons in life’s challenging moments. We are blessed with the tenacity and the perseverance to overcome. Every experience is a blessing. Be courageous. Embrace all of life. Be love."
~Creig Crippen