Seek Ye first and courage for Truth and Love will be granted

I had a wonderful afternoon with some friends today that prompted my thoughts:
  • How many are willing and able to plunge the depths of our hearts to deepen in our self-understanding?
  • Claiming the love for knowledge, we willingly read to feed our intellect, to buffet our ability to reason and argue, present and convince. Yet how many have a strong desire to know themselves truly – to know one’s deepest loves, fears, anxieties, triggers? And desire to continue working for inner peace, balance, joy?
  • At the risk of entering new territories or uncomfortable discoveries. Even at the risk of choosing a loving action (to self), which would cost some short term pain?

Someone once said to me, “Did fear ever kill anyone? Why are we so petrified by an imagined or perceived fear?”

A friend asked, “You have to ask yourself: At the end of the day, what do you want your life to be like? How do you want to live your life?”

It reminded me of a beautiful Bible verse, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

More than this: I count it the greatest wealth and wisdom that I should come into a deeper union with the deepest ‘me’ whom God fearfully, and wonderfully made. Not the ‘me’ that people tell me I must or should be. Not the ‘me’ that teachers have suggested I could become, nor the ‘me’ my parents hoped me to achieve. Maybe all these, or maybe none of them at all. Not even the ‘me’ I have chosen to become in rebellion to all the ‘should be’s’ asked of me – for that is not even the real ‘me’, but a reaction from me. I believe that each of us is made in the image and likeness of God. We are imprinted with a soul so unique, that we will know we’ve been fooled at some point in life when we feel ill at ease with where we are at! And so we begin to doubt, question, search – that’s a good thing! It’s silly to brush off someone with, “Oh, it’s just a mid-life crisis – get over it.”

That is a cruel remark. That could be the precise moment when God whispers into their ear and says, “I love you for who you really are, who you are inside, so you no longer have to hide behind all these accessories, activities, or accolades. Come with me.”

When faced with the quest: to choose God first and over, choosing career, relationship, popularity, success, riches – which would I choose? The common fallacy here is we might think choosing God first and over the rest, would mean suffering in, or losing, career, relationship, riches, etc.

Yet what if choosing God first, means: letting all other things fall into their rightful place. That career, love, success, or whatever matters, begin to take their rightful order in the schema of a truly courageous and beautiful life? With such a pure desire for the foremost important love for the Divine, many things are rendered the sweeter by being cast in the generous glow of Love and Mercy. Hence:

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

No answers for now, just a lead, a clue, and a trail… to follow. One important lesson learnt, kindness and compassion for self first, always. Akan datang.


How strange the change / from major to minor

But how strange the change

From major to minor.

~ Cole Porter, “Ev’ry Time We SayGoodbye”

Have not been back for a few days, and the urge to return remains, how wonderful this new compulsion! A familiar of indeed. A place where I can relate, repose, dream, and be unfettered.

I am thinking of my research work and how I have felt quite alone and my ideas seem strange to most and many, my desire to enmesh and synthesize, or bring coherence to my faith/spirituality into thinking about architecture/built environment. It cannot be so. Even if it were, it would be a niche where indeed it could feel lonely, a worthy ascent in my endeavours to fulfilling what has always felt a deep yawning call to pursue.

If God has called, then He shall accompany and provide. Of this I am growing certain.

I have also realised my own overall wellbeing improving over the short course of beginning this blog, running, thinking about each day as a fresh beginning – and truly living as it is. Not just some trite aphorism.

“The Happiness Project” by Rubin has really transformed my perspective as I picked it up again (intending to hurry up finishing it to return to Becca). What initially felt very forced and “pep talk-ish”, helped me now to see that “act the way I want to feel” is a very sensible and intelligent way to get through life, especially in the moments when I am want to behave childishly, or believe regressively. This in turn has improved my relating to JJ and the way I begin to feel and think positively about our relationship. Never realised how “damaged” I am from my childhood and upbringing and the parents’ marriage; but more so, I was extremely hindered by believing that I was irreparably “damaged” by all of that. What really did it for me was to realise recently how thoroughly I resented my parents, both mum and dad, for how I was, how I grew up, even I NOW feel! I know it sounds so un-Christian. But I simply could not help it. I realised that this kind of honesty is best for me.

I must grow up. And I must mature. It was what I desire deeply. Both emotionally and spiritually.

Aside from the emotional upturn-

… I have been feeling immensely grateful for where I am now – back in school, doing my PhD – versus just a few weeks (or months) back when every thing felt wrong, and I was so lost. More than this gratefulness, I have realised one thing:


It seems like people don’t talk about this much – how it feels like to feel grateful. I never realised that feeling grateful, and being grateful is one thing; but that gratefulness feels AWESOME and SOUL-EXPANDING! It seems so obvious, but yet it’s not obvious enough.

A lot of smart books and clever quotes tell you how important it is to BE grateful. But they don’t mention enough (or at all) how joyful and invincible gratefulness makes you feel! It is a child-like YIPPEE-YAY feeling! 🙂

And so, this is how I feel now – GRATEFUL, AWESOME, JOYFUL & INVINCIBLE (in a “Ma-Father’s-got-ma-back-yo!” way.)

I would like to say, and declare (because declarations make things more real), that this means I am emerging from my weeks/almost months of depression – that probably started back since pre-National Day or even Cooling-Off Day (when the Sh. museum exhibition opened). I remember waking up the next morning after the opening and feeling completely lost (acknowledging in part it was perhaps due to the dip in adrenalin after the opening night) and abject from any feelings of satisfaction of having created something so close to my heart. I even took too personally and irrationally, that the messages from L on the two postcards bearing too much details of location, meant that my work was ‘problematic’ and ‘imperfect’. Thoughts of: Why can’t it be that my piece has no problems? I bet none of the others have any issues. Why does it have to be my piece that isn’t done-done-and-good? 

It didn’t make sense then, but now I look back and realise how hopelessly futile every thing I did seemed to feel – including doubting my entire raison d’etre being back in graduate school, even doing the exhibition. It was quite a long-drawn season of self-doubt and self-rejection and self-loathing. It is honesty that humbles, and I think it is necessary that I call all of that out; whatever that was. Give it a name.

I am so glad that season is behind me. And it is important that I declare this too (because declarations make things concrete): The last five days since I started this new space has been an incredible upturn for me. And I take joy in how private this upturn has been. 🙂 This is my ‘Little Way’ project. My effort to emulate my Little Flower and love God better in the small things.

So happy that I now have this little nook to hang a mirror for my growth and efforts at beginning again, every day.  I really have a very strong sensing of the Holy Spirit at work within me to bring about this U-turn in perspective and sensibility. I attribute even my ability to begin this, and create the two lists “Spiritual notes of myself for a life-giving journey” and “Twelve commandments” to the inner-balancing work of the Holy Spirit.

and so, how strange the change

from minor to major… ev’ry time, I say “Fiat”.

I merely had to respond with humility; and my sensitivity and humility itself has been a gift of Grace. Thank you Jesus, thank you St Therese.

(& off to bed I go…)

The Monthly B*tch

Oh yes, PMS is a b*. . h!!

This morning was rough. Sprung up outta bed (fast enough – 9.30am, I’m improving!!) for breakfast outside today. But almost did not make it home safe. Staggered home, I did.

Nearly fainted, cold sweats, could not walk upright, dizziness, nausea. What!!? Yes. Thank God I had to good sense not to try walking home for the toilet. I detoured and floated (because I was uber dizzy) as swiftly as I could to the mall toilet and almost passed out from the bowel/uterine contractions and nausea. That was a heck load of ‘toothpaste’ squeezed!

Made it home and had a semi-round-two. Not that I had anymore left, but the contractions and cramps just made me sick. I felt momentarily worried that I may be suffering from Endometriosis. Ugh, no please no. This site helped calm me down that my symptoms aren’t too bizarro. On the other hand, I called the doc for an appointment in 2 hours just to be safe.

Also, here are FIVE things to note to help me:

  1. EXERCISE – it regulates endorphins & seratonins
  2. R & R – get enough sleep / rest / relax
  5. TAKE VITS + SUPPLEMENTS – calcium w/ Vit D & magnesium, folic acid, Vit B6, Vit E, Evening Primrose Oil. 

I lolled about in bed for a while after trying to recover from all that anxiety & muscle-action. Finally hurled my butt up to sit here.

And try to start again… with the research work & paper formatting (for LC). I cannot procrastinate any longer even with this unease. The deadline is tonight. LORD, help me feel better, or at least ignore this pain.


Let that be Enough….. Lord.

I have never heard the music of Switchfoot. But this reflection crossed my path, and I feel like I have just discovered something of a gem. Two songs right now mean a lot to me. ‘Let That Be Enough’ and ‘The Shadow Proves the Sunshine’.

These are very tender and special lyrics for me, given that in the lead up to my 32nd birthday just a few of weeks ago, I had some emotional breakdowns. I haven’t really written about this anywhere, but I’ll venture – it’s got to do with the two months (and counting) silent/cold war with daddy since the eve of National Day. It feels pathetic, and I feel pathetic. I think the words below will suffice.

Wish I had what I needed
To be on my own
‘Cause I feel so defeated
And I’m feeling alone
And it all seem so helpless
And I have no plans
I’m a plane in the sunset
With nowhere to land

And all I see
It could never make me happy
And my sand castles spend their time collapsing

Let me know that you hear me
Let me know your touch
Let me know that you love me
Let that be enough

It’s my birthday tomorrow
No one here could know
I was born this Thursday
22 years ago

And I feel stuck
Watching history repeating
Yeah who am I?
Just a kid who knows he’s needy

Let me know that you hear me
Let me know your touch
Let me know that you love me
Let that be enough

This one too, is special, and comforting for me now as I am trying to regain my sense of self. And my me-joy, again.

Sunshine, won’t you be my mother
Sunshine, come and help me sing
My heart is darker than these oceans
My heart is frozen underneath

We are crooked souls trying to stay up straight,
Dry eyes in the pouring rain
The shadow proves the sunshine
The shadow proves the sunshine

Two scared little runaways
Hold fast to the break of day light we are
The shadow proves the sunshine

Oh Lord, why did you forsake me?
Oh Lord, don’t be far away away
Storm clouds gathering beside me
Please Lord, don’t look the other way

Crooked souls trying to stay up straight
Dry eyes in the pouring rain
The shadow proves the sunshine
The shadow proves the sunshine

Two scared little runaways
Hold fast to the break of day light were
The shadow proves the sunshine
The shadow proves the sunshine

Yeah Yeah, shine on me
Yeah Yeah, shine on me
Yeah Yeah, shine on me
Yeah Yeah, shine on me

Crooked souls trying to stay up straight
Dry eyes in the pouring rain
The shadow proves the sunshine
The shadow proves the sunshine

Two scared little runaways
Hold fast to the break of day light were
The shadow proves the sunshine
The shadow proves the sunshine

Yeah Yeah, shine on me
Yeah Yeah, shine on me
Yeah Yeah, shine on me

Shine on me,
Let my shadows prove the sunshine

These few lines really, really snag at me.

On eating alone: solitude vs. loneliness

An observation while having lunch in school alone today: I will not feel badly about these occasions anymore. These moments can be occasions of grace too. How?

When I am eating alone, with a book, I feel comforted and cocooned within a world I have chosen. Look, here’s my company – my book! I am saying, this is the space in which I have found a retreat.

When I am eating alone, and I am reading from my phone and checking Facebook status updates or Newsfeeds, I sense myself wishing to be some place else, but stuck here. Look, I don’t really know what to do by my self. I am saying, connect me to something other than my here and now. The virtual space is infinite, and yet indefinite.

When I am eating alone, and staring at the trees (or a bird), I feel right in the present. Look, there is the tree and the birds – and I am right here with them too. I am saying, there is no other place I would rather be. My eyes are open for opportunities and possibilities in the world around me – now.

This realisation was very uplifting. It quietly replaced my loneliness with a contented solitude. 🙂

It is OK to keep on trying.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Tonight, I begin again.

There is nothing to be ashamed of having started two other blogs and not continuing.

But I shall not dwell on the false starts. Today, I will begin again.

Running 4km helped. For once in a long while, I was not fixated on my timing. I just kept on running, at a pace that I was comfortable with, that gave me the confidence that I could keep on running and not stop because I was unreasonably pushing my body. Yes. For once, tonight.

When I choose to begin again. This time I choose to be modest and honest. So it became 4km in exactly 31 minutes!

I feel this evening was a lesson in all sorts of self-giving: self-management, self-mastery, self-love, self-understanding, self-knowledge.

Before I forget, I really like the idea I read in Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”, to keep a one-line journal. I find it modest enough, and reasonable, and totally doable! (knowing how I have avoided journalling out of a weird sense of guilt for not setting aside proper time and concentration.)

Another lesson: Why put unnecessary stress on myself to do something I naturally enjoy?

Maybe I’ll do a one page journal – capped at 200 words!