Aug 302016
 

Some topics are generally shied away from – politics, religion, sex, and money.

Mostly I touch on these subjects freely, but lightly, even though I do not really know the breadth of my audience since this space is primarily for my own entertainment. Still, with the Internet the way it is and knowing that my digital footprint is rather huge, I try not to offend or be too obvious about my personal life. I even generally only use initials for names rather than reveal full identities of those in my life – though if you know me or see me regularly, you would probably know whom I refer to in my posts.

So, I hesitate a bit to write this knowing that there is a chance someone will read it fully aware of all the details. This is a chance I shall take as I feel the need to write, but will also attempt to stay as vague as possible on certain aspects. 🙂

As may or may not have been clear from my posts over the past few months, we have struggled financially. This is something that I knew about fully going into my relationship with M. It was also an area of concern in early conversations with my friends about the future with M. However, love can conquer all and it can be fairly easy to ignore to such things when there is a steady income to allow for life to proceed superficially as normal. 😛

Once I quit my job we knew that life would be a bit of a struggle for us initially, but needing to learn a lesson in trust and letting go, we went ahead with the decision to give it a go so that I could be happier and pursue my business. I do not regret this decision by any means as I listen to my friends talk about their return to work. 😛

Still, it has not been an easy road and we have had to borrow a large sum of money from a very generous friend. We have also been blessed by the generosity of our other friends who have kindly covered meals for us, offered their homes and laundry facilities, or just laughed with us through the surreality of our situation at the moment.

To be a little bit fair to us, if a few circumstances, such as getting our visas sooner or not having my bank account frozen with my money in it, had gone another way we would be in a much better place right now. However, that is not the case, thus we are where we are.

As I said, our friends have indeed been more on the green side – meaning that they have just been above and beyond in their generosity. I can only hope that we will be able to adequately repay them or at least express our gratitude to them once we find a return to ‘normal’. Still, some can be mean or have a limit to their green generosity.

While I have learned to let go of my ego throughout all of this – there’s just no way to have anything other than humility when money is tight or non-existent -, it is still not an easy thing to ask for money or to even allow others to pay for things. Therefore, the last thing that I want to receive is a lecture or expressions of judgment regarding our financial decisions. Perhaps once we are through the sh*t, I can sit back to laugh and discuss the stupidity of what has led us to our current situation; but now is definitely NOT the time. Instead of being willing to listen or push beyond the limits of my humility, I feel as if the other party is just being mean in a time when all I really need is love and support…. I do not deny that a lecture is probably needed or that a re-evaluation of how we are going to move forward financially is required; however, what is important at the moment is that we get ourselves to the point where such a conversation will have full effect rather than forcing a wall to go up and even challenge the value of a friendship….

To avoid sounding ungrateful or rude, I reiterate that indeed we are very thankful and blessed to have such friends in our lives who have been more green than mean. I hope to be able to write again soon that we are rolling with the homies in the monies!!! 😛

~T 😀

Aug 292016
 

A couple of months ago a friend told me that I should be writing now that I have the time. I was a bit hesitant making some excuses about this and that. However, in the end I realized she was right. 

I also began to look for some freelance work on Upwork where I had previously gotten work writing briefs of stories and thought that I would try it again. However, it was slow going and so I decided to leave my profile as is letting the universe take control of whether or not jobs would come. 

As I let go of active searching I also thought how lovely it would be to find something for Asian women. I have often lamented how growing up I struggled to find role models or information that was relevant to me as a non-Asian Asian. Knowing that I didn’t have enough in me to start such a thing, I wondered why someone else hadn’t yet done something. 

A mere few weeks later I was contacted by the editor of an upcoming online magazine that would target Asian women – natives to expats to dis/misplaced. The universe definitely heard my ponderings! 😛

Thus, I agreed to write an initial piece for April Magazine, which has now been published. You can read the article here.  

I’m happy with how the piece turned out and quite excited to become a regular contributor. It’s a nice challenge to write for a more public and neutral audience than just my blog(s) or academic ones. 

M is pleased that now he can make the SATC dream come alive and he can be “Big”. 😉

~T 😀

Aug 282016
 

As part of my yoga teacher training it has been extremely important to build my own practice at home to ensure that I do poses and breathing as I learn in training. However, sometimes I lack motivation on my own or I find it challenging to set aside enough time each day to practice at home.

For some reason, I have no problem setting aside time to go to a yoga class at the Bodytree Studio throughout the week. What I find interesting about this is that often I hear people mention how difficult they find it to start attending a yoga class for the first time because people are not usually very social in a yoga class. Thus, new attendees may feel intimidated, especially if they think their level of yoga is “not that good”.

This is interesting on many levels. First, yes, it is indeed true that most yogis tend to keep to themselves in a yoga class. Not because they are unfriendly, but because by the very nature and philosophy of yoga, it is an introspective activity. The whole point of doing yoga is to lose the ego and sense of self. When we hold poses, we are about pushing ourselves to new limits, not really about comparing ourselves to others in the class – though this does happen. So, it is easy to see how it might look intimidating to someone just starting or trying to make friends through a studio class.

Also, let me highlight again that yoga is not about comparing our ability to do poses with others. However, inevitably, a new attendee or even beginner to yoga will feel self-conscious about his/her skill at holding particular poses. In a mixed level class it can often feel as if no one is actually a beginner, but the truth is that everyone is always a beginner no matter how long one has been practicing yoga. It is a practice and each day is a new day. Therefore, there should be no comparisons that someone seems more flexible or more advanced than someone else. It is our egos that get in the way of this and create a sense of isolation in a class.

Finally, I would like to remind us of the meaning of yoga. It is union. Union with others humans, union with the world around us from the animals, plants, earth, universe and union within ourselves from our bodies and our minds. It is for this reason that I prefer to do yoga in a class than at home. It is a feeling of union with others. Although we may create a sense of solitude in our yoga practice – even in a class – there is unity in the flow of practice that we do together as one human race spreading peace and love to the world.

~Namaste

~T 😀

 Posted by at 12:49  Tagged with:
Aug 272016
 


_From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction_ by Robert Olen Butler

Sooooo I must admit that I have little recollection of reading this book. I recall the title and author’s name, but even when I looked at a review to try to refresh my memory, I do not remember it at all. 

I imagine it was suggested either by a writer friend or just popped up from a Goodreads scan. I do like to read books about writing and am always looking for ways to refresh my skills. However, it is a bit sad to think this was a recent read that I do not recall. Perhaps if I flip through some of the pages it will come back to me. 

Thus, I am afraid that I do not have more to share on this other than the fact I read it and the title remains memorable even if the content does not. 🙂

~T 😀

 Posted by at 21:18
Aug 242016
 

power

_The Power of Your Subconscious Mind_ by Joseph Murphy

This summer really required some reading to get a handle on my mind and my reactions to situations that were beyond my control. Rather than focus on what I could not control, I decided to look into the areas that I can.

Our subconscious minds are very powerful and attract what we spend most of our time thinking about. Therefore, learning to focus on not only positive thoughts but also results rather than NOTs took some work. For example, repeating to yourself “I will not eat bread” generally causes one to eat bread, because the mind is attracting the salient part of this sentence – eat bread. 😛 So, it took some restructuring of what my mind says. However, over time I found that creating thought patterns like this were effective and not only brought about a sense of calm within myself, but also to those around me.

Dr Murphy walks through the various areas of life that we generally worry – finances, relationships, business, etc. – and offers alternatives to thought patterns that do not serve us. He also discusses taking out “I” in mantras where it may be difficult for us to visualize a reality such as “I am wealthy.” There are lots of variations to wealth and for each person there would be a debate on how much is required to fulfil this. Instead, he recommends simply saying “wealth” to attract it in limitless amounts.

I found that using a series of mantras was effective whilst swimming as it can sometimes be a bit tedious to do laps, but with mantras being repeated so as to create the new positive thought patterns, the laps went by quickly. 🙂

Since I was doing this for most of the two months of the summer that we were staying at our friends’ place, it has now become a bit of habit to think in this way that I no longer focus on ‘mantras’ per se, but remind myself to calm my mind.

If you have interest in the mind, brain and patterns this is a very interesting read. Some might find it dry, but it is actually written in a way that it is quite easy to flip the pages. 😉

~T 😀

 

Aug 232016
 

As I walked each morning my route from the guesthouse to the yoga villa in Bali, I would pass the same people and greet them with a smile and “Good morning.” In a very short time it became a familiar routine that I greatly looked forward to.

I would pass a small family temple and the residents were often outside washing or chatting alongside the small, dirty channel that flowed with water down the street. As I turned onto the main road, I would pass stores setting up their wares or food for the day to be sold or offerings on the ground for those who had passed. Sometimes there were already customers ready to purchase what was on offer, but still the people would stop and smile to say a brief “Hello”. Old men would be sitting on their ‘stoops’ watching the numerous motor bikes and cars speed by taking in the busy street in front of them. Some would simply stare while others would give me a slight smile and head nod to greet me. By the time I would arrive at the villa, I felt as if I had just walked through a family village and I was a part of it.

(offerings)

(Payogan Temple)

(main road)

(neighbor temple grounds/home)

(my route from drop pin to blue dot)

The truth is that the Payogan area is filled with members of one family. My hosts explained that the guesthouse where my yogini-mates were staying was run by cousins on his wife’s side. Others along the road were probably uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers and the like. Still, strangers still felt a true sense of warmth in their smiles.

Different to Thailand where tourists often feel as if they are only liked for their wallets, the Balinese, or at least the Ubudians, never gave that sense. While it was easy to pick up on their intent by their friendly line of questioning:  “How long are you staying?” “Where are you from?” “Do you already have a plan for your trip?” “Do you need a driver?” 😛 , it always felt genuine somehow. Funnily enough, everyone was willing to be a taxi for the right price!

These small encounters, though brief, really made me stop to consider all that we have to grateful for. Even not having AC, electricity or hot water for the past month has given me a new appreciation for such luxuries that are so easily and readily taken for granted. My hope is that when such luxuries do return to us, that we will still stop to acknowledge warm smiles, kindness and generosity as well as get out into the ‘fresh’ air away from our first world privileges and enjoy the simpler things in life.

~T 😀

Aug 222016
 

Ten months ago when I decided to embark on my yoga teacher training journey – on a day when I had taken a day off work because I needed a ‘mental health day’ to escape the dread of going to work each day – I had no idea how I was going to make a retreat to Bali work as part of the course. However, I knew that something would work out and went for it.

Nine months later, having quit my job thus freeing me from any other obstacles to heading to our yoga retreat, I was on a plane to a place that goes beyond expectations.

In 2011, (almost five years ago to he day) I spent about 20 days in Bali’s southern area, Kuta, which is tailored towards tourists. The time then was different in terms of why I was there, who I was with and my stage of life. This time, I was in Ubud, which is well-known as being more traditional and a yoga-center.


Although I did not have that much time to be ‘touristy’ on this trip, I have to say it was one of the most fun and rewarding experiences I have had. Getting to know my yogi compatriots more was a major highlight along with finding my gem of accommodations at the Manada Guesthouse.


The yoga itself was a common thread for us, but not necessarily the central aspect of the retreat. How can this be, you ask, wasn’t it a yoga retreat after all?


Yes, it was. We did do a lot of yoga, teaching and learning of anatomy. However, each individual person there grew whether it was physically, mentally or emotionally. This growth occurred within the person, but because of the unity of the group. We discovered things we liked about each other, things we didn’t like about each other and overall how to accept each person just as they were despite likes or dislikes.



So, it was indeed a beautiful and excellent time away. It was also a good break away from the summer stresses and a chance to take a bit of a breath from reality. 😛

~T 😀

Aug 102016
 

If I have learned nothing else this summer, it is that I cannot really plan and most especially cannot control ANYthing. 😛

With that said, there are some things that I can plan and do. Tonight (early tomorrow), I leave for my Bali retreat as part of my yoga teacher training. I am being asked to teach a couple of times during the week with one ‘day’ as mine to lead. Since I have not been teaching lately and have not gone to a studio class for over a month, I am a little bit apprehensive about it. Also, there will be some people there whom I do not know, so despite my general preference to not teach large classes, this is exactly what I will be doing.

The nice thing is that I have had advance notice, meaning that I can actually prepare a bit and plan. Also, I have some flexibility in what I am teaching allowing me to use my own flavor/style, which is good as it gives me comfort. Having just completed putting together the outline, I feel as if there is a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, heart and mind.

Despite my teacher and others telling me that I should learn to go with the flow and not need to plan so much, I think that just does not work for me. It goes back to my post a while back about respect for different ways and needs of people. By telling me to go against my nature, I am being disrespected for how I do things. I do not go around telling people they should learn to plan more – even if I think it! 😛

So, now, even if I have to make alterations, at least I can comfortably arrive at the retreat and spend my energy getting a feel for the group again and settling into the social aspect of the retreat rather than fretting about what I need to teach. 😀 I have a sense of security in the minimal planning that I can do.

Sometimes the lesson is in embracing what is within our reach and finding peace in controlling what we can without worry about trying to control beyond our reach.

-T 😀

Aug 092016
 


After two months the fur balls are back!

One reason I have never been a fan of boarding cats for long periods of time is that one never really knows what goes on in the boarding spaces. It was not an easy decision to put the cats into boarding at all let alone for so long, but circumstances required it.

The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital pet care center has a good reputation in the city, so I just took everyone’s word for it. I admit I declined offers to check out the place first as we really had no other options.

From the human side, they are indeed a good center and very flexible and helpful. This is a rare thing to find in this city.

However, two months is a long time for kitties. Also, I am not sure if they were kept in separate spaces or not, but they have returned to me much altered…. 🙁

Before, the two slept together always and while fought when playing generally got along just fine.

Now, Pippi (peppered) scowls, hisses and screams whenever Mia (black) gets too close. Pippi also has some kind of crazy cat cry now whenever she has her moment, which is unnerving. Both are a tad skittering with us humans, though that has gotten better in the last 24 hours.

So, I am keeping my fingers crossed that as they settle in to the new space and get re-acquainted with us and each other everything will return to normal.

In the meantime, it seems that Pippi is in recovery mode sleeping quite a bit where she can and Mia is a little like a stoner staring off into space most of the time. 😛

The good news is they are still curious and naughty jumping on counter tops and going where they shouldn’t! 😉

~T 😀

 Posted by at 18:33
Aug 082016
 

Every time I think that I will have an extra moment or that we will have some extra funds it feels like something else comes up. In some cases the extras are negative and sometimes they are positive. It is definitely hard work to focus on the positives and to not get bogged down in the details of unimportance.

Today, it is my time that I am struggling with. There is some sense of pressure in needing to prepare for my trip as I am leaving in two days. It is almost hard to believe that this Bali Retreat is actually happening and that it has come. When I started my yoga certification course, I had no idea how I was going to make it work as I had not yet decided to quit working full-time. I left it to be sorted out later and it has! Still, I am trying to make sure that I catch up with people, do my tutoring sessions to have funds for the trip, run errands, etc.

So, while I had planned to have a bit of an easier and slower morning today, it has not quite worked out that way. However, my focus is on the fact that I do have an hour or so to post, write and generally take a few deep breaths. I actually had time to do a 25-minute meditation last night, which was a huge relief as I have been out of practice and need to be able to do 45-60 minutes for the retreat… 😐 Plus, this morning, I had to run an errand out at Yas Mall, so I combined it with a morning yoga class there as they are doing Ladies Mondays with alternating weeks of yoga and mall-walking. It worked out perfectly so that I could get in a free class on top of doing my errand. 🙂 Also, it was a nice chance to meet a few new people and make contact with the instructor.

I am realizing how all these little activities contribute to various effects later, so I am trying not to take any of it for granted even though it presses a bit upon my time. I need to learn to just relax with my idea of a strict schedule – even more than I already have! It is only myself who gets stressed and it is only me who it matters to overall, so, yes, deep breaths and a smile!

Sometimes we all require a shift in perspective to see that there are reasons for our unexpected extras whether good or bad. There is alway something to gain if we just look for it and keep plans flexible . 😀

~T 😀

 Posted by at 12:21