Friday, July 7, 2017

Mindfulness

Mindfulness seems to be the opposite of productivity. I like to multitask. I like to be productive. Maybe that's why the idea never resonated much with me. When I read How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays and tried to start some of of the exercises, I couldn't even get through the first week. I have not even finished the book yet. (So unlike me.) 

When I started my clinical work as a trainee play therapist, I realised that I am not in control of my mind. I look but I do not see. My mind wanders away. Far far away. I started meditating more frequently. I even did it daily at a point in time. Why did I stop doing it so frequently? Hmm, I guess I was actually kinda demotivated when despite my daily practice, my mind still wandered. Anyways, I do it weekly. Sometimes.

I can't recall where I read it, but Gretchen Rubin says, "it is better to do something every day, than to do it some days. For a few weeks, I have started incorporating 3 daily habits: exercise, brain training games and read. I thought 3 would be a nice place to start. I realised that once I started this, I am way more energetic. More disciplined. 

So, I decided to try out the mindfulness exercise: leave no trace. Basically, when you use a room, you tidy up when you leave, as though you were not there to begin with. I had a bad habit of dumping dirty dishes into the sink and letting them pile up, so I wanted to start here. It was tough, especially when I wanted to go right to bed after dinner and a movie. I made myself wash up. And guess what? I felt a sense of accomplishment and it felt good! I felt satisfied the next day, too, when I walked into the kitchen to see it all clean. It's tough when I'm pressed for time, but I think that this is definitely a habit I would like to maintain! 

Next, I decided to tackle my next bad habit, glancing at my phone at every red light! Why did I feel a need to do that? Am I so impatient? The exercise: focus on breathing when waiting. Waiting for the lift. Waiting for the traffic light. Focusing on the breath can help me feel more centred. 

This is the beginning of my journey towards being more mindful. 

"Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing." - Jon Kabat-Zinn

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Currently

I am currently

READING all about Play Therapy! Melanie Klein, Carl Jung, Laban. I love learning new things.
WATCHING Life in Pieces! Super funny sitcom.
LISTENING to the soundtrack of La La Land. Can't get enough of it.
FEELING a little under the weather today. Just had wisdom tooth removed.
LOVING life


Thursday, January 5, 2017

A quarter of a century

2016 was...interesting. I turned 25, which was a milestone? In some ways. Hence I shall list 25 things that happened in 2016!

1. Left Odyssey. When I leave, I leave a piece of my heart with the kids.
2. Stayed at Fraser's Hill for Valentines Day - and ran away from the CNY hot weather.
3. Went back to Tweedlewink Playhouse where we worked crazy hard and put in crazy hours and practically ran the whole place.
4. Hm things didn't quite work out in Playhouse so we left Playhouse. (Long and complicated story) Left another piece of my heart there.
5. At crossroads again...what am I to do next? Options options...
6. Decided to continue my studies! Pursuing Play Therapy.
7. Went to Melbourne. Experienced snow for the first time. Fell in love with Melbourne. Left a piece of my heart in Melbourne.
8. Took a break from work.
9. Wrote articles for The Sun.
10. Binged on TV series - Parks & Rec and Downton Abbey
11. Asked to go back to Odyssey. Bittersweet experience.
12. Started Play Therapy course. Learned so much!! So excited to embark on this new journey.
13. Spent a lot buying toys for my practice.
14. Turned 25!
15. Roller coaster journey in Odyssey.
16. Celebrated our 2-year anniversary back in Mines.
17. Ended the odyssey in Odyssey. Leaving another piece of my heart.
18. Year end holiday in Kuching. Loved loved loved the beautiful suite we stayed in.
19. Year end holiday in Singapore! Had a great time with great friends.
20. Spent too much on holidays.
21. Decided to try to apply to migrate to Aussie.
22. Decided to focus on studies in 2017 while working part time.
23. Happy to end a crazy year.
24. Looking forward to beginning a new year.
25. Counted down in a cafe with the whole place just staring at us.

May 2017 be a better year!!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Reflections of 2015

This yearly reflection thing is becoming a tradition. And sort of the sole purpose of my blog! I only posted like, twice this year? Oh well, I guess I'd been busy with other things.

In a nutshell, I would say that 2015 was a honeymoon year for me. Not just in terms of my marriage, but in other aspects of life, too.

My first year of marriage was blissful. It is everything I hoped for and more. My only wish is that it will continue to be this way and only get better with every passing year. I am blessed with an incredibly kind and understanding life partner who understands me better than myself.

I started going for yoga classes and I have pushed myself to do more than I've ever done before. It has helped me feel healthier both physically and mentally. I think I have also grown taller by doing yoga! Either that, or my sister measured wrongly. I prefer the former. I credit my weight gain to yoga, too. You know, exercise means you gain muscles, and muscles are heavier than fats. Or maybe I'm living in denial and I have gained weight because my husband constantly buys me suppers......

My work had its ups and downs, but I am trying my best to focus on the ups. I have learned a lot from this current school and have been blessed with amazing children to love and to be loved by. Also, because of the abundant school holidays, I had plenty of time to rest and recharge.

Upcoming in 2016, I have been incredibly blessed with the challenge of running my own center. I am so excited to embark on this journey and I do believe the timing is right. I am ready!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fulfilling Holidays

One of my resolutions for 2015 is to work on my work-life balance, as I was clearly overworked at my previous workplace. I'm glad to say that I have achieved it - I am at a point where I am satisfied: neither overworking nor under-working. I finish work at 3.30 and I have school holidays. Ah, life is good!

I was listening to the Happiness Project (I got the audiobook) Inspired to start my own mini happiness project, I started my two week break coming up with a super long list of things I want to do over the holidays. I didn't plan any trips because well, no one else was on holiday together with me.

There were days where I gave in to my guilty pleasures - waking up without alarm, lazing in bed, browsing the internet, reading and going back to sleep. I stayed in my cave all day. I had plenty of Me Time. But I like to be productive. That's why I like to keep track of what I have accomplished.

1. Nurturing my Creative Side

I'd just finished listening to "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink (also an audiobook) One of the right brain sense is creative design. My sister was learning watercolour and she taught me some basics and I watched some tutorials on youtube. I got the gist of it and just tried - after all there's no right or wrong. Creating something beautiful is so addictive. I just kept painting, losing track of time.


 I like doodling, too. So, I wanted to try honing my skills and googled "how to draw caricatures" This was just a mini project and I still need lots of practice!


As I was also designing the Sunday School banner, I decided to do some research on graphic designing. I'm just an amateur, but mainly I want to give it a clean and simple look, staying away from anything tacky.

2. Reading


I finished two books which have been by my bed for a long time - Chicken Soup for the Soul Love Stories and Say You're One of Them. I've been a fan of chicken soups since a young girl and I always find the stories heartwarming. Say You're One of Them is a series of short stories set in different African countries by Uwem Akpan. Some of the stories were good, whereas some made me fall asleep.

I started reading Parent-Babble - How Parents Can Recover from Fifty Years of Bad Expert Advice. I couldn't stop complaining about the book and decided to just stop reading it. This book review reflects how I feel about the book.

He is saying that parents should "parent" the way they were parented in the 60s because back in those days, his own schoolmates didn't commit suicide, abuse alcohol or drugs or have emotional problems. Um, based on what research - his own memories??

In the book, he says that in those days, if a kid breaks a neighbour's window, he'd have to pay for it and be punished. Then, he'd never do it again. But these days, they will be wondering does the child have emotional conflict? Is it because the neighbour looks like the father who abandoned him? Send him for therapy. The child does not have to face any consequence.
\
I believe that in order to solve the problem, it is important to understand the cause of the misbehaviour. Treat the disease, not the symptom. Having said that, it doesn't mean that the child doesn't have to face any consequences! Can't the child be sent to therapy (If necessary) AND do extra chores to earn money to pay the neighbour?

No doubt that some parents take "I want to give my child self esteem" too far and end up having arrogant children who think that they've accomplished much even though they haven't. I recommend a better book: Parents Who Love Too Much by Jane Nelsen and Cheryl Erwin.

But I digress. Back to books I'm reading - John C. Maxwell's Winning with People. I'm studying how to improve my people skills to become a better leader.

I also finished The Orchid House. Ah, the feeling of getting lost in a good book, hours passing by unnoticed, such guilty pleasure.

3. Household

Spring cleaning is my archenemy. It took me forever to clean up the house and I haven't even finished. I cleaned every room except one - the STOR-DY (store+study). I dumped everything that couldn't be de-cluttered into the stordy and I am ignoring the stacks of paper and documents in there. I think I'll deal with those the next break! At least my living space is clutter free-ish.

I made beef stew. My shopping experience: I'm at the supermarket, looking for bay leaves. Hmm, the labels are all in Malay, which one is bay leaves...Google translate bay leaves to Bahasa. Oh, it's daun salam. Same thing for the part of beef I wanted.

Yummylicious beef stew

I became super housewife and made chicken stock and froze a HUGE batch of it for future use. Then, I cooked a huge batch of my favourite spinach spaghetti sauce for dinner and also to freeze for the future when I'm super busy. I also cooked ratatouille for dinner. Like, a lot of it 




I paid and organized and filed up ALL the bills, which I had been putting off for ages.  

4. Friends

We hosted some guests and I met up with Tracy after yoga and Boon Chin to sort of help with her wedding. Then we had dinner together. Choir practice also took up some time and I kinda enjoy it. It's fun to sing. 

7 more days till I go back to school! I want to live to the fullest and make the most of my days. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Reflections

2014 has been a roller coaster.

My health went downhill as I got frequent abdomen pains. (Which is bad because I'm the type who rarely falls sick). Initially thought was just due to bad digestion and started taking probiotics, but the pain continued on. After being misdiagnosed a few times (cyst, gastric), I finally got diagnosed - appendicitis (No, I did not run after my meal). It was pretty scary as my appendix had ruptured and the doctor said "it could be messy". I woke up in the middle of the night before the surgery shivering, scared and cold, and my comfort was in God. I prayed and prayed, and the hymn "Still" was repeating in my mind. Hide me now, under your wings. Cover me, within your mighty hands. When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you in clouds above. Father You are King over the flood, I will be still and know you are God. With God's blessings the surgery went well and everything is OK! I am very thankful to my family, husband (then fiance) and friends for being by my side. It was a great chance to rest and recuperate at home. 

MY WEDDING! I officially married my childhood sweetheart after 9 years of dating. The wedding went on smoothly despite some hiccups. The greatest challenge for me while preparing the wedding was to brainwash myself to accept it if things do not go as planned. I had some stressed mild-bridezilla moments (I like to think that I was all calm and zen but I'll admit, there were certain times I bridezilla-ed, just mildly). It did rain in the end (oh well, it was a 50-50 chance). Thankfully, everything fell into place. I'm very glad that we did not have to spend a bomb on the wedding. After all, it's just a one day event. 

Oh and also, we moved into our first home! It's so warm and cosy and lovely and I love it so much! We spent months making the house a home - hunting, moving, buying, painting. We are incredibly blessed to have such a beautiful home. 

We are blissfully married and it is our second month anniversary. I love being married to my favourite person and being able to see him every day. We just came back from our honeymoon 1.0 (we plan to have more!) and it was wonderful to be able to spend 9 full days with him. 

2014 was also the year when we were reminded on the brevity of life. Planes disappearing, being blown up, crashing. Initially, I was a bit worried as our flight was just two days after the plane disappeared, but I thought, there are many maaany things in life which are out of our control. Life is short and unpredictable, and we should be ready to meet God anytime, any day. "Are you living right should you die tonight? Is it well with your soul?" I'm not scared. 

As I look to 2015, I want to remind myself to always look towards the goal of going to heaven. I want to do more for the Sunday School. I want to study God's Word more diligently. And I hope that whatever plans I make, God is in the center. 

Have a blessed 2015!!! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014

This is The Year. The Year I've been waiting for. The Year I get married to My Favourite Person. 

My preparation? Wellllll, I'm kinda busy and neglected wedding plans a bit...... But, I've decided to take these ten months to read as much as I can to get myself prepared for married life. Over the years I've read a number of relationship books, not that my relationship is bad, but I read of people saying they wish they had read this book earlier and that would save a lot of heartache. So that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm learning from others' mistakes. 

Here are some of the books on my reading list.


I also downloaded some audiobooks, Your Brain on Love by Stan Tatkin and Happily Ever After by Gary Chapman. 

Other than that, I'm super busy at work and my goal is just to be able to maintain my energy level. Working with kids is super energy consuming so that means an earlier bed time. Haha. I'll try my best... At least I'm not taking evening classes any more. (First time in three years I'm getting weekday evenings off!! Super!) 

I'll also be moving to my new place soooo that would be another Big Task to do. 

2014 is gonna be a super year!