Detachment

It’s something I have to constantly challenge and remind myself to practise. Be it from people or from things, I think it’s the only way for me to be able to gain some semblance of peace within, yet innately for the last few decades that I’ve been living, it is almost an ingrained part of me, no doubt I guess due to circumstances I’ve grown up in or experiences I’ve had when I was young that have led to what I am today.

It is perhaps telling, that the more I try to detach myself the harder it seems to be and the more bitterness I feel, whether it’s with myself or the people I try to detach from, when I can’t get to the state envisioned. I don’t know if it’s what I would call ‘soft-heartenedness’, if I just have a natural soft spot for these people that at the slightest hint of any positive showing of affection/friendliness to me, all earlier thoughts of detaching myself from them go out the window obliterated and I invest and dive fully headlong into it and somehow or another emerge with even deeper wounds when things again start to go awry.

I told my friend that maybe I’m just the ‘all or nothing’ kind of person, but yet the inability to practise and stand by the concept of ‘nothing’ has resulted in bitterness that in all reality has only affected me and left my heart in shreds and my mind in constant turmoil, the other person oblivious to whatever suffering I’d inflicted on myself.

The idea is to detach at an appropriate moment and not grieve, or stay too long in grief, when a relationship goes south or becomes that of an acquaintance sort of connection. The key is to understand that people come and go, and friends are made for a season and a reason. It may be true that some stay longer than others and maybe there may even be some who linger for an almost lifetime, the ‘evergreen’, underlying bedrock of friendships that somehow always remain, visible or not. Yet the truth is that there are and will be many who will come and go, and it is important to recognise and acknowledge that, appreciate it when they come and accept and celebrate it even, when the time comes for them to make an exit.

If I could only accept that graciously, even if the exit happens in circumstances that I least expect, I need to gird and ready myself for such situations and be ever ready to cut loose when it doth occurs.

I want to be happier and more at peace. I don’t want to keep on like this and exhaust myself and people around me – those that are still around.

There are so many things in life that need the mental capacity to deal with that it is needful to conserve the bandwidth for the most fundamental ones so that the candle doesn’t burn out prematurely.

Food enjoyed with another almost always taste better…

staying afloat

At the risk once again of sounding like a broken record as I succumbed to over-rumination, the mental image of a piece of driftwood out on the rough turbulent seas surfaced. Perhaps that is what describes the state I am in, physically and mentally. I really do admire people who put in the effort to live each day meaningfully and with some purpose because I think that is not something easy? I have chosen to be weak and whine about my predicaments, that my mental fog somehow prevents me to squeeze that ounce of effort from my self to do so because the dreams I have each night that oddly remain fresh in my mind when I awake in the hours of pre-dawn leave me bewildered and more weary than I was when I laid myself down to rest the night before.

I need to consider relocating my living quarters. I do not know how to handle the various sets of neighbours who create so much noise disturbances that even for the short few hours I am at home, I cannot enjoy a single moment of peace even when I try to drift off to slumber.

Change is internal, and it needs the person to want to change and make an active effort to change, starting first from the mindset before anything will see any results. I know. Many years ago, my sister-in-law told me that “change comes from within”. I had scoffed at that back then, my insolent and stubborn self who rolled my eyes and made a joke out of that with my friends. It was only after I had embraced Christ, and only after working for many more years in a role that sees me having to engage in sector development work, that I began to appreciate the veracity and value of that phrase.

Maybe it isn’t me that will effect the change, rather it is God who will bless me with what is needed to change, that I would be able to because I believe He will cause all things to happen for my good, for I have been made righteous in Christ. Head knowledge is something I have a bit of, where biblical truths are concerned (I am not that conscientious when it comes to reading the Bible I will admit that as much) but trusting and believing in what those verses say is an altogether different concept because it requires alignment of the thoughts, words and actions. How often have I confessed myself to be a blessed child of God, only to grouse to every living thing around that I am stuck in a rut I cannot get out of, then praying to God to remove me from the valleys that I am in?

That said, I came across this the other day, which made me think of what others have always talked about on self-love. What exactly is self-love and how does one demonstrate that or ‘get better at it’?

Also, is it that I am just not being resilient enough or too idealistic, and not veering on the edge of burning out as I sometimes feel, that I am just so unhappy at my workplace. Many have told me to be thankful for what I have, and perhaps then that would take my mind off the negative aspects of the role, that according to them, are just part and parcel of working that we all have to learn to accept, that if I were to stop expending so much of my brain cells on such thoughts, then maybe this “isn’t such a bad place after all”? Is it really?

This is just another set of useless thoughts that nobody needs to read about. But I don’t know where else to put them down otherwise, so this will have to do for now.

happiness can be simple

It may seem like the most complex concept yet simultaneously the way to it can be amazingly simple.

I understand that it is a state of mind that we have the ability to influence and change but far too often, we are given to a multitude of external factors that impair our perception of this and make us feel so worn and tired that it is far easier to succumb and submit ourselves to the defeat.

Happiness, joy or perhaps contentment – it is never a constant unwavering state, because even the Bible says that we will have trials and trouble. That is why we need our saviour. But it is also easy to speak thus while practising it is another totally different ballgame.

I cannot fathom and comprehend the unkindness that some people are capable of. The frequent alternating of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde treatments just leave me completely exhausted and taken by surprise. I cannot anticipate such situations and have zero defence against these that leave me bewildered, befuddled and fundamentally, hurt. Maybe it is part of my schema that I am wont to return to such unhealthy relationships/friendships, even though I know these people are just not good for me and they are not worth my time and effort. Yet time and again, I have let myself slide back into the comfort of their friendship when they are in a good mood or when I am in their good books. Then when they decide to cut me off one fine morning, I have to suck it up and deal with it.

I wrote this to myself and I hope it is something I can always remind myself of, like a permanent sticky to adhere to myself in my mind/chest/forehead:

“Dear self,

Do not let someone repeatedly make you feel like a worthless piece of shit. You are more than enough.

Once is enough so please, I beseech you, please learn. Do not keep committing the same mistakes and allowing these people to treat you so badly as they wish and fancy. You are not responsible for their mood swings and if they do not see and appreciate the value of your friendship, so be it. Do not grovel at their feet. Learn, please! They are just not worth it.

Ironically, it isn’t what people whom we frequently complain about (at the workplace) who make it hard for us to carry on. It is the people who we were supposed to be closer with, the ones we spend more hours and days commiserating about our woes and complains over lunch, who drive us to leave eventually because of the emotional abuse they subject us to, because of the callousness with how they treat us, because of the disregard they show when they take my heart of friendship and trample on it like it is dirt.

Love, Me”

detachment

I have always struggled with investing too much of myself emotionally to people and perhaps even things.

The latter is a problem only to the extent that it has made decluttering difficult because throwing things away is made tougher, exacerbated by the other issue of a tendency to be lazy in efforts to re-home these items that I no longer need/use.

Attachment to people is a way bigger hurdle that I need to constantly remind myself to learn my lessons, and let go of putting myself too much into interpersonal relationships. It is actually fine and nothing wrong in being authentic and giving my all in friendships (beyond acquaintances or colleagues), but I need to learn about managing expectations or not becoming overly-expectant of what “should” the connection be like.

Frequently, a point-in-time closeness has sometimes made me forget the pain and heartache experienced in past experiences where I have let myself go too deep into expecting how the relationship should be, and ended up burnt and getting myself hurt. Sure, it really is a case of me asking for it, but how is this balancing act going to be maneuvered in a way that I don’t hold back in authenticity, while being able to accept that things aren’t going to be how I wish for them to be all the time? I cannot expect that the other party, whose actions and thoughts I have zero control over and not absolute awareness of, would always behave in a way that I would have in the same situation. Different people hold different values and they may not always be considerate of the other person, or they could be dealing with some shit that has resulted in them behaving in a capricious manner that inadvertently and unconsciously hurt someone else, i.e. me.

It will always be a work in progress that I have to keep posting these mental ‘post-it’ notes to myself. It is tiring indeed, but I believe that in the longer run, being able to manage this well would contribute greatly to my overall mental health and well-being.

rain rain and more rain

The rain finally stopped after what became an almost never-ending weekend of rain. The weather was gloomy right from Friday afternoon and when the first drops of rain spilled, there was hardly any respite.

Through the sploshing through puddles while trying to make my way from office to yoga class on Friday evening as dry as practically possible, maneuvering a complex network of underpasses and sheltered walkways, to braving the relentless drizzle that fell in light and heavy spurts for a family dinner to celebrate Dad’s birthday on Friday the 13th no less, the drastic dip in temperatures definitely signalled the year-end. As much as I am not fond of getting my footwear wet from traipsing about in wet weather, or even having my clothes feel damp and clammy from the specks of rainwater that inevitably fall onto me, I really enjoy how this whole thing makes the whole Christmas season seem more real.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the rain pressed on in the early hours of the morning when I roused from bed, blinking my eyes open to a cloudy grey sky and shivering under the thin duvet cover (without the quilt inside) that I usually used as a blanket. Hot yoga in such weather felt like an awesome idea to get myself warmed up, and it felt good to just sweat for a couple of hours before once more stepping out to the cold atmosphere.

I read something online about how when we feel a lack of connection to the people at work, whether we just do not connect on a personal level or feel that maybe there is too much toxicity that we don’t really want to be a part of, the article recommended building up on relationships outside of the office. In such situations, we are not going to remain in touch with the people in office the moment/day we leave, so while we are in the midst of trying to leave, it is much better to be able to focus on work while looking forward to forging deeper ties with our friends outside. It is true I suppose, that this could be a way to take my mind off the disappointment or sadness I feel at being left out of cliques or with co-workers who fail to or are simply unable or unwilling to demonstrate the same kind of empathy I display to them. But friendship is never about equal reciprocity, in or out of the workplace. Yet this unequally yoked relationship automatically subjects one party to an automatic disadvantage when this person attaches too much weight or invests too much emotionally into the connection which the other party probably doesn’t at all.

It seems trying on too many fronts at work. Short of being able to finally discover and identify what it is that I want to do that can be a professional pursuit, the simple thought of continuing at this current place for an indefinite length of time certainly makes for a depressing one right at the start of the week, as we count down to the last 15 days of 2019.

a Christmas that doesn’t feel like Christmas at all

I can’t believe it has been so long since I last posted anything. It’s getting increasingly challenging to post on WordPress, metaphorically. There really isn’t much to write about and I just do not have the inclination to write. It’s easier on other platforms perhaps, to share, words or pictures.

That said, as I checked out the blog’s page, I realised that the drifting snowflakes are back! Obviously I haven’t activated that this year, so I guess it is a feature that has carried over from the year before. Looking at the snowflakes, I can’t help but feel the sharp contrast to what we are experiencing this year in Singapore; the weather has been nothing short of scorching, warm and humid, save for a few bouts of slightly gloomier, cooler and wetter moments that offer some kind of respite from the heat that is so uncharacteristic of this time of the year. Indeed, if these are the effects of global warming, I really shudder to think of what could lie ahead.

Such weather pushes any thoughts of Christmas far away from my mind, which automatically links the heat to ‘summer’ season. On the other hand, the shopping belt and malls have started pretty early in ramping up the festive vibe, with the decor and then when they began playing Yuletide tunes that kind of sets the tone to get people into the spirit. I didn’t want to, and seldom buy many gifts for Christmas in the first place but as I bought one, the others somehow just seem to follow. It is always a blessing to give than to receive, although I wouldn’t of course refuse presents that come my way!

Going through a period of simplifying my life and hopefully eschew the more material parts of life that I used to (and probably sometimes still do) hanker after. After all, we all come into this world with nothing and will leave with nothing, why should we indulge in material items that don’t do much other than to artificially inflate our egos? It’s something I try to convince myself, that material things don’t make or define a person, definitely not me. I don’t become a “better” person just by carrying an expensive bag, or wearing expensive clothes or shoes. What matters more and most is what is inside of me, which are not what so-called branded items can define.

Anyway, before the year runs out… we have another 10 days or so before 2017 arrives, if I don’t come back here to do another post, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

right believing leads to right living

This is something that my pastor usually talks about. I’m not about to go into my belief, which I think is something personal and I don’t need to share it publicly. But rather I thought this is a very apt phrase – “Right believing leads to right living”. Simply put, it just means that believing in the right thing(s) will cause you to lead a life that is.. right and good. What is right and good, is of course debatable and subjective depending on person. But it generally corresponds to something like, not doing the wrong/illegal things, and also perhaps in terms of mind set, not thinking the ‘wrong’ things?

I don’t know if I were a born pessimist. But I would admit that for the most part of my life so far, I have become sort of a pessimistic person. It is not chronic, for I still do see the good in some situations and I am not constantly in a state of depression as there are still bursts of optimism, hope and sunshine in my life. It’s just that, my life and my emotions often go through a crazy roller coaster ride, which can happen many times a day. It is tiring, to say the least, but whatever option it is that I am going for, whether it is believing in God for everything and letting God chart my life, or seeking tangible professional help, at the end of the day, it is still my mind that needs to be controlled. My mind needs to see the hope, believe in the hope that God has a great plan for me in life and that whatever it is that I am going through now, it is a way for me to grow, to learn whatever I need to that I am currently lacking in, to be protected from a path that I would otherwise have taken that might have put me in harm’s way.

I am trying very hard. With His grace, I want to believe that this is possible and every single hurdle that looms up in front will be cleared and overcome, and I will come out stronger and better.

As I was going through some files, I saw a lot of my travel photos from the past, when I was in my previous job. I remembered complaining about the fatigue from travelling to places far away, not the glitzy, glamourous cities that we associate with business travel. I remembered complaining about the lost weekends and personal time because of the need to start the business trip before the work week begins, and after it has ended. The discomfort of not being able to get proper and quality sleep due to the different time zones, being stuck in cattle class, the need to take red-eye flights, suffering from jet lag.

But I also remembered and reminisced the peaceful and happy moments when I managed to squeeze in some form of sightseeing in those nondescript places that these trips led me to, enjoying the wonderful cuisines of these countries and marvelling at the magnificent sights that Mother Nature had created there. The euphoria of heading home after a trip and the real feeling of ‘being home’ when the flight touches down in Changi. The anticipation of seeing my family again, of being able to feel the familiarity of Singapore and having my favourite local food, being dressed comfortably in our national ‘costume’ of shorts and T-shirt, not needing to be all wrapped up for the cold, wintry climates overseas.

Was that meant to be just a phase of my life that has passed and become another chapter of my life’s history? I don’t know. I do miss travelling, but I don’t know if it is not God’s plan for me to continue a life of frequent jet-setting. I can still travel leisurely, and it definitely beats business travelling. But there is always a difference, because I can’t afford to travel as often on my own expense, and I won’t be going to some places that I won’t travel on my own.

My last business trip was to Shanghai.

shanghai_nov2013

I am thankful that I didn’t have bad memories of Shanghai. In total, I think I have been there 4 times, and they were all business trips, and always in times of generally fine weather, either March or November. I didn’t have to go through the nastiness of summer in Shanghai, and on several of those past trips, I had the opportunity to meet up with friends or family who work/live there. It had been kind to me, and on that last trip, it was good as well. I was even given a farewell gift by my German colleague, which although small, was a really nice gesture that touched me, despite that we were not exactly that close since I only meet her when I go on business trips. She knows how much I visit Starbucks, which we usually also do when we travel, so this was what she gave me.

shanghai_nov2013_1