Monday, January 31, 2011

QUOTES | Secret of Happiness

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
- Socrates

Friday, January 28, 2011

POETRY | "What We Need Is Here" By Wendell Berry

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

POETRY | "Do not be ashamed" by Wendell Berry

You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
"I am not ashamed." A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.

My friend Tina sent me this poem yesterday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 | 28-Day Meditation Challenge

I was just going through some of my previous posts from 2008 (stuff like: Thoughts on The Last Unicorn, 10 Signs a Book Has been Written by Me Meme & Yoga Cow). The person who wrote these posts seem funny and quirky, yet sensitive and smart at the same time.

What happened to her?

I think I see her sometimes, but I can't be sure. She hasn't been around for a long time.

Let's bring her back, shall we?

I have been working a lot of over-time for my new job. A friend asked me if I was doing anything for myself this weekend. In fact, I have plans to attend a Sunday morning meditation class. I know it is not the usual "fun" activity people have in mind - but it's a precious "me" time.

And the universe seem to be leading me towards my effort. Tricycle just announced the return of the 28 Day Meditation Challenge. It's kicking off in February, and will be hosted by Sharon Salzberg.

It's all good.

A good number

This only makes sense if you play Mafia Wars. :)

just brought her body count to 30,001 by icing ΞFIJFΞProblem?1.800.WHINE☻

It had to be someone special

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Missy Higgins "Ten Days"

So we've put an end to it this time.
I'm no longer yours and you're no longer mine.
You said this hill looks far too steep
If I'm not even sure it's me you wanna keep.
And it's been ten days without you in my reach,
And the only time I've touched you is in my sleep.

But time has changed nothing at all -
You're still the only one that feels like home.
I've tried cutting the ropes and
I let you go but you're still the only one
That feels like home.

You won't talk me into it next time,
If I'm going away your hearts coming too.
'Cos I miss your hands I miss your face.
When I get back let's disappear without a trace.

'Cos it's been ten days without you in my reach,
And the only time I've touched you is in my sleep.

But time has changed nothing at all -
You're still the only one that feels like home.
I've tried cutting the ropes,
Tried letting go but you're still the only one
That feels like home.

So tell me, did you really think...
Oh tell me, did you really think
I had gone when you couldn't see me anymore?
When you couldn't...

'Cos baby time has changed nothing at all -
You're still the only one that feels like home.
And I've tried cutting the ropes,
I let you go but you're still the only one
That feels like home, yeah,
You're still the only one that feels like home,
You're still the only one I've gotta love.
Oh yeah...

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 | Reminder

Barely 2 weeks into the new job and I am already losing my sense of zen.

I need to remind myself:

"This too shall pass."

There. Wisdom for a life-time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quotes from Imagine Me & You

Luce: You can put an end to this!
Rachel: How?
Luce: Tell me to go. Tell me that's what you want, and I will walk away and you will never see me again.
Rachel: Is that what you want?
Luce: I want *you*.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011 | Never

I don't have very much to say today, but I feel the need to say something.

Exactly one year ago, my friend Bunny passed away. She was 33 years old, never made it to 34. She was kind, absent-minded and always late for appointments. She died of a stroke one day, without warning. When she passed away, it made me think a little about life, and how much it means to live and to love someone.

The last thing Bunny and I said to each other was: "We must meet up again." I went to Dubai for work a few weeks later, and we never met up when I came home. Then she passed away.

I'm just a little contemplative today.

You never know when you might lose someone. Never let the last thing you say to someone be words you will regret.

The last words I said to TB were not nice. I can't take them back, and I am doubtful that we will ever meet again. Leave it. That's all I can do.

POETRY | “The Spring and the Fall” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

In the spring of the year, in the spring of the year,
I walked the road beside my dear.
The trees were black where the bark was wet.
I see them yet, in the spring of the year.
He broke me a bough of the blossoming peach
That was out of the way and hard to reach.

In the fall of the year, in the fall of the year,
I walked the road beside my dear.
The rooks went up with a raucous trill.
I hear them still, in the fall of the year.
He laughed at all I dared to praise.
And broke my heart, in little ways.

Year be springing or year be falling,
The bark will drip and the birds be calling.
There’s much that’s fine to see and hear
In the spring of a year, in the fall of a year.
‘Tis not love’s going hurts my days,
But that it went in little ways.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 | Predictable

10) Take full responsibility for maintaining the positive friendship in my life

Last week taught me something. Or rather, it brought an uncomfortable clarity to one of my existing relationship. The friendship has been painful and toxic for a while. There were many reasons for this - but the main reason (and this is a large part my fault)- is my unresolved romantic feelings for the other party. These unresolved feelings bring with them the disastrous baggage of expectations, hopes and disappointments.

I am the sort that starves until I find something I truly want. I wanted someone too much. I really, really wanted to be with this person.

No one else is responsible for my feelings, and I could not manage my heart. Still, a very human instinct is to blame the other party, or we tell ourselves: if I could just communicate my needs, perhaps the other party would change their behaviour to avoid causing hurt. If they don't, well, maybe they don't care enough. Maybe they don't care at all.

I have trapped myself in an emotional loop that will eventually drive me crazy. I finally snapped a few days ago. In a very predictable fashion, I imploded, did everything I could to drive the other party away.

So here we are. I have finally done what I need to do. I need the healing to start soon, because the pain is almost unbearable.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sharleen Spiteri | All The Times I Cried

All The Times I Cried Lyrics
You don't come around no more like you used to do
Oh god I miss your company
Your innocence you know just like
Yeah like it used to be
And how I need you here with me

You just kept on asking why
Never wanting to really try

Cause all the times I've cried
All this pain I've tried to hide
What am I supposed to dream
When nothings ever what it seems

The pain it drifts from day to day
And it makes think
That how I wish it would subside
To smile again all the fears be gone
Find my self respect
There's nothing done with that effect

You just kept on asking why
Never wanting to really try

Cause all the times I've cried
All this pain I've tried to hide
What am I supposed to dream
When nothings ever what it seems

You never were the one
You never were the one

Cause all the times I've cried
All this pain I've tried to hide
What am I supposed to dream
When nothings ever what it seems

Cause all the times I've cried
All this pain I've tried to hide
What am I supposed to dream
When nothings ever what it seems

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When do you give up?

As much as I would like to think of myself as a steadfast person who never gives up on the people that matters, there are moments in my life when I think it is just my ego and stubbornness that hangs on.

When do you know it's time to give up?

I wish someone would tell me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"’s with us wherever we are."

"…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are."

— Pema Chödrön

2011 | Breathe

This is only my second day at work and I already feel the heat on my back. This is a mid-career shift for me, so while I know I have a lot to learn going in -- I didn't realize there was so little time to learn it all.

I need equanimity.

So I went for yoga class today.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 | First Day at the New Job Today

... And I had to stay back late. :)

I have a feeling this new job will involve lots of learning and lots of overtime. My boss had previously wanted to set aside a 2 weeks teething period for me, but Powers That Be demand things be done within the next 2 months. This means I will need to accelerate my training and induction so that I can be of greater help sooner.

Looking forward to it! Yay!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2011 | First Yoga Class for the Year

I had my first yoga class for 2011 at the local Iyengar studio. The irony is, I was working there last year, helping out with the administrative duties -- but I never went for class. I just felt uncomfortable practicing there when I am under their employment. It is just a neurotic and irrational feeling.

I am no longer working at the studio, and I finally found myself in class this evening for a 7:30 pm class. I am out of practice -- it has been two years since I neglected my yoga practice.

Iyengar style however, is different from the yoga taught at my previous yoga studio. I am still not sure what to do with the props -- where should I put the bolster? Do I need a bolster? How tight should my belt be? I'm just figuring things out as I go along.

I have one week before I start a new job. I expect a steep learning curve at the beginning. 2011 will definitely be a year of new experiences and new challenges.

Monday, January 03, 2011

WoYoPracMo is on Facebook

Urgh. I am already spending too much time on Facebook. But the universe has a way of laughing at you. Thanks to yogamum, I just found out WoYoPracMo (I guess it can call it a support group, or sangha for a bunch of people who made the commitment to practice yoga everyday for a whole month) is on Facebook. I'm there already. :P

Sunday, January 02, 2011

2011 | Things I Want to Do in 2011

I have spoken to some of my friends, and one thing we tend to agree about 2010 is that it has been a rough year for a lot of us. They say fortune runs in cycles, so maybe it is time for better luck in 2011.

I know I need my luck to improve this year.

In the spirit of new beginnings, I have drafted some aspirations for 2011. (nope. they are not "resolutions" :P)

Some of the things I hope to do for 2011 are:

1) Write every day
In any form. Either in my journal, on this blog or working on a story. I haven't been working the creative side of my brain very much the past 2 years. It is time to get the brain muscles working again.

2) Study the Bhagavad Gita
I had always wanted to sit down one day and really meditate on the Gita - as part of my own spiritual inquiry.

3) Finish writing the story I started when I was in the university
That story is called, "Orpheus Sings the Guitar Electric". It's a love story, a sad one, with vampyres, rock music and reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

4) Meditate everyday
I'm looking at twice a day (morning and night) for at least 15 minutes each time

5) Resume a regular yoga practice
Two years ago I had a really good regular practice - 5 to 6 times a week. On top of that, I was a vegetarian, cooked lunch for myself almost everyday. I felt really healthy, almost never fell sick. Then it all went to pieces. But as they say, when you stumble, just get back up again.

6) Quit Mafia Wars
Okay, this is easier said than done. Mafia Wars on Facebook was like an emotional crutch for me the last 2 years. But recently I quit playing for a short while - and it was a good break: I had more time to do other things, I met up with my real life friends, and most importantly, I started sleeping early. Then I resumed playing Mafia Wars again, and my sleep schedule went to hell again. This is an unhealthy addiction. I want my life back.

What is preventing me from quitting Mafia Wars? I made a lot of friends playing this stupid game, and walking away from the game probably means walking away from my friends.

7) Travel at least once this year
I'm hoping ... Chicago in September? ;)

8) Save money
This gap year has drained my savings significantly. I am at that age where I need to start saving more for the future.

9) Read more than last year
One indication of how well I am doing mentally is how much I read. I can read more than 50 books in a year in spite of a busy work schedule and a 5~6 times a week yoga practice, yet only managed 3 books in 2009, and 13 books in 2010 -- this says a lot. It's not about the lack of time. Something was very wrong in 2009 and 2010.

2011, please be better.

10) Take full responsibility for maintaining the positive friendship in my life
It is too easy to always blame the other party when things don't go well in your relationships. I have decided this doesn't work, and I have decided to take full responsibility for the relationships in my life. I don't mean a self-imposed martyrdom that takes all the blame by the way. What this means is, I choose to actively work towards improving and mending my relationship with the people I care about. To make the fullest effort at the things I can change, and for that which I cannot change, to surrender.

11) Resume reading Proust
When I first started blogging, I didn't start with any direction. Then the blog found itself when I saw a group of book bloggers that decided to read Proust together. This blog was supposed to be a book blog, then it became something more for me.

Let's devote some time in 2011 to Marcel, shall we?

12) To let go of the things that no longer work for me
Some people I know spent their New Year pursuing old grudges that started in 2009. I decided this is a good lesson on the need to let go of grudges and toxicity. Life is simply too short to be spent on things and people that don't serve our happiness or emotional maturity.

Let go, let go, let go.

Namaste, my friends.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

100 BOOKS | 100 Books To Read 2011 - The Planning

People who have been reading this blog since it first started probably recall the 100 Books to Read lists. This blog was first started to alleviate boredom at work, but slowly evolved into a place where I kept track of my reading. I started drawing up a list of 100 books I aspire to read every year, fully conscious of the fact that real life makes it almost impossible to finish 100 books in a year -- but going ahead anyway. None of us will ever truly be able to finish all the books we want to read in this life-time anyway, so we might as well just try and enjoy the ride: The journey is the destination.

I have decided to revive the 100 Books To Read List for 2011. It has been something I enjoyed doing for several years -- but I have neglected it the past two years. I guess this is as much a sign that the circumstances in my life is finally improving.

For 2011, I hope to finally tackle Ryszard Kapuscinski, to read more history -- and maybe finally finish some of the classics I have always wanted to read.

As it is every year, the list is fluid and evolving, full of good intentions.

100 Books To Read 2011

  1. Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human • Richard Wrangham
    [23/12/2010 ~

  2. A Paradise Built in Hell • Rebecca Solnit
    [14/12/2010 ~

  3. Let the Right One In • John Ajvide Lindqvist
    [Translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg]
    [18/11/2010 ~

  4. The Classical World • Robin Lane Fox

  5. Sergio: One Man's Fight to Save the World • Samantha Power

  6. The Shadow of the Sun • Ryszard Kapuscinski

  7. The Histories • Herodotus

  8. Guns, Germs and Steel • Jared Diamond

  9. No Logo • Naomi Klein

  10. War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy
    [translated by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky]

  11. Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi • Geoff Dyer

  12. Out of Sheer Rage: In the Shadow of D.H. Lawrence • Geoff Dyer

  13. The Death of Ivan Ilyich & Other Stories • Leo Tolstoy
    [translated by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky]

  14. Just Kids • Patti Smith

  15. Eat, Pray, Love • Elizabeth Gilbert
    [02/12/2010 ~ 08/12/2010]

As you can see- the list is still in the planning process.



  1. Eat, Pray, Love • Elizabeth Gilbert

  2. Letters to a Young Poet • Rainer Maria Rilke [Translated by Stephen Mitchell]

  3. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking • Malcolm Gladwell

  4. Hannah's Gift: Lessons From a Life Fully Lived • Maria Housden

  5. The Art of Possibility • Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

  6. The Last American • Elizabeth Gilbert

  7. The Girl Who Played with Fire • Stieg Larsson [Translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland

  8. Into the Wild • Jon Krakauer

  9. Where the God of Love Hangs Out: Stories • Amy Bloom

  10. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen • Christopher McDougall

  11. The Epicure's Lament • Kate Christensen

  12. The Great Man • Kate Christensen

  13. Fight Club • Chuck Palahniuk

  1. Batwoman: Elegy • Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams III

  2. Queen & Country (Definitive Edition) Volume 04 • Greg Rucka

  3. Queen & Country (Definitive Edition) Volume 03 • Greg Rucka

  4. Queen & Country (Definitive Edition) Volume 02 • Greg Rucka

  5. Queen & Country (Definitive Edition) Volume 01 • Greg Rucka

A big improvement from 2009. :)