Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gratitude | Cajun Kings with Good Friends

I'm not the sort to keep in touch with people. It just feels like I pass through life trying too hard to remain unattached. But some people stay with me. I had a dinner date with some old friends who used to be colleagues. We have all moved on in life, but we stayed in touch. Sometimes, people stay in your life to remind you that you can be loved, in spite of yourself. I had a good time tonight dining on Cajun style seafood, gumbo, frog legs, crabs and prawns. I am so full. I am thankful for time spent with people who accept me for who I am, even if they may not always agree with me.

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Friday, February 22, 2013

Gratitude | Hainanese Chicken Rice @ Tanglin Halt

This plate of chicken rice made me happy and thankful this morning. Why? Because it reminded me of the simple pleasures of home. I was working in Dubai a long time ago. I was so far from home and something as simple as this plate of chicken rice would be unavailable. Home to me is that blend of many flavours and many sights and sounds. Things have changed in Singapore the last few years. It's beginning to feel less like the place I grew up in. Then something familiar like being able to sit in a hawker centre with no air conditioning to enjoy a plate of chicken rice - it reminds me I am home. If it doesn't make sense to you, you probably are not Singaporeans. And this is why it is so important. It's a shared experience between me and my countrymen. This is what defines us.

I am thankful to be home. I am thankful for this plate of home.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

RUNNING | Safari Zoo Run 2013

So I've been pretty quiet recently. Good news is - my left knee seems to have healed somewhat. I can run again, but I'm taking things slow. I also just completed my first 6K run of the year today. It's the Safari Zoo Run 2013, in memory of our grand dame, Ah Meng. (I blogged about her passing here)

I like animals, although I have to admit I haven't been to the zoo in a long time. But a Sunday spent running in the zoo? Awesome way to spend a Sunday, I say!

As expected, it was a lovely Sunday run, lots of families bringing their children along. I really admire the parents that sign their kids up for runs like these. I think it beats going to the malls on weekend, where you just shop and purchase things. We need to set better examples to children on the fun of running and just moving. And there's also the animals. I like the animals, especially the big cats.

[The tiger was pacing back and forth restlessly. I was in the middle of the run, but decided to stop to take a picture]

It was a relaxing run. No competition. We ran through the zoo, and every now and then when we saw the animals, people would stop to take pictures. I did too. :)

I have to confess though: I haven't been to the zoo since I was a student and we did field trips to the zoo. I was expecting all fresh air and nature for today's run. Instead, it was the smell of animals and manure. There were also manure on the grounds. Yeah, welcome to the real world. But all it well.

It started to rain towards the last leg of the run, but it didn't dampen our mood. I went back to the zoo after my run to check out the other animals. It was fun and very wet. Now my muscles are aching. I will take it easy tomorrow.

Meanwhile, check out my finisher medal for today's run:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

POEM | Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

-- David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You 
     © 2003 Many Rivers Press

Monday, February 04, 2013

2013 | Sunday Exercise

It was raining heavily since 11 am today. I ended up missing yoga class, and went to the library instead. Yes, I am that geek. I picked up a few books on running, 2 Jillian Michaels workout DVDs and the book by Jarvis Jay Masters, Finding Freedom: Writings from Death Row. I heard about Jarvis from a lecture by Pema Chodron. She talked about his life, how he was from a broken home, was fostered out to multiple families when he was young, and ended up in prison when he was 19. He was later charged with the murder of a prison guard - a crime he did not actually commit. Th extraordinary part of the story, if extraordinary is the right word, is how he came to take refuge in the dharma, studying first with the Tibetan master Chagdud Tulku and then with Pema Chödrön. Jarvis's story fascinated me for a while, because it speaks so powerfully of the possibility choosing differently.

The knee is still in pain. I am getting annoyed, and worried about how long term this knee condition will be. It's a bad idea to fight with your own body, but I don't want to be an invalid just because of my knee. I did a 37 mins workout earlier today using one of the Jillian Michaels DVD. It helped me feel like I am still on track with my fitness plans, even though I did not make it to yoga class, or run. I just need to feel like I am doing something actively for myself.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

2013 Reading List

Trying to get my reading more organised. I have been starting too many books without finishing them the past year.

  1. January - Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers • Karyl McBride, PhD
  2. February - Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation • Sharon Salzberg
    True Refuge • Tara Brach
  3. March - A Year to Live: How to Live This Year As If It Were Your Last • Stephen Levine
  4. April - The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling • Stephen Cope
  5. May - Loving What Is • Byron Katie

Friday, February 01, 2013

2013 | 28 Day Meditation Challenge

It's back again - Sharon Salzberg's 28-Day Meditation Challenge. I'm taking it again. Anyone can do it. You just commit to 28 days straight of daily meditation, and then let's see how to move forward from there.

To be honest, I don't feel very prepared for this challenge. But then I ask myself: What do you need to prepare except to just sit?

Lately life has been feeling this way - of not being ready, of struggling to catch up. I'm good though. I am grateful for the direction I am heading.

Sharon Salzberg: