making peace

the time has finally come – for you to face that big one. that major relationship that left an impact so devastating you thought it could never be sent to the folder where past experiences you’ve sorted through and moved on from reside.

you went to poke the beast. you always do. always in hope that the in between was enough time for the beast to transform into something else. something able to look you in the eyes and rise above together. because sometimes you are that beast. and all you need is time and bit of understanding to be ready to heal. some people say don’t bother. but that’s not who you are. you always try. it isn’t always the smartest thing, but you choose to anyways. until the chapter is over.

what transpired took you by surprise. because you thought you had an idea of how things might go either way. but once again, you overlooked all of reality to exist in your fantasy world where everyone wants to make peace. boy were you wrong. goddamn were you wrong.

it genuinely shocks you. you don’t know why. it really shouldn’t. but you really did not expect such a reaction. it sucks. you’d like for it not to, but it does. it’s sad that some things private and personal that you were or had divulged in a space you once considered safe could be used in such a way, twisted beyond recognition. violated. soiled. but you know the truth. and no one can take the truth away from you. 

it makes you think of the past and your journey. of all the years spent wandering about hurt, trying to find love. of all the loneliness. that dark cold loneliness you couldn’t run from no matter how much you tried. always right behind you. lurking in the silent corners of your mind.

you remember the family you once had. a lifetime ago (or so it seems), when you were safe and cherished and things were simple. you feel the inner panic of gradually losing that stable ground. the chaos that ensued as you tried to survive and the constant anxiety of having to – that only made you more needy and codependent.

it makes you think of all the people that crossed your path. those who were good for you. those that were bad. the handful you needed and hurt in the effort of finding your lost self. the stupid choices you made because you were so adamant on not giving a fuck that you chose not to even when you should have. even when you knew as sure as the sun is bright that you were walking into disaster.

you mentally hug your past self. you know how much she needs that compassion and strength with all the pain there was and all the pain to come. you feel melancholic, but more intensely at peace. because you know everything that’s happened has gotten you here. and even though you didn’t get here unscratched, you are so happy here. so very incredibly happy.

only you and you alone know how much effort it’s taken to free yourself from past trauma. to look yourself in the soul and come to terms with the choices you made and the things that happened for you.

and you know now – everything that happens, happens for you and not to you. never to you. and this just so happened to be the journey you needed to take towards self discovery, self worth and self love. because only through learning to love yourself could you then begin to love others the way you’ve always wanted to, with compassion and acceptance. to then create a family based on that truth, for the best odds at maintaining a loving space for your children to always count on.

to save them from what you went through.

you have always known the trigger point of everything falling apart. you set out to do different. it has always been that steady beacon of light. even when you lost your mind, you very much still had your sight. and you never gave in. you never let anything blacken your heart so much you couldn’t live with yourself. you just kept getting back up and moving forward, you warrior. you got here. you did it.

it took as much strength to power through the earlier pain as it did to be vulnerable and truthful in the healing process later on. you have by now forgiven yourself. and with this chapter coming to an end, you feel the remainder of sadness and pain of a time before start to fade as well.

so steady, as if it has been waiting to be set free. you hold on to it for just a little bit longer. a reminder of what made you YOU. a reminder that contained in that darkness was your greatest potential for light.

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shift

the first quarter of 2017 was truly transformative, culminating in the momentous yet somewhat insignificant chopping of my 4 year old dreads. a decision made over a quick 5 minute before-bed conversation with my other half and carried out by yours truly with the aid of my trusty favourite pair of scissors the morning after. akin to the process of metamorphosis except that it felt way past due, in all honesty – hence the feeling of insignificance i suppose. i was already a butterfly, still walking around in the shell of my old caterpillar self.

i felt the need to break free creeping up on me for months – almost trying to avoid the reality that the luscious rebellious unkempt dreads i once attached to self as part of my identity no longer felt like me. i can’t say what finally came over me that fine night when the energies of change swept me off my feet and propelled me forward into this new reality. it happened so swiftly.

MAY.

we will always remember may of 2017. just days after what will be from this day forth be referred to as “the haircut”, we embarked on the emotional journey of saying goodbye to a parent as my husband’s father was unexpectedly hospitalized and given the end life prognosis. earth-shattering. but as we crossed paths with others over the following week, it became increasingly clear that the intense energy of may was felt across the board. this had indeed been a time of change and what else could we do but take everything in with a deep breath and exhale into the new.

which really got me thinking – being that i love me some good introspection – about the soil i had prepared to plant my seeds of change and the harvest that now awaits me in my garden of personal growth.

i cannot deny that the absence of weight i now feel on my head mirrors what i have been feeling on the inside. the first quarter of 2017 brought about a wave of self worth through self love and acceptance. and through that, a lightness that never existed within my perfectionist human mind.

if feels as though the journey of motherhood gave me all the motivation i needed to constantly be a better self, bringing forth and forcing me to address my accumulated human trauma and dig past through to my childlike essence self – the very essence i witness everyday in my daughter – and at long last with the warm embrace of life, there has been a breakthrough.

i love that we chose to move to taiping where we live a quiet, wholesome family life with little to no distractions (or entertainment) to pull us away from what truly matters. healing. being content. being present. we aren’t there yet, and i cannot say for certain if there is even a there to begin with. but with each passing day, we get closer to understanding what it means to be free.

and sometimes when i get a moment of peace to myself amidst the wonder and bewilderment that is parenting, it almost feels as if i am free floating and free flowing in a vast open space. dancing to the passing energies. just being.

formuLIE

it’s been almost a year of breastfeeding for us, and in this time i have come to realise how incredibly simple breastfeeding can be and how out of touch with our own nature we have become. 

sure, women and most other mammals have been breastfeeding since the beginning of our existence. it should be instinct. but breastfeeding as a human at a time where everyone wants convenience poses and entirely different challenge.

a generation ago, our mothers were made to believe that formula was better than breast milk. a generation sold on the convenience and comfort that modern day life had to offer. bombarded by advertisements paid for by the very corporations who had everything to gain with no other reliable or available source of information, how could we blame them?

fortunately things have changed since then and for those of us who want to be educated now, there is an entire world wide web of information for us to tap into at our fingertips. but in large part, the damage has been done.

i’ve been told a whole ton of different stories where it comes to unsuccessful breastfeeding. low supply, fussing baby, painful latching, rejection of direct latching and the list goes on. but all i hear is the same issue of inadequate education on the true journey that is breastfeeding and a preference for convenience with formula as an opt out. the easy albeit expensive alternative.

i understand. when ella was admitted for jaundice and had to undergo phototheraphy, after latching for half an hour and falling asleep, i put her back down for light where she woke up and started crying. wanting to calm her down (or shut her up), the nurse asked if i minded her giving ella some formula. worried about my child and not wanting her to be crying in the nicu, i said okay.

at this point, my milk had not kicked in yet. it sometimes takes a few days. especially for first time mothers. but no one had informed me. all babies do at that stage is latch latch latch. nonstop – to bring in the milk. but no one was informing me.

no information from the nurses and doctors. the people we look to for advice when we find ourselves in those situations. only formula. and then we turn to the people around us for help. if we’re lucky, someone has the necessary information on what to do. if not, we find ourselves surrounded by people telling us to supplement. confinement ladies, mothers or friends that believe formula is alright. 

for any mother who has just gone through the process of childbirth after a long pregnancy, who is emotionally and physically drained and in need of care, who is willing and needing to trust her caregivers – such misinformation at this critical time is dangerous. it causes a lot of mistakes with feeding and supplementing with formula because why not, right? formula is accessible, reliable, measurable, less stressful and healthy.

except that it is not. healthy, that is.

formula is inferior to breast milk. contains all sorts of additives, preservatives and sugars. destroys the natural gut flora and should only be used as an absolute last resort when needed – as opposed to starvation. after direct latching, expressed breast milk and donor breast milk. 

formula is sold as a necessity. but it is not. formula is promoted as a healthy option. but it is not.

breast is best. always.

but you can’t go up to a mother or friend and start giving them directions on what to do. you can’t tell them what’s better or healthier or natural. you just have to stand back and watch silently, because no one wants to be told. because no one is asking. we know plenty of situations where women receive a ton of unsolicited advice from a know-it-all relative. no one wants to be that jackass.

so we keep our mouths shut. i keep my mouth shut. and let everyone journey their own journey. 

but what if someone would rather know if there’s something more they could do. if they’re making the healthy choice. if what they’re going through is normal. 

what if i just put it out here, in case someone stumbles upon this and could use the help.  

breastfeeding is not just an act of feeding one’s youngling. breastfeeding is communication between mother and child. after delivery (especially for first time mothers), milk may take a couple of days to kick in. this is normal. don’t supplement. a baby is expected to lose a percentage of their weight in the first week before they begin to gain weight and can go without milk for those few days without issue. as milk kicks in, baby is given a good dose of colostrum – which provides all the essential antibodies for a newborn.

how much milk a mother produces is a matter of demand. more demand = more supply. in the early days, baby may want to latch all throughout the day. you may wonder why baby is constantly hungry or cranky. if you are making enough milk. the solution is to offer boob when baby stirs. even if it seems like all your time is spent with a baby on your breast. this is normal. don’t supplement. the frequency of feeding will reduce as as baby’s tummy grows.

then just as you think you’ve gotten into a routine and know what baby needs, baby will go through a growth spurt which causes baby to need much more milk and seem unsettled. for a day or two, it may feel like you have a newborn again. this too, is normal. don’t supplement. just offer baby the breast as much as needed once again. repeat until no longer breastfeeding. 

babies should be breastfed for at least 6 months where they do not need water or anything else other than breastmilk, but continue to benefit from breastmilk and the bonding associated to breastfeeding for years. in times of sickness, a mother’s body makes antibodies to be delivered to the child through breastmilk. after 1 year shall you decide to stop breastfeeding, your child no longer needs milk – not formula, not cow’s milk – and can adequately receive all needed nutrients from a good diet. 

you don’t ever have to buy into the formulie. save yourself the money. nature has already given us all we need for the best chance of survival. 

when in doubt – always trust nature. 

ishvara pranidhana

i’ve gotten back into the swing of yoga. after 3 years of waiting. wanting. trying. i gave myself a break and looked for a class. the truth is, i just wasn’t able to get into the flow of it on my own. 

the first time around, the both of us had no commitments in life. we were renting a room, making ends meet with part time work and hadn’t quite figured out what we wanted to do with life yet. we were wanderers. free. it was easy. we made time for yoga every morning. sometimes a few hours. 

and then life took over. and the past 3 years have been different from what life was back then. so, i guess counting on myself to be able to practice yoga the same way just caused more strain. 

after renting the room, we moved to an empty house with a much bigger rent and no furniture. yoong went to work full time as we tried to build a home. i struggled to practice yoga. 

then opportunity came calling and we moved to another empty house in taiping. we had no jobs as we tried to set up a land and our house at the same time. i struggled to practice yoga. 

after a few months we got pregnant (by choice). we pushed to start our own little business while maintaining our old side business while setting the home up for baby. i struggled to practice yoga. 

3 years passed. i had planned to be the perfect mum in waiting. eating all the good stuff while pregnant. practicing yoga. stretching. meditating. breathing. but the truth is our schedule was so packed that i continued to struggle to practice yoga. 

then baby came. and i still had all these crazy ideas on being a perfect baby-wearing yoga mum. but before i could get there, my body gave way. 

the years of hard hard hard work had taken it’s toll. all the long hours + heavy lifting + bending over + incorrect posture + caring for a baby = one painfully herniated disc. 

the truth is my back has been in pain for years. a pain i pretended to not see and somehow thought i could ignore away. 

i tried qi gong & tai chi massages. acupuncture and physiotherapy. and somewhere along that process i realized it’s completely fine for me to seek and accept help. if i could with these things, why not for yoga. 

and so i did. and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. i can schedule the classes into our daily life and make time. for yoga, with support. 

the truth is that my back and legs are still in a lot of pain. some days are good. some days i struggle to walk.

the truth is that my physiotherapist tells me to drop yoga but i’m not listening.

because the truth is that i love that i have yoga again. i just restarted. i don’t think i can deal with a reality in which I don’t have yoga anymore. 

this time, i blindly believe that if i practice right and push in the right ways, yoga will heal and not hurt. 

sometimes i look back at the past and ask myself what i was thinking, doing what i did. but the problem is that in the present, all of life is really a gamble. a future unknown. 

i can’t say where this will lead me. but i believe in always following my gut instinct above all else. and right now it’s chanting softly but strongly… 

yoga 

yoga

YOGA

and if yoga doesn’t lead me out of pain. or worse, leads me to more pain, then i shall accept that pain as part of the rest of my journey back to self. 

because all of life is just that – a journey – to which i surrender myself wholely.  

in this now, this ever fleeting present, i am just thankful to be one with yoga again.

namaste. 

break through

sometimes it makes me angry.
sometimes it makes me sad.
sometimes i am scared.

sometimes i get so frustrated that no matter what i say, i can’t seem to get through.

i’m a fixer. and whenever i pick up on something within myself – emotionally or physically – that needs fixing, i try to fix it. i try very hard. i try so hard i end up breaking my back trying to heal it. and then i try some more. i never give up.

EVER.

but i can’t fix everything. i struggle to just fix myself. so when other people need fixing, i try to do my part to enable them to fix themselves and hope they get to it. sometimes they don’t.

sometimes my other half doesn’t.

i don’t understand why.

could it be that he doesn’t care? or that he’s not worried? or that it actually scares him too much to allow himself to think of the what ifs. because the what ifs are pretty darn scary to me. maybe he just doesn’t give it much thought. maybe it matters less to him than it does to me.

this does after all, affect the outcome of my life more than it does his. however selfish that sounds.

he is my partner. my better half. my soulmate. there’s no version of the future in my mind in which we aren’t holding hands, growing old together. whether or not he is here – to me – is everything.

of course it scares me.
of course that makes me sad.
of course i get angry.

why would he not do all he can for the best possible chance at that future?

what am i not getting? and why am i not getting through?
i want to fix things so badly my mind was yelling so loud i’ve gone deaf.

it’s silent now.
it’s better when it’s silent.

i wish it would stay silent forever.