Category Archives: A SPIRITUAL PATH

a moment

flight or flight. it’s something i’ve been aware of conceptually for quite some time now. but recently i watched a documentary on stress and how the fight or flight response is only part of what is called the general adaptation syndrome, which exists in 3 stages. the alarm reaction stage where your fight or flight response is triggered. the resistance stage. and the exhaustion stage.

the first stage is pretty straightforward. it is one’s response to stress that triggers a series of physiological events. increased heart rate, release of cortisol and adrenaline etc. the second stage is what got me. after the initial shock of an event, the body begins to repair itself by entering a recovery phase. but some stressful situations continue for extended periods of time. if you don’t resolve the stress and your body remains on high alert, it eventually adapts and learns how to live with a higher stress level. in this stage, the body goes through changes that you’re unaware of in an attempt to cope with stress.

your body continues to secrete the stress hormone and your blood pressure remains elevated. you may think you’re managing stress well, but your body’s physical response tells a different story. if the resistance stage continues for too long of a period without pauses to offset the effects of stress, this can lead to the exhaustion stage (we’re all familiar with exhaustion)

it got me because what if i have spent more time in the resistance stage than i care to imagine. because taking a moment to allow it all to sink in, it is clear as day that the fight or flight mode has been activated for the majority of my life. amplified intensely by the departure of my mother and loss of home at 17.

it’s pretty easy to work out how my mum leaving and losing my safe space sent me spiraling into the abyss. the past 13 years are sufficiently fresh in the memory of my obsessive mind for me to analyse where being in a constant state of threat and exhaustion from stress would have caused me to behave in erratic, extreme and irrational ways (labelled as crazy by the outside world). i now know that i was trying to replace the safety i felt with my mum by searching for a relationship (not good), a person who would love me and accept me and give me a home. desperation, which caused a whole series of unintelligent decisions that have caused some serious ptsd.

going further back, i know my schooling years were filled with constant trauma, fear and triggers. i was always smart enough, but as i could never quite figure out how to get my homework done or be interested in the things that did not interest me, showing up for school day in and day out was my personal hell. knowing that at some point (or multiple points) throughout the day, i’d be asked to hand in my book. something i could not do, because of obvious reasons stated above. i believe i spent a few years in a state of constant fear and fatigue until i could no longer take it and decided to protect myself by attempting to not care (which was then labelled as rebellion and misbehavior).

but setting that aside, my struggle existed beyond homework and studying. i struggled socially as well. every morning/afternoon before school was filled with anxiety. as was every recess. not knowing if the few people i felt were my friends would be around for me to sit with. or if they were going to be there by themselves rather than in a group i did not feel a part of. having to sit alone. not that spending time with myself was ever a problem. i love my alone time. but sitting alone when i was surrounded by peers, the feeling of rejection or not being fun or cool or anything of value for anyone to want to come sit with me. the bell ringing was something i looked forward to, signaling an end to all the uncertainty of what i was supposed to do and knowing i could count on the consistency and comfort of having a fixed place in class…….but of course that was only temporary because of the homework issue above.

mhmm. just a roundabout of torture.

i believe being mixed race at a time where there were about 3 of us in total, meant that i never felt like i fit in anywhere. not with the chinese. not with the indians. and being mixed in a way where my mum was not really chinese and my dad was certainly not indian meant that for the most part, i had no identity. because i truly did not identify with anything. i do know that being mixed race is a very real struggle for most mixed people and we deal with identity issues throughout our lives. but that alone is not it. because i saw my mixed race peers thrive. as being mixed was not something that was looked down on. in fact, it was always a rather cool thing. and in all honesty, i don’t think i was ever invisible. i think i could have been just a regular accepted kid if i didn’t keep getting the better of myself.  if my anxiety and fears and discomfort didn’t keep getting in the way, causing me to act in all kinds of stupid ways, which only made things worse.

so then, i have to go back even further. which is where i struggle to know what i’m piecing together. because i don’t remember much prior to being 10. memories exist in small clips. there are happy ones, but there are also equally traumatic ones. relating to school and piano. i suppose that’s all normal. except that i was not a normal child. i highly excelled in the departments that i did (music, piano, certain subjects) and was top of the class and performed musical recitals. but i also spent half a year in primary 1 standing by the side of the door crying, refusing to enter. i was terrified. i remember on multiple occasions begging my mum to let me not go to school.

……was it the immense pressure to be great and knowing i could not that stressed me out? i don’t have recollection of my parents pushing me, but the feeling of needing to be special is embedded within me. as is the feeling of needing to be liked. it makes sense as far as thinking of my dad goes. because even though my memories are mostly of my mum, my dad is such a strong personality with VERY strong opinions and i feel as though the pressure to be special and liked came from him.

sometimes my mind is unable to shut off. because i believe the fight or flight has been triggered. even when i don’t want it to be. like, in the middle of the night. awake, unable to sleep despite trying to breathe it out. it happens less and less (partially thanks to the physical exhaustion of parenthood) but it happens nonetheless. the reason for trying to work all these things out is that i’d really like to know what is triggering this response. because i feel it trickle into my daily life. and i don’t know if the things i try to “fix” are a necessary job that needs to get done or an unnecessary obsession of looking for what’s broken that doesn’t need to be. where is the line?

i feel sufficiently happy with life, as in i have a home. i have a home that i love. my life has a direction and purpose. i am financially stable enough, more than i could have possibly imagined (considering i’m as good at work as i was with homework). i can pursue just about any creative outlet i seek. i am a mum. i love being a mum. i adore my daughter and can’t wait for the baby that’s on the way. i love being married and having stability in my relationship. i know all these things, and i do not pick them apart.

it is the finer details that gets to me. i believe i am still affected by the desire to be accepted and liked. something that is still touch and go because people’s emotions fluctuate. in some relationships i feel secure. in others i am uncertain. and in a few (the ones that remain present because i do not feel i have a say in), i do not. in my marriage, i feel uncertain. because while i know my husband loves me and is dedicated to our marriage 100%, he has his own struggles that make it a struggle for me to feel his love or presence fairly often. i believe this triggers my fight or flight.

and in those occasions, where perhaps i need to calm myself down to recover, i don’t feel i have set myself up well enough to do that. crafting is my go-to space. i have gotten good at breathing frustration away so i no longer escalate into a space of insanity. i could do with some yoga, which i struggle with in terms of discipline. but i feel as though a big one is the lack of social support of having friends and family to count on or go to. which refers to an absence of my mum, whom i still feel safest with. and an absence of friends (partially due to being in an faraway place, partially due to my inability to connect, partially due to not being like minded). emotional support that indirectly helps to sustain at times of chronic stress and crisis. like parenting. or having relationship struggles.

where/whom do i turn to? can i reduce the fight or flight being triggered? how do i get over this feeling of not having the connection i need? do i continue to seek it from a partner? in which case my husband does not fill that part of my cup. if i accept that my relationship is fine for what it is, where do i fill that part of my cup? should the changes be made internally or externally? removal or filling? a bit of both? i AM doing both. why does it keep going back to that space of alertness, trying to figure out what’s wrong. why does it wake me from my sleep and not let me go back? i feel as though i AM putting in the work to work through it instead of just numb it with distractions (although that does happen). should i just let it be? stop thinking? will that change the feelings? will it ever go away? or am i already built this way for good. that i have to keep facing the triggers. that all i can do is go through this loop again, until i have let all my thoughts run free, so i can be free. if even for just a moment.

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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.

let go

it never ceases to amaze me, how much we can be blind to our own actions and thought patterns. very often to the detriment of ourselves and the people around us. i spend a lot of time trying to understand things. mainly myself.

you see, i have an issue with things feeling out of control. with not being able to find or believe in a solution to what i perceive to be a problem. and when i worry about what my mind believes to be an inevitable negative outcome, i panic. i get frustrated. i get angry at the things or people who i believe to be causing these situations i can not avoid. because i believe that i am capable and willing to make the necessary changes where the other party is not. and then i push. i demand for change because i believe that only change will alter the outcome that i am so afraid of. and more often than not, that is not what the situation needs – because things spin out of control even more and everything repeats – just more intensely. that is my loop.

kindness is what any situation needs.

i have learnt that the only way to overcome myself, is to take a step back and breathe. to let go. to detach from the situation and the justification i feel towards being right or wronged. to observe myself and those around me. to understand their side. their imperfections, and mine. to accept that by letting go, the inevitable outcome i fear will indeed take place. to not fear it anymore. to know that i will get through even the roughest of patches. to know that i will be stronger for it. to remember that every experience brings with it a space for me to learn and grow. to accept that this is my journey.

to stop there and not expect the same understanding or treatment in return.

to not expect anything.

breathe.

love. surrender. give.

let go.

flow with the currents of life.

be free.

happy anniversary my love.

4 years ago we took that great big leap and decided to move in together after one month of seeing each other while the whole world was angry and tried to keep us apart. good times.

not everyone could see what we already knew. you and i are one. our soul paths were meant to intertwine for us to help each other become our whole selves through the process of creating the life we both yearned for so much.

our path is still long and very much unknown, but i trust we will continue flowing with the universe towards everything we know is possible. i trust the journey will bring us home.

look how far we’ve come since that miserable room in kota.

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i am so proud of us. thank you for being willing to take on every challenge this life incurs, however challenging it may be sometimes.

i love you. i will be right by your side always.

alan watts

now there really isn’t anything radically wrong with being sick or with dying. who said you’re supposed to survive? who gave you the idea that it’s a gas to go on and on and on?

and we can’t say that it’s a good thing for everything to go on living. in very simple demonstration that if we enable everybody to go on living, we overcrowd ourselves and we’re like an unpruned tree.

and, so therefore, one person who dies in a way is honorable because he’s making room for others… although each one of us, individually, will naturally appreciate it when anybody saves our life, if we apply that case all around we can see that it’s not workable.

we can also look further into and see that if our death could be indefinitely postponed, we would not actually go on postponing it indefinitely because after a certain point we would realize that isn’t the way in which we wanted to survive.

why else would we have children? because children arrange for us to survive in another way by, as it were, passing on a torch so that you don’t have to carry it all the time. there comes a point where you can give it up and say now you work.

it’s a far more amusing arrangement for nature to continue the process of life through different individuals then it is always with the same individual, because as each new individual approaches life is renewed. and one remembers how fascinating the most ordinary everyday things are to a child, because they see them all as marvelous – because they see them all in a way that is not related to survival and profit.

when we get to thinking of everything in terms of survival and profit value, as we do, then the shapes of scratches on the floor cease to have magic. and most things, in fact, cease to have magic.

so therefore, in the course of nature, once we have ceased to see magic in the world anymore, were no longer fulfilling nature’s game being aware of it.

there’s no point in it any longer. and so we die. and, so something else comes to birth, which gets an entirely new view. and so nature’s self-awareness is a game worth the candle.

it is not, therefore, natural for us to wish to prolong life indefinitely. but we live in a culture where it has been rubbed into us in every conceivable way that to die is a terrible thing. and that is a tremendous disease from which our culture, in particular, suffers.

and we notice it personally in the way in which death is swept under the carpet. and, so a person is left to die alone, suddenly, unprepared, and doped up to the point where death hardly happens.

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