Category Archives: FOOD FOR THOUGHT

on this thing we call covid 19

consider that everything in life, what makes up life is energy. and all of living is an exchange of energy. yin and yang – yang being exertion and yin being replenishing.

everyday we give and receive energy in the things we do. the food we eat. the air we breathe. the love we receive. to achieve a state of equilibrium, we must find the balance between yin and yang. certain activities exert energy and some replenish. one method is to go back and forth = the harder we work, the harder we play to try and keep our energy balanced. the other method is to bring it together and to exert whilst replenishing. when we do things (exert) to serve others or something larger than ourselves, we receive in return (replenish) and need not seek to restore balance. thus achieving a state of “being”. the more we are selfish and function for ourselves, the more energy we consume without replenishing in the world. resources. life. energy.

we may continue to consume, but at some point we would render the energetic being that is earth lifeless. a cycle that does not replenish can not sustain itself.

everyday we consume energy to power ourselves. it is merely a matter of how much energy we consume. pseudo energy that we believe to feed us – shopping – processed and dead food –  chemical drugs –  pharmaceutical medication – mindless entertainment – trigger chemical processes within ourselves to create an illusion of temporary happiness or joy but then leaves us depleted and craving the energy we truly need to thrive.  real energy comes from the sun, everything that feeds off and grows under the sun. real energy comes from the vibrations we receive from each other and life. the less we know how to take in energy effectively, the more we consume in efforts to replenish and sustain.

looking at what is going on in the world now, it is apparent to me that this is a story of energy. and how we exchange and transmute energy is what will decide the end game. looked at in this way, saving lives and preventing an outbreak that is part of nature are small matters. merely a page in the book. as were the outbreaks of the past. the wars. the famines.

the larger picture is who we become as a species with every life altering, consciousness altering event. how we choose to dance with energy. whether we use this to fuel love or fear.

do we choose to breathe deeper, inhaling all the energy from our surroundings with each breath? do we expand that energy through love and return it to life? do we shrink in fear and anxiety, breath held? do we waste what energy we do have on anger and retaliation in the name of justice?

perhaps we use this moment of pause to observe.

we have the choice to choose where our story goes. if we choose to love, to become that perfect balance of yin and yang and choose to transmute tragedy into a gift – then we give energy to each other and return some to the planet. if we come out of this each man for himself, then we scramble and hoard any energy we can get our hands on for security and deplete this planet of what little is left.

this is a call for unity. not just one where everyone stays home to keep each other safe and continue to keep distance out of fear. waiting for science to pump us with what they call a solution so we may trick ourselves into believing there is nothing to fear for long enough that we can return to the illusion of living.

this is an opportunity. a call to face ourselves and transmute all the fear that has been embedded at the core of our collective consciousness with every loss we have suffered. every death we have seen.

we get to take that fear now, face it and transmute it into love. love for one another. love for your neighbour, your friend, your boss, your employees, the unemployed, the homeless, the needy. love for the planet. if out of this mutual suffering, this one shared global experience we can all realise that we are indeed one – not separate from each other and anything the sun has touched, we can stop trying to consume to fill the void of separation from true oneness. from source. and see that energy is everywhere – in each other, in love, in the air we breathe and the ground beneath our feet. we do not need much more. we never did.

we have been lied to for the benefit of the few. we have been divided into different species, races, religions, culture, countries, labels, types. filled with fear that we are alone, that we are fragile. separated from each other and then ourselves so that in this void, we can be sold “wholeness”. in any and every way imaginable. so that we could be put to work, coerced by our own fear into believing that slavery is a fair trade for the currency to buy our safety and happiness.

the time has come for us to step out of the fear and into the light of the truth. to remember what has always been inside our hearts and minds (or guts). that all we need, we already have. ourselves, each other, passion, kindness, compassion, life…and this beautiful fucking planet we call earth. there is nothing to fear. even death of our physical vessel is merely a transition into more being. there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

abandon the fear, it does not nourish us. all things that come out of fear only cause us to require more energy to restore equilibrium. to consume. to destroy. we do not have to travel down this trajectory in order to nourish ourselves. if we transmute this fear and fill ourselves with love, we replenish our collective being and this energetic planet.

love on one another. remember our oneness and take care of each other as we would ourselves. take care of mother nature as we would ourselves. make time for it. make time to care. cut out all these unnecessary excesses and return to community and nature.

it is up to us to choose to see this collective experience as the greatest gift we have been given. to transmute fear into love and remember what truly gives us the energy we need to be alive.

slavery

this is how slavery works.

we take joyful, impressionable children and put them into school. we take away their free time to be creative, imaginative, exploratory and tell them to behave and obey. we reward them for behaving and obeying and doing as told. they may question this, but we tell them that is how things work. that the rewards come after they are done studying. then we systematically remove any sense of being with competition by telling them they need to be the best. we make them obsess over being the best and then limit their interests to what they can compete for. exams. with the ultimate goal of scoring all those As. what a prize! and by the time they are done with school, if school has succeeded, they enter into the next phase with absolutely no clue as to what truly speaks to their soul as they have had no time to explore.

we then tell them that the key to having a good life is further education. so we further educate them, in the ways we believe lead to having a good income. because good income = good life. simple. now they are educated and working the job they have been craftily built for. now they slave away day to day for their paycheck. that prize! for their paycheck that should bring them happiness. because that was what was promised, wasn’t it? that’s what they all want. so they buy buy buy. buy food, buy clothes, buy gadgets, buy cars, buy holidays. trying to buy that happiness. they are not happy, not really. but they have no time to think of that lack of happiness, because of that job that they must have to pay for the things that they need to be happy. but they are not happy, not really.

meanwhile somewhere out of sight, factories buzz with people working (the people who never got that further education of course), to churn out these stuff that they buy. factories leaking toxic chemicals into their environment. into their water streams. into their soil.

meanwhile somewhere out of sight, forests are being cleared. hundreds of acres. thousands of acres. hundreds of thousands of acres to grow palm trees to feed their consumption of palm oil. palm oil that is in their bread, their chocolate, their biscuits, their instant noodles, their ice cream, their shampoo and soaps, their lipsticks, their detergent.

hundreds of thousands of acres to rare livestock and poultry that they need. their cows and pigs and goats and chickens and ducks and turkeys and geese.

hundreds of thousands of acres to grow corn to feed the cattle they rare. corn to turn into high fructose corn syrup that is in everything, that ever so slowly kills their health. corn to turn into ethanol for biofuel.

meanwhile somewhere out of sight, workers drill deep into the earth to extract petroleum. fuel to fuel their needs. fuel that pollutes. fuel that powers their industries and transportation that emit greenhouse gasses that warm the earth. fuels that they use to make more stuff that they need. fuel to make plastic.

meanwhile somewhere out of sight, plastic fills their landfills and oceans. plastic killing their wildlife. their birds, their seals, their turtles, their fish, their whales. plastic that goes from their garbage to their plates.

but they are too busy to care. too busy working to fund the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. to pay for the phone they must own and fancy food they must eat and the car they must drive and the house they must live in. to pay for all the things they own, but not really. to pay off debt.

they want to care, but possess no knowledge or skills to be able to care for. they want to care, but have no time to care for. they want to care, but how can they?

their water is being poisoned. their air polluted. their food mutated. their environment destroyed. their minds distracted. their souls empty.

they are stuck. paralyzed.

this is how slavery works.

we take children with all the magic and potential their lives contain and squash it. we torture them with pointless competition and endless repetition. we tell them it is the purpose and goal. we tell them it is success, while the world literally crumbles around them. they care, but we tell them it’s not their job to.

it is not their job to care for the environment. not their job to stop the pollution. not their job to grow the food they eat. not their job to think of what goes into their food. not their job to fix their things that break. not their job to think of where their trash goes. not their job to keep the planet clean. not their job to save the trees and animals.

we tell them that someone else will do it. somewhere out of sight.

their job, is to make money. because money will solve all their problems. money will buy their happiness.

and then they end up too busy working to fill the void that is caused by being too busy working. and then they die. but what does it matter? when were they ever alive anyways? when they were studying for their As? when they were getting a higher education? when they were working so hard to get that job they were meant to have and then working so hard to keep it?

when were we?

on my own

i have never been comfortable asking for help. i don’t think many of us are. somewhere along our journey as human beings we decided that our narrative should be built on the expectation of everyone having their shit together. that the inability to be self dependent means failure. failure of your own. failure of the family that has raised you. failure of the path you have chosen. just, overall failure. so there’s an incredible pressure to present a picture of having one’s shit together.

how much time is wasted trying to paint that picture.

this has followed me into relationships with loved ones. the discomfort and unfamiliarity in asking for help or conveying my needs results in an expectation of the other party knowing who to be, what to do or how to help and a frustration or dissatisfaction upon not having my needs met.

but i have come to understand that having my needs met is my responsibility and mine alone. whether i meet them myself or i communicate those needs to others so they may extend their love to me in those ways. because love is not owed. it is not a prerequisite to having a relationship. we all know very well relationships can exist with no love at all. and because i am not entitled to anyone else’s love or kindness, i have to be alright with asking for what i need or accepting what i do or do not receive with grace.

it is easier said than done. existing in a society where you can be seen as inconvenient for expressing opinions and needs makes it hard to do just that. it is easier to remove one’s needs than try to communicate it in hopes of finding a workable solution. easier. but all that accomplishes is silencing people to a point of isolation and non-existence.

i believe we all yearn communion. it takes a village to get anything done – building houses, farming a land, raising children, managing a household, running a business – yet we constantly find ourselves without one.

isolation replaces the village. isolation becomes the narrative. you are on your own.

we are quicker to doubt people than we are to trust them. in fact, to trust and rely on others is naive and stupid. we are better off walking around with filters and walls, to protect self from all the things that could go wrong in life. so much to fear.

it took a lot of reflecting to see how i’d built my relationships around that narrative. hardships faced alone because of keeping people out of my struggles. feeling frustrated in relationships when my partner failed to understand my needs. anger when the action of others caused me pain. so much unnecessary loneliness and finger pointing.

but how is anyone to know what i need if i don’t communicate it? and why is the norm to brace one’s self for impact before trying to address an issue. as though humans are so tiny and limited that we are unable to handle situations any better. 

love and life are expansive. our capacity to grow knows no bounds. we limit ourselves because we are afraid. afraid of failure. afraid to try. afraid to ask. afraid to need. afraid of judgement.

so, what if i remove that fear? what if i just ask. what if i just communicate my needs. so simple. so what if someone thinks i am inconvenient for asking. so what if my request actually does trouble people a little. so what if i seem irresponsible or incapable for being unable to manage everything myself. one’s opinion of me need not matter if my opinion of me is fine. i can be fine with being a failure within the old narrative. i can create my own narrative.

because what i do know to be true is that i am always here, waiting to be needed. always here willing to participate. willing to help. willing to show up. willing to be that village. and if i am, i have to believe that others are too. all it takes is asking. to shed the belief that my worthiness as a human being is somehow tied to having my shit together…and just ask.

i replace the narrative in my mind and in the hearts of my relationships. it’s only just the beginning, but already it feels so good. so good to let others into my life. so good to involve them in the things that matter to me. so good to not need to paint any picture. so good to be free to ask rather than expecting, being disappointed, feeling frustrated, getting angry, sitting in pain, fear, distrust and shutting down or just cutting right through everything and entering a situation already shut down.

this journey back to self is so incredibly beautiful. inner battles fought to remove the walls that keep me from feeling supported and embraced. and with every victory i am rewarded with a reminder of what it means to live with and through love.

enigma

life is an enigma. i have always functioned under the assumption that there is some place that you get to in life where everything feels alright. as i have journeyed, it has only become clearer that alright doesn’t really exist. not as a stationary destination you can remain at forever. alright exists in between the currents of life. that moment of stillness after a wave has hit the shore and climbed to its highest, before it retreats back into the ocean. alright is being in the present and experiencing the present for what it is, with no questions or expectations of what things should be could be would be. alright is not an outcome. it is acceptance. and it is ever present as it is fleeting – just as our ability to remain in the now is.

the cyclical nature of life is such that it is constantly throwing you for a loop. questions = answers = certainty = action = experience = uncertainty =  loop. and no matter how much i work out, there is always more to understand. sometimes it is the only reason for hope. other times it is positively maddening. to believe one has it figured out is the work of ego. i have lots of ego. almost as much as i have love. i used to have more. ego, that is. and it fills me with the same familiar emotion – every few years when i make time to read through some old posts – a somewhat mundane realization of how little i understood in regards to what i spoke of prior to the experiences to come.

i think the biggest difference i feel in this stage of life is a sense of unknowing. contrary to the certainty i was prone to feeling in the past. perhaps i was chasing something and felt as though i was getting there. for the first time in my life, i don’t believe there is anything to chase anymore. i have all i could ask for. probably more. yet…there is still this feeling that something is not “alright”. but i no longer know what. nor do i have a plan.

could it be that i have reached my “goal” only to be faced with the reality that in the pursuit of that goal, i glazed over the details that truly mattered? it is wholly true to my character to be so focused on getting what i want that i do not stop to care about how i am getting it. to be impatient and therefor reckless.

or perhaps i have reached my goal and find the lack of something to aim for entirely uncomfortable. because to aim for is all i’ve ever known. all i’ve been taught.

i am allowing myself to sit in this uncertainty a little longer this time. i am widening the gap between questions and answers. and honestly, it feels quite numb. and a tad bit paralyzing. i have moved through most of my life by ego-lead-certainty. how could it be any other way when that is how i was raised? now that i am less certain and less enthusiastic about asserting my opinions, i just feel blank.

i wonder if blankness can be alright. if the absence of certainty and all the thoughts and feelings that form from it is a form of peace? there are moments where i am neither happy nor sad. that moment of stillness. but then the ocean begins to pull back and the lack of happiness, of all things, causes me to feel sad. so i am sad over nothing.

what if i can hold on to that stillness a little longer?

to be present is to quiet yourself. to let your senses take in everything as is. to observe, with no judgement. the sky is blue. the sun is incredibly bright. the fan is making a noise. the wind blows. the trees blow in the wind. the air is hot. my children laugh. or cry. i am reading the words off a book. this book has pictures. my child asks me a question. i think of an answer to the question. i continue reading the book. continue trying to be present.

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.