2021: Faithfulness

How does one begin to reflect upon the year? What do I look out for? What do I measure? A year of harvest speaks of outcomes; growth, of process. I’ve received a bursting sack of love and watched my powers develop. Do I visit my calendar to see where my time went or do I visit my photo gallery to see where my attention went? Even the lens through which I review my year informs me more about me than my year.

For my professional annual report, please click here. If not, please read on.

Faithfulness. The word I chose for this year, entering 2021 with the intention to remain faithful to my Self.

How would a journey of faithfulness be and how did it turn out? Frankly, I didn’t quite know what to expect. It was my first time picking a word of the year. I had set an intention, a silent vow to myself, but did not draw up any action plans to execute it. Because I wasn’t even sure what faithfulness to one’s self would entail. For me, the intention of faithfulness alone kept me returning to myself and my present experience whenever I noticed I had left. And now, 363 days in, I look back with gratitude for what had transpired.

I’ve grown closer to myself. I now sit by and with myself with more willingness and comfort, exploring and meeting various parts of me including some which are still challenging to love. I stood by my side through the tough times as best as I could and approached with curiosity and sincerity the impulse to abandon myself during unbearable moments. This year turned out to be a year of me and myself. Sounds self-absorbed, doesn’t it? I thought so too initially, reacting overly with caution and judgment.

I simply wonder about my own makings. How did I come to be, and who am I becoming, and in the present, who am I? I asked Daryl if I could work towards getting a Ph.D. in Rosslyn. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Could my life’s work be a dissection and exposition of my Self? How can I try to know and see the depths of another if I was unwilling or unable to go the distance myself? Through the exploration of my psyche and the examination of my pathology, maybe I can come to uncover and answer what it means to be human.

My gallery spells “f-e-a-s-t”. Ducks and geese. Alive and kicking. They might not be if the photographs were taken back in Singapore. Snapshots of clouds, fowl, birds, trees, leaves, meadows, lakes, reflections, shadows. My eyes indulge whenever we headed out into nature. We started with parks and lakes, and in recent months, ventured into the woods off the beaten trail. It helps that the ground is dry, and the air, cool.

Here’s the shot of my year.

This jump shot bears significance as it was the first active move I dared to make after losing confidence in my body’s balance and mobility. An encounter with vertigo two weeks prior jolted me awake to my mortality, beckoning me to confront life in a partially incapacitated body. I was afraid to stride or hop or spin. Like a baby learning to walk, I had to feel my feet on the ground before taking my next small step. A wanting sense of safety in my body led to a loss of confidence in my capacity to do, much less perform. Resistance, self-abandonment, grief, and finally acceptance allowed for self-compassion to emerge in support of patient and kind healing. When we are not rejecting or resisting our current experience, we allow for what’s needed to emerge. Faithfulness means getting out of my way in service of Me.

That was also my first conscious experience of bargaining with life. “Please, let me be well enough to have a walk in the park. Please let me well enough to move my pen across my paper.” It mattered not my handwriting was scraggly or my thoughts, sloppy. All I wanted was to be able to write. I’ve stopped asking myself why I write in the way I don’t ask myself why I eat or sleep. That’s what writing is to me. Nature was where I wanted to be; writing, what I wanted to do. I plead for the minimum motility to support me in fulfilling these pure desires of my heart. I plead to live. Ah…the hunger to live. And thank god was I satiated with full recovery and the exquisite taste of life.

Life’s always calling. Faithfulness is being true to what’s calling for me, be it gazing at how light splits the billows or hearing the cardinals’ calls, soaking in love’s embrace or being with the person who sits across me on the screen.

A year of staying loyal and steadfast to myself has brought me new connections in new spaces. (Can you believe it? I’m actually involved in a few communities? It feels magical.) Albeit all the connections are made online thus far, they feel real to my heart. Because they are real. Intimacy with fellow sojourners who shared their vulnerable selves, baring depths and souls have taught me to appreciate intimacy with myself too, enabling me to peel back the layers to contact my dark secrets. I still turned away on some occasions. Then I try again. I look forward to meeting my bare naked self, literally and figuratively, without shunning or hiding or picking faults. Self-absorption is being lost in myself. Self-discovery is being with myself in my experience. Self-knowledge is simply being my Self.

Perhaps this is guiding me to the word(s) I might choose for 2022:
Love, unconditional.

We don’t need to be someone before we can love ourselves. It’s love that makes a nobody somebody. Don’t all living things flourish in love?

May we all be in love.

 

On a professional note…

Here are my rewards this year:

  • Completed the ICF ACC Credentialing Process. Yes, I’m an ICF Associate Certified Coach
  • Bountiful learnings from The Enneagram and Integral Coaching course (taught by James Flaherty and Russ Hudson through New Ventures West) on the gifts we bring and the medicine we need.
  • More learnings on the Enneagram through Path to Freedom by Enneagram Prison Project supported my understanding of childhood development and trauma, and how our early conditioning shapes us.
  • A deeper understanding of human development and coaching through supporting the faculty team in New Ventures West through their professional coaching programs; witnessing the growth and healing of precious souls including mine.
  • Following through the participants training to be a coach as a Pod Guide and being on their certification panel
  • Learning about myself from the people I’ve met and worked within various capacities
  • More coaching clients!
  • Hosted a Poetry hour for a birthday event
  • The development of my confidence and personal power has also shone through my regular writing practice.
  • My poetry account on Instagram is still alive!
  • Redid my website a few times before coming down to what speaks of me.

Communities I’m involved in:

What’s next?

  • Venturing into the more therapeutic and mental health aspects for coaching
  • More on the Enneagram with The Human Potentialists
  • Compassionate Inquiry with Dr. Gabor Mate
  • Still continuing and engaging in my studies with the Ridhwan School in Diamond Approach, and deep diving into soul work.

Poem: Surrender

Releasing this poem online as a dedication to New Ventures West PCC-X Cohort (2021): Congratulations on your certification and graduation.


Surrender

a voice I hear
calling for me
to return, to come home 
to myself, but

where is my Self; how can I return to it?
what is this Self; how can I know when I’m there?

with each ebb, each out-breath
        I allow myself to fall
        and slide
        down the shore

with each flow, each in-breath
        I allow myself to be swept
        and carried
        up the shore

allayed by these rhythmic splashes
I fight no more
allowing
accepting and receiving

our pulses harmonized
I am the lullaby
the world ushers me
home.


Splendid Imperfections

The clouds—
ever-changing—shape-shifters
gaining bulk then losing weight, then drifting high
above the atmosphere into the ether.
Imperfect beings made to perfection.
Imperfect
to any minds with no space
for fluff. It’s bound
to bump into someone
who sees it as imperfect,
deems it as imperfect.
But imperfect
belongs not to it—
a title, a label, put on it by another
who’s clouded in the mind.
A puff without integrity
or a billow of full potential?
As it glides across the sky—my pocket
of sky framed by the window—it boasts
its full glory, baring its shadows,
taking up space, un-
reservedly, un-
hurriedly, un-
apologetically filling
the sky, blanketing it.
How splendid this perfect being dons its imperfections.

Go on, announce your presence:
Roar and rain.

Letter To The Wounded Ones

To the wounded ones,

I write to you from the other side (if there were even sides to begin with.) But having been where I was, I am guessing that is how you might see me, as the other who will never comprehend your pain. Not wishing to see you wear a smile to dismiss me, I rather name it upfront. As the wise poet, Rilke, once shared, “Don’t think that the person who is trying to comfort you now lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes give you pleasure. His life has much trouble and sadness, and remains far behind yours. If it were otherwise, he would never have been able to find those words.”

Dear one, there really is light at the end of it all. It can come, if fortune permits, in the form of another who sees you and accepts you for who you are. Or it can come, with all the blessings you have already been bestowed, through you. You may be walking through darkness searching for a mirror to help you see the light you carry within, and you know what, the light you seek is in you right from the beginning. Yet, being the modern humans we are, we have been too used to seeking over there instead of here. Here, in you, do you see the light? Perhaps it is dim, faded, shying from the unfamiliar attention, but it is here.

You hold the power to heal your own wounds. You can seek support and help, but the healing is yours to do. You have to be willing to look—at your own light, and at where it hurts. Because dismissing or ignoring it does nothing, akin to putting a blindfold on yourself and insisting you see no wound. Yet, the throbbing persists. The occasional pangs in those serendipitous moments where tears wet your eyes and you know not why.

You need time to heal. But time does not heal. Time does not have the power, but you, my dear, you do. Reclaim your power, live your responsibility. Do not let how others see you direct how you see yourself. Seek your own truth, see your own light, then help them see you.

Nurse your wounds. Heal, and regain your wholeness. You are not alone. I am here doing the work with you.


I am a developmental coach who helps people embark on the journey towards healing and living a life true to themselves. I can provide you with the safe space and the guidance to do the Work, let’s have a conversation.

I never dared

I woke up from a nightmare, sobbing,
        smothering my cries with my blanket,
I never dared call for Mum.

I never dared tell her some girls on my school bus
        ganged up to taunt and scorn me.
I never dared tell her, one of them was a neighbour’s kid,
        that neighbour she smiles and greets in the lift.
I never dared tell her, a teacher chided me to reflect on my character
        in my unsuccessful attempt to borrow a piece of craft paper from my classmates.
        I was only eight, did I deserve such hate?
I never dared tell her about her colleague,
        “She lied! It’s not about the candy, I’m not greedy!
        She said she wasn’t going to friend me, and she was your friend.
        I…was scared.”
I never dared tell her why I acted out on one of our road trips,
        jealous of my cousin sitting on her lap those few hours.
I never dared tell her how shocked and afraid I was
        when I encountered the flasher, and how much I wished
        she’d pick me up at the bus-stop after that event.

I never dared tell her many things, afraid
        she wouldn’t take my side, afraid
        she’d shame me or be ashamed
        of me.

Then, she left.
Like me, she never dared tell
or ask for help.

I never dared cry to Dad.
I never dared tell him the first piano teacher I had gradually idled away
        during our lessons, and wasn’t teaching me much.
I never dared tell him another neighbour asked me to stop my piano practice
        so her daughter could get her afternoon nap after school.
        (Oh wait, I did let him know, jokingly,over a decade after I parted with the keys)
I never dared tell him of the nights I was trembling under my blanket, traumatised
        by the presence prying and staring in through my window slits.
I never dared tell him of the accident I was in, where the car was flung
        across four lanes of the highway, landing on its top.
        (With God’s mercy, I was carried out of the smashed metal, unscathed)
I never dared tell him how terrified I was of whom I was once engaged to
        and why I broke it.
I never dared tell him how upset I was when he disregarded my offer
        to invite his friends to my wedding.
        (I had wanted him to share his joy and pride.)

I never dared utter a word
        when my heart shattered,
        when I screwed up in life.
I wish I had.
I wish I felt safe.
I wish I was assured.
I wish it was different, and I
will make a difference, starting
from this piece—

I dare.