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.

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.

Letter to Self

What we need, we can learn to give it to ourselves.

An inquiry this morning brought me on a journey through the lush field of envy down into the blues, emerging hot with anger before settling into my being with strength and energy pulsing through my arms.

I visited my past and lent my little one my voice to express what she could not back then. All she ever wanted was for my parents to see her.

Stop looking at others, and stop telling me how good they are. Stop. Look at me and tell me how good I am. Help me see my merits and gifts. Tell me I am good and I deserve a place in this world. Tell me, show me, I am precious, no matter how old I am, what form I take. Tell me that despite life being tough, it is worth living. Tell me the whole story, not just half. Don’t be stingy with kindness, thinking it will fuel my complacency. I lack confidence even to begin. I don’t need you to tell the world about me, I need you to tell me about me, not just my bad, but my good as well. I need to know this world is safe for me, and I don’t have to be anyone else other than me.

My Little One

I feel my repressed angst and am reminded of the many occasions I looked elsewhere wishing I did not have to be here to be me. What I craved were the words of affirmation from my parents. They tried their best, they gave me all they could on their worst days and best days. And I needed more than they could provide. So here, I do the work needed to relay to myself the messages I needed to hear.

My Dearest,

Maybe you know, maybe you don’t
but I am still here to tell you,
there’s a place for you in this world—
right here, this spot where you are sitting, in this very body.
Here is where you are, living your dreams, breathing writing.
This is all that matters, this is life.
You are precious. Irreplaceable.
There can never be another you.
I don’t want you to be anyone but yourself.
I know it’s rough outside and I know you can see it through.
I have seen your strength and resilience. And I know
what a courageous soul you are.
Go, pursue what your heart desires.
You have all it takes, and you are worth the fight.
Know that I will be here to catch you when you fall,
I will hold you tight and close until you are ready to try again.

Loving you. Always.

We are responsible for our own healing. When we heal, our healing ripples through the world.

What are the messages you wish you were told when you were young? Will you be the one to say them to yourself?

I write to inquire into my life and to share my learnings from my sojourn on Earth. These essays are my labor of love and also my livelihood. If you wish to support this labor from this labor, please consider aiding its sustenance with a donation. Your support keeps me going.

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Towards Greatness

Winning does not tempt that man.
His growth is: to be the deeply defeated by ever greater things.

Rainer Maria Rilke

This was a quote I included in my book The Weight of My Soul: Uncovering My Significance. I am glad after two years since discovering this quote, I still think about it when I contemplate how I live life. Moreover, I am appreciating his words ever more. Is Man masochistic to seek defeat? No, of course not. Man knows greatness does not come without a single defeat. He is probably the only creature blessed with the faculties to appreciate and know greatness. There is no getting to greatness without traversing the yellow brick road, we cannot achieve greatness through comfort.

A tougher problem offers opportunity for intellectual growth; a heavier weight, physical growth. A breakdown or disruption in life offers opportunity for growth and deepening of our soul. In every discomfort lies an opportunity for growth. It is a testament to the resilience and malleability of human beings.

To be soft and malleable is to allow for growth. We allow ourselves to take in the nutrients we need to grow while retaining the flexibility and possibility of how we grow. We were given soft animal bodies to be impressed upon, to be touched, and to feel warmth and love. When our heart and mind feel secure and safe in our body, they can rest; they can be and do what they were meant to do—to feel and think without the grip of past experiences.

A conversation, then, begins to unfold within: amongst an open loving heart, a calm discerning mind, and a soft steady belly. In this resting state, we uncover our power to be, and act, in this world. From this place, we can falter and fall, and in each fall, choose to intimately know our vulnerability, then rise again. And each time we rise, therein lies our strength shining through what was once vulnerable.

Each proverbial defeat offers us a chance to see distinctly who we took ourselves to be, and learn about who we truly are: fallible beings with infinite potentialities. From this, we get to choose again who we want to be.

Even in our finite time on Earth, we are constantly offered the chance to grow.

Towards greatness.

Self Delight

It is satisfying as I leafed through the pages of my journal and run my fingers over the marks I have etched onto the paper. There is a sense of pride in what I have done for myself. Regardless of quantity or quality, these pages are valuable because they contain the preciousness of my being and my life.

I recall the look of satisfaction my niece wore when she managed to slot her book back into its case after a few tries. At 20-months-old, she bore no frustration, instead, her eyes were curious as she rotated the book around various angles, and voila, she found the perfect fit and pushed it all the way in before flashing a contented smile. This precious moment was captured on camera but she was unaware of the audience. She did not look up to seek help, neither did she flash her smile for an audience or for approval. She was just pleased with herself for accomplishing the challenge before her.

Her purity shone through the video; I was both touched and puzzled by her way of being which felt foreign to me. I wondered how I was as a child, and what brought satisfaction to me. Well, when the time is ripe, I will experience it again.

In acknowledging and recognizing myself, I have marked myself significant to me.

And here I am, filled with contentment and pride and awe with what I have accomplished. A manifestation of my thoughts, a pouring forth of my being into ideas, words, and letters that now exist in a physical form. What used to be intimidating and tiring to me is no longer a hassle to avoid, but a cause worth undertaking. When I muster my courage to face my own deeds, without deflection or comparison, I am breaking out of my egoic patterns and beliefs. This is neither a small nor big feat. It is a feat I have accomplished, worthy of my acknowledgment and recognition. And in recognition, I have marked myself significant to me. I am breaking yet another pattern of reacting to a fear of insignificance.

I am pleased with what I have done because I did it. I am delighted I can write, and I appreciate my efforts in writing. I have no idea what outcome my efforts will bring, and that query can come later. There is no need for permission or approval to be satisfied and happy. Just like my sweet little niece being in touch with the joy and the value of her essence.

May we appreciate the little things we do and the inherent value we hold.