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October 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

A few memorable phrases from my yoga classes last week:

“If you love Love so much, it will come to you. But first you need to love yourself, wholeheartedly”

“Let’s move to the next pose, if you are already in it, I don’t know why you are. We move so fast all the time. It is so hard to slow down”

“Be authentic in everything you do, the conversations you have, the words you type, the things you do”

I am thoroughly enjoying this asana practices more and more. It has deepen the daily awareness of every single event. The days are much sweeter, the once unnecessary moments are now filled with laughters and chores are joyful. Of course, not everything is peachy. I still face disappointments and tears. Yet, in a grand scheme of life, they are all happenstance. The smaller things making a big picture. The ebb and flow. Sow and reap.

You know how your yoga instructor invites you to set an intention before your practice? The last practice, I told myself to not set any intention. No, “let go”, “I dedicate this to…”; “focus on the moment”.. Yet not setting any intention itself is an intention. How many times in our lives we seek for reasons to questionable moments? What’s the point? Why am I doing this? Is it worth it? For some seeking out answers is the drive to why they even start something. For some questioning themselves make them feel challenged or fulfil a certain curiosity. Over time, I no longer find the need to pursue them. I am remotely sure about defining moments or even stereotyping things/people. Why is there a need? Yes it does help us understand the details but more than often, it has separate us from one another. Are we able to know the differences, labels and definitions, without judgement?

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These days, my routines are: meditation, yoga/running, studying, reading, baking and drinking chai soy lattes or beers. You got to live a life, like it is a holiday. Exams coming in a few weeks!

Yoga studio at Westside yoga; hotcakes with peanut butter at Dad and Dave’s; home roasted sweet potatoes; lunch after running the floor.

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September 30, 2017 § Leave a comment

resilient
a little
drawing courage to bend

hopeful
perhaps so
that one would make efforts

faith
in quiet
self-compassion shines in light

knowing
not doing
is not knowing at all

loving
not showing
is half baked

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September 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

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(green apples, kale, currants, chickpeas, carrots)

First counselling class touched us as much as a warm hot soup made by your grandmama. Soul was quite a charm owning the circle of new students whom he barely knew. We barely know each other too. But after that 3 hours, we felt right at home and at ease with one another.

I had wanted to drop this module because I did it before. But going through the concept questions was a breeze. Social psychology and counselling had always been one of my favourite subjects in university. As the class went on, he brought the attention of our own judgement towards ourselves. How often do we judge and how often does that translate to us reflecting statements or paraphrasing them to mirroring our own souls?

A large part of our daily actions or words are carried out because of what we are innately not largely because of the environment we are in. As time goes by, I am more grounded. Perhaps it comes with age, as I take an observer role rather than to par-take in any activities. To take two steps back before acting out, it does feel much better this way.

Yesterday, I spent four hours in the A&E room. I had an infected spider bite and the pain/swell was intolerable. As they lance out the bite, I passed out briefly. There was no painkillers (I am hyper allergic to them) or anaesthesia. Just raw pain. I shut my eyes and held on the space between my brows. When all was done, a plastic cup of ice water came to console.

Second week down under. Hospital visit, check. School, check. Running mileage/crossfit/yoga done. Cooked and baked for family, done too. Still looking for a space to call home.
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(cobb lane cafe‘s very moist carrot cake)

Today was a mixture of exhaustion and calmness. After a few days of waking up at dawn, having interval sleeps, trying not to get blood stains on the sheets (and still failed), long reading list and keeping the body warm; this soul is beat.

It’s finally Friday. Let’s hope for a better weekend.
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September 12, 2017 § Leave a comment

New beginnings come with challenges. I have yet to remind myself how long it takes a person to climatize to a new environment. After moving so many times, one would think you would have cultivated a habit or some sort of theory to adjusting. Somehow, this move has brought in old haunts. The deep seated insecurity and fear of unsucceeding. It isn’t just so much about career anymore. It’s also about the environment, people, food, relationship and life, holistically.

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To put the self in this cold waters and commit with steadfastness. Lets throw ourselves into vulnerability and shine light on it. So often when the balance is not met, I fall off emotionally. Sinking into a negative cycle of nervousness, unthoughtful words and overdosed of caffeine. When I meditate, I watch this person turn into a lifeless sourdough starter. No yeast or lukewarm water can justify its’ ability to proof. Perhaps, best to just throw it away or start again. A painful tug of war and dull repeated affair.

“Haven’t we been here before, old friend?”

I pledged to not feel this hurt. Nevertheless, here we are. New place, new path, same fears, same tears, sleepless nights. How can we help ourselves to be better?

Do not put judgement on that soul. It is loved, dearly. An unevenly baked scone with a layer of golden brown caramelisation is still as delicious with a thick knob of butter and dollop of homemade fruit jam. At least at this point, it is forgiven and enjoyed.

I have yet to feel that way. A life long journey to forgiving the mistakes and let others bring light in. I have waited long enough to want an unrequited loving devotion. I have wanted to get out of that city. I have yearned to accomplish a new course.

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I borrowed my first book at the school library today. Naturopathic Practice by James Hewlett-Parsons written in 1968.

“Only the harmonious balance between physical, mental and psychic attributes of self can produce true health….. Health comes only as a result of man’s conscious observance of natural law and his living in constant harmony with his surrounding vibrations and his innermost forces. There is no other way.”

One could only practice this fully by being a life-long student. So here we are. Another blog post, another cold day, new country, and this same soul documenting her naturopathic journey. Well of course, there will still be food. Melbourne is a plant-based diet eaters’ haven. I have yet to find my favourite spots but for now, this little town outside the city has my heart.

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of having enough 1725

August 31, 2017 § Leave a comment

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A sudden sadness came on the last night of leaving. I am usually very reluctant to have a goodbye or the last show before a departure. But this came with as much resilience as insecurities. She said to me that our fears get the better of us, that we are more resilient and independent than we think we are. Truth is, I have been resilient and independent almost in all my younger adult life. Traveling on my own, seeking for growth etc. At some point, I asked, what is the meaning of doing everything by myself? It hit home. A twist to a story of a solo traveller seeking for companionship or similar hearts. Don’t we all go through life only to be more ourselves and to have people more like-minded? To share thoughts, feelings and dreams to those who took the same interests and make them flourish ?

Easy to say hey? As strong as we are, as vulnerable the heart could get, the complications manifest. But as time passes, meditation has taught me to resolve them by letting the tears flow, let grace in and trust. To learn how to surrender onto earth and let the ego mind dissolves.

Today was hard. It might be harder tomorrow, or easier. Nevertheless, thankful for the little things that will come by.

heritage

August 29, 2017 § Leave a comment

IMG_9344.jpgIt has been barely 24 hours since I touched down, my head is still lingering in a heritage sphere. One would wonder how deep an impression a city would make after a couple of days. How my feet remembers the little lanes between a main street, or how my heart allows the scent of cumin spices to pursue the next dining destination, exploring the preserved local architecture, or simply just letting the island’s indecisive weather depict our routines.

Penang has always had a special place in my heart. As a younger family, we would visit relatives and friends over the holidays or special occasions. All other random visits would either be a result of serious food cravings or missing good company.

This trip emerged slowly. We had no plans for anything but to spend quality time together. We spent the days mostly sleeping in till unlikely hours and waking up to local food on the table. An array of char kway teow(fried wok-hei filled noodles), steamed local sweet corn, nyonya kuehs (sweet treats), freshly sliced pineapples and homemade kopi. Then we would head to Hin Bus Depot, an old bus depot turned art exhibition centre, for yoga, a photography event/workshop or a walk around the flea market.

The flea is filled with artistic vendors, recreating traditional prints, clothing, food with new materials or homegrown products. A nasi ulam stand calls for own grown ulam (herbs), freshly folded into turmeric rice and sprinkled with tempeh crumbles. A bookshop decorated with old tiles painted with images of historical sites and calligraphy stationary sets. At this point of the day, I am already feeling spoiled with an abundance amount of good food and great company in an immensely enriching environment.

A kefir soda maker and her daughter who manages the art space behind; a graphic designer turned bartender/cook who runs the retail shop, The Swagger Salon; local beer brewers, Red Door ; Wholey Wonder, vegan/yoga studio; and the resident cat, Eugene.

Where was I when all these home-grown talents were transpiring?

Somewhere at the other side of the world, searching for answers to questions I yearned to understand.

How do we make ourselves relevant to society? How do we preserve what we have and still change what is needed? What is needed?

All things are relevant. All these are subjective to its own usage. Money. Materials. Time. Distance. Food. Clothing. Art. Car. A house. They all mean something to us fundamentally but conjured up different interpretations.

I used to think that having three meals a day was a necessity. But realised we could make our own eating choices without looking at our watches but simply by asking ourselves, are we hungry?

I used to believe that growth is tearing things apart and letting new materials take over. But learnt that growth can start from understanding what the past gave us and using new materials to help preserve its authenticity, without damaging or hindering what the original maker had intent for it to be. Now that’s, craft.

 

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Some evenings were spent dining out but when circumstances allowed, I could feed the family. One of my favourite family meals dishes comes from Nigel Slater’s first Kitchen Diaries. I initially made this as a psychology student in Leeds. We had a big house party with young college students, which called for simple finger food and cheap beers or cider. This time, Lemon Peppercorn Roasted Chicken Wings were paired with sautéed seafood, fried rice and pork rip soup. A rather intimate and slow affair compared to the youthful days. We also took the chance to bake cakes for tea. A staple Grapefruit Yogurt loaf and vegan Chocolate Banana Walnut brownie. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them its dairy & egg-free. I couldn’t bring myself to understand how rich and moist that loaf was. It was perhaps the best vegan chocolate cake I’ve ever concurred. They say, wisdom comes with age. Perhaps, baking experiences are the similar, so to speak.

On a sleepy Sunday, I woke up early and followed his mum to the local ban san (a hokkien slang for wet markets). We walked around the busy street with vendors trying to get our attentions, buyers grabbing  fresh produce, ingredients, snacks, and so forth. I stumbled upon an old bakery, where they still use their barehands to fold wet cake batters, proof breads and use margarine for nostalgia.

I stood at the counter too long to their likings and observed them manoeuvre from counter to counter. Their quick punching on proof doughs, prudence in tipping breads out from hot pans and carefully wrapping cooled pastries were so well orchestrated. I wonder how long they have been doing this. I wonder how many times the lady had asked me what I want when I lost all awareness while in the baker’s trance. She finally grew impatient, and left me alone. I continued staring gleefully at the perfectly season deck ovens, stainless steel trays and arrays of pastries. How long have we been doing this in our own backyard and yet search for greener pastures to create trends? Have we grown impatient or bored of ourselves? How does creativity prevail while we have little appreciation for authenticity or simple craftsmanship?

The food we eat these days has heritage. It is nostalgic for the flavours, textures and environment. But the food we ate, sometimes have little nutritional values. We were cultured to adapt to this because we were at war or perhaps not so well informed. While I go on commenting about how we should take care of our own well-being, I sometimes wonder if I should stop caring. For people don’t care what they put in their bodies and when I say too much, it isn’t well-received.

A little sadness sank in that evening. Sitting outside staring on the quiet streets, asking myself how can we continue to educate or bring awareness when people don’t want to? Because being ignorance is blissful and we could continue living in a egomania society, breading excessiveness and immorality.

I always say, how you do one thing is how you do everything. Pour enough sauce for your salad or chee chong fun; buy one not take advance of buy two get one free (there is no need); take what you need and leave what you don’t. Our heritage is narrowing, because our education is advancing without teaching ethics or mindful-living. I feel grateful for meeting passional collective individuals on this trip. A little light to capture essence of hopes for a better community.

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August 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

Baking this lovely cake is a ritual at our space. I remember meeting her family for the first time. They rolled up to our shop and was delightfully surprised that we had a gluten free option sweet for her son. Week after week, we became a weekend treat after their long family walks. Five years later, she is one of my closest friend and most inspiring woman I know.

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When this came out from the oven yesterday, I knew it wasn’t my best. I had lost touch of the whisk, spatula, melting time, temperature and essentially, the kitchen. I haven’t been doing this for a long time and also felt so at home. How can one feel so lost at home? It takes a while to get myself familiarised with Gerard, Sam and Blu. I remember their particular manoeuvres. Holding onto the off/on button while reducing the speed; pressing one side of the mixing bowl down so that the whisk can ease into the egg whites better; never preset the temperature because he is always faster than you think.

All these familiaritires spoke closely to my heart. Afterall, 4 years of long hours in the same space, how could it possibly not?

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I love being able to tell the story of a simple cake and how it brought us customers who became very close friends. I love being friends, forging bonds over simple meals and being their daily bread/coffee. Beyond these, I am also a home cook who is obsessed with tinkering ingredients, temperature, methods and re-adjusting recipes. “A little more salt for this today”,”a little more of that than that”, “that didn’t look like that before, why is it this way today?” There is a certain expectation we live up to. More often that not, we are our worst critic by putting ourselves down and then comparing to others. But truly we know that comparing ourselves isn’t as bad or good, until we are better than the last meal we cooked. The goal as a cook is to always be better than your last cake or dish.

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A couple of days ago, I caught up with a friend where we spoke closely about being authentic and drawing positive energies. It is so easy to get sucked by naysayers or the rat race. While we are obsessed with what the media portrays and how we should live our lives vicariously through theirs, we also unwillingly blend into the social norm. So what if we are a no reservation place or do not believe your gossips about this other person you are talking about? Perhaps if we all have an open mind or heart about the next thing we hear of something new or old, we could all be better for ourselves and others too.

Here is to “not living to the status quo, giving unconditional love and having the courage to be your authentic self”.

I am leaving this country, again. Yes this time its full throttle, no visa drama and just left with packing. It feels a little bit like how Nancy Silverton left Canpanile. A year ago, that relationship didn’t work and someone had to go; so I left, even when I wasn’t ready to leave emotionally. It was the lost of the space that made me a little hollow. I had no idea what to do, so I travelled, did odd jobs and found home ground somewhere else. I’m still on this journey. One thing I learnt this week about being yourself, be daring enough to pissed people off.

Want a beer?

*oh yes, we named our equipments*

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