I Learnt 3 Valuable Lessons

Whilst growing up I was never around animals and when I was, I was afraid of them. I have no idea why I was scared of them. I must have been incorrectly wired to believe that animals can hurt me so I always kept my distance. Besides, living in the city I did not have much opportunity to be around them so my lack of exposure limited me in knowing and understanding them.  Fast forward to today. I’m in love with animals. Especially in the last year. I am stunned at how little I knew about them. My ignorance got me curious to learn about the many beautiful species and so my journey began.  One of my favourite animals are dogs and specifically border collies. I have been lucky enough to get to know Lily. Lily is 4 years old and shes is a quarter labrador but she has very distinct border collie characteristics. Lily loves being around people and when she is stroked or itched, her facial expression can melt one’s heart. I know because it did mine. I am learning valuable lessons from Lily.  Lily is authentic. She waits by the stairs because she knows that we walk down the stairs and she gets attention; love. She is not embarrassed to display that side of her. It reminds me how I used to find it hard to ask for love. I masked what I wanted hence made it hard for others to know when I needed support or comfort. But if I showed what I felt then there would not be any issues in getting the love... read more

What a blissful weekend looks like? 

Have you ever gone to a place and felt like time has stopped and you’ve gone back in time? That’s how my weekend felt like.

We frequently go to this place, the second hand bookstore and get some great buys. Last Saturday was no different. As we left, we got chatting with the owner, a retired Englishman. I learnt so much about him, his family, his life and we even chatted about diet and fitness. I was so intrigued that I didn’t want to leave!

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For Buddha’s Day of Enlightenment

I’m often reminded in my own practice about the different states of consciousness that the mind can reach. I was doing a Sam Harris meditation with my husband a few days back and it very much stressed the idea of anatta (no self). This is a great meditation for realising that you have no self at all but it slightly ignores the different stages of consciousness that can reach towards this one point. For beginners, this would be an extremely difficult meditation as it doesn’t pin point the necessary conditions that are needed to reach the state of no-mind.

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Are We Awake?

Samadhi is usually translated as concentration and from my perspective it is an essential meditation practice. The practice of Samadhi envisages a mind that is calm, clear and gentle. It is unattached to anything and let’s go of thoughts as easily as raindrops gently dripping from a leaf during a Summer storm. It is very hard to achieve this state of mind as we have been so conditioned by life. Every form of conditioning must be removed for Samadhi to be achieved. Samadhi can be achieved in short bursts or in a whole lifetime (an example would be the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh). To obtain longer spans of Samadhi we must look to firstly reconditioning ourselves, and secondly to letting go of conditioning of any state or form. This is much harder than it sounds!

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She said “I do!”

I had the honour of attending a wedding banquet of a dear friend of mine recently. Those that know me know I shy away from weddings because 1) I’m not a social butterfly though I can in some situations 2) I find weddings overly done to the point that many brides rather live just for that day than focus on the elements of what makes a good marriage. Having said that, I don’t attend a lot of weddings. This one however warmed my heart.

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A New Beginning….

A few days ago a friend of mine got engaged. I was overjoyed for her. I started thinking about what made me this happy about her being engaged. For obvious reasons, this was something she really wanted. But more than that, they have a love that I rarely see today.

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Any Benefits to Coconut Oil?

There has been a lot of hype about coconut oil hence I decided to get on the bandwagon and find out for myself.

Hair: Growing up, my mom always used coconut oil in my hair. It gave me silky smooth hair until I decided to ruin it by perming, colouring, highlighting etc. So now, I’m going back to what my mom did for me. Once a week, I massage my hair with coconut oil and leave it for a couple of hours and then wash it off with shampoo. Seen massive improvement.

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What TV Does To Us?

Like (nearly) all of us in Hong Kong, I am concerned about the environment we live in. The air we breathe, the water we drink etc. But this blog isn’t going to be about that. It’s going to be about a different form of toxicity. The toxicity of that favourite little (or sometimes big) device in most (if not all) our houses. The television set.

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A Tribute to You, Chandini Sadhwani

When I lost my cousin, I spent the first few days finding out about how it happened. I didn’t stop to digest it emotionally. I allowed work to distract me. However, upon speaking to her parents, it hit me that she really had gone. It didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t. But does it ever? Whether it is the death of a loved one, a sudden break up, divorce etc. It never adds up.

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Birdville

A couple of days ago, we were innocently walking out of the hotel and saw a few crows nibbling away at something. Because there are quite a few crows in the hotel, I started examining them closely. But seeing what they were picking on did my stomach in. I was disgusted beyond belief. My views about crows changed instantly. A dead rat was now food for these birds. I felt sick!

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Losing Weight

I love my food, whether it’s dark chocolate or smoked salmon. Because of this love, I took an interest in understanding what food does to my body. I know that certain foods contribute to weight gain easily such as starchy and sugary foods. However there is so much to find out on what foods suit me so I began reading. I’m still learning as we speak.

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I’m afraid of …..

Some people are afraid of falling in love. After getting hurt and having their heart broken, they choose not to give their heart away. The fear of someone abusing that and breaking it again prevents them from trusting someone with their heart.

I think that in life we all have fears. Some would find falling in love hard like I mentioned earlier, while some find trying new things difficult while some others find it hard to be sociable.

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My New Year’s Resolution

It’s that time again when we sit down and think of the things we want to achieve in life. I have a long list of things from getting a six pack to getting a distinction for my Masters in Counseling, to getting a reliable helper, to being more sociable etc. However whilst these New Year’s resolutions are important, what I experienced yesterday puts well-being on the very top of my list.

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Am I Trusting People Too Easily?

Have you ever met someone and felt so completely connected that you trusted them immediately? It’s as if you’ve know the person for years and they can do no wrong. I’ve had that feeling many times. The funny thing is that these people that I’ve trusted are no longer around. Doesn’t it make you wonder what happened? If I trusted them and it felt right and we connected so well, wouldn’t that friendship last a lifetime? Well, through these experiences I’ve realised a few things.

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Happily Ever After!

How does it feel when a movie ends on a happy note and the couple reunites or the hero is saved? We love that, don’t we? Simply because that’s what we want in our lives; to live happily ever after. The question is, is that possible? Can life be without problems and pain? Can life be what TV programs portray?

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Are you living a lie?

When was the last time you had to cancel an appointment and you lied that you were stuck at work or you were sick instead of saying the truth which could have been you didn’t feel like going. We lie because we can’t handle the truth. We have been programmed to take everything personally and then we get offended by the truth. Hence we have decided that lying is the better alternative in dealing with situations as such. So we lie to others.

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Are You Happy 24/7?

What is happiness? Today more than ever, there are tons of self help books written by monks, saints, scholars, philosophers etc. on what happiness is. Happiness is different to each person at different times. I like how Abraham Lincoln puts it “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” This is very true. We choose to be happy when we want to and while we are stuck being unhappy what do we do?

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I do then I don’t!

Isn’t it beautiful when two people unite and say “I do”? Love is something we all look for and when we find it in the right person we take a leap of faith and commit our lives to each other. Movies like Pretty Woman, Maid in Manhattan or Back Up Plan are many women’s ultimate love story that they wish to have. Yes, we know it’s unreal but do we really?

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Stop & Breathe!

Strange title and you’re right. It is strange but it’s so true. When an obstacle occurs, what do most of us do? React! I can guarantee that our reaction to the situation doesn’t make it better. It probably creates more stress, anxiety, bitterness etc. So why react when we know our autopilot response actually backfires? Sadly it’s how we have been programmed through our upbringing and the influence of society. In order to have a different outcome; an outcome that will make the situation better we need a different way of responding. So what’s that? Stop& Breathe!

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Running Away from You

Seems like an odd title for this blog but I feel it’s an apt heading for something I have seen time and time again. How often has a person run away from their “problems” only to realise too late that the problems they face are themselves? How many of our problems are actually created by our own minds and the fractured elements that make up ourselves?

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Perspective

A couple of days ago my day started badly. I thought I had managed to snap out of it but as the day went on I came across more and more hurdles. It is usually the accumulative small stuff that gets to us especially when it is simultaneously all happening at once. I was suddenly asked to attend a Cantonese meeting next week on the day I had debate training with my advanced debaters.

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Who Do You Turn To?

Do you ever feel that when the shit hits the roof those that you thought would be there aren’t? It’s interesting that it takes life’s hurdles for us to discover who we can rely on. Lately I’ve been feeling lost not so much on the physical level; and I find it hard to turn to my girlfriends simply because my shit isn’t the usual stuff that we cry over like career, men or family issues that most of us seem concerned with 24/7.

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How much do we love money?

As I’ve just started a new job it has me pondering about why I work? Clearly to have money. But why do we need to work 40-60 hours a week? Most of our waking hours is spent at work and not with people we love or things we enjoy doing. When death comes it won’t matter how much we have earned or what job we had so working our lives away seems pointless.

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There’s Something About Mary

ver a week ago I met an old woman named Mary. She has an unusual appearance and a deformed face and is retired in France with her husband. When I first saw her I greeted her and remembered clearly saying “it’s nice to meet you.” But she didn’t respond. I didn’t want to think too much into it. As we were all sitting around and chatting, I got on quite well with her husband talking about accents. He and a few others made fun of my American accent and I laughed about it or picked at theirs. It was nothing personal. At times it did feel a bit too much but I decided to just let it go.

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Do You Love Yourself?

I have been looking through some old photographs of myself both past and present and was stunned at the obvious changes I have seen and made. The girl of 10 years ago had such different priorities and values to the girl of today. The girl of yesterday didn’t take care of herself. She wasn’t concerned with exercise, health or healthy eating. The girl of yesterday cared so much less for herself and gave all her energy to others. The girl of today has learnt to value herself and has placed her health and fitness as a priority.

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Being Fake

While being in the hotel in Marrakech I have come across some interesting people. One lady in particular struck me. She has the body, the presence, the wealth and the intelligence but beneath all that what I see is a lady who isn’t being true to herself let alone others. Our conversation about lavish lifestyle exhibited a need for her to advertise that she has done the glamorous restaurants and hotels.

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Childhood

When I look around me I see teenage girls that have their hair free, are fit looking and athletic. It makes me wonder what went wrong during my childhood. I was born with some body hair and wasn’t guided on what to do so I shaved and those that have done just that know the effects of it. A decade if not more later I discovered laser and that saved me. Now it’s easy to wear a bikini and feel confident.

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Creative Art

I have absolutely loved the artwork I have seen on this trip so far, particularly in the hotel and the art museums. The artwork itself got me pondering about how great art is created and why some art becomes as valuable as it does. What is truly valuable about art and how is it possible to judge its value?

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Heat

It was really, really hot today. So hot, in fact, that I couldn’t go outside without my flip-flops on. At one point it was 47. Yes, 47! We decided to go into the old town section of Marrakech. Usually I would plan every place I would visit and everything I would do in any city I visit. This time I just turned up with the Brit in a taxi and was left in the middle of an extremely bustling and busy square. I had forgotten my hat and the Brit said “Wouldn’t it be great if we could find somewhere to buy a hat?”.

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Grace

Grace. I never really understood what grace meant until recently and I’m still figuring out how to integrate grace into my being. This all started when my Brit and I were talking about my fat days and how my personal trainer Pam had asked me to walk along the aisle. I was so self conscious. For those that know Pure Langham; the basement reception can be crowded with trainers hanging around and clients training everywhere doing weights or various routines. So my walk stunned her.

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Being Spiritual

Many people think that being ‘spiritual’ is all to do with the act of doing. Going to church, chanting prayers, showing that you are ‘spiritual’. I feel that spirituality has more to do with being than doing. Anyone can do spirituality, but it’s what you say and do every day that counts. If you go to the temple once every week and act with brutish intent, then that’s not spiritual. That’s merely an attempt to alleviate your guilt about the acts that you perform. What’s the point of going to a religious building once a week when you end up acting like an ass?

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How Do You Express Love?

We say “I love you” often. We sometimes express it through action whether it’s buying someone a new dress or helping out with the household chores. I recently read “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman which explains how each person expresses love differently. Some need a lavish gesture to know they are truly loved while some need quality time together with their loved ones. Others still need constant verbal affirmations that they are loved. What’s important is to know how people around you or your loved ones need to feel loved because you could be doing all sorts of things to express love and they will fail to see it as love.

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Setting Boundaries

Boundaries. It was an alien word to me until I started reading a book entitled “Beyond Boundaries” by Dr. John Townsend. I always thought that when someone crosses the line you don’t react to it but in all honesty I do and that’s the stage I am at. I am still developing and do feel pain or insult when it comes my way so pretending to not let it get to me isn’t being honest to myself. Honesty is the first step to self development.

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Breaking fears

A year ago I tried scuba diving then a couple of months after I went to the ring and had my first Muay Thai fight. I definitely had some fears and at the same time excitement but I kept telling myself life is boring if it’s lived in the comfort zone. The aftermath of those experiences has pushed me to try other things that I fear. My fear of being underwater goes way back from watching James Bond movies especially The Spy Who Loved Me and I vividly remember turning my head at every water scene. This clearly showed my fear of water.

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