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Begin with an empty cup

A couple days ago, I was in a Yoga class in the midst of transitioning from downward dog to a high lunge when I was reminded that each time I step onto that mat, I’ve been given a chance to start over – to begin with an empty cup so I can allow new lessons to come. Even after years, I’m still learning new ways of approaching my downward dog.

Just as every morning we wake up is a another chance to figure out how this living thing works.

Each time you touch that guitar is a new chance to learn how to create music from those strings.

Each time you touch your computer is a chance to find the best way to produce what you need to produce.

Can we approach life remembering to empty our cups and approach things as new chances for learning?

That relationship that didn’t work out gave you a new chance of stepping into others – hopefully better ones.

That project that didn’t pan out gave you a new chance to find other approaches on delivering the same message or product.

That time you hurt someone gave you a chance to be better when you come across the same situation.

It’s not easy to remember to see things as new chances. Our minds tend to go into autopilot and focus on all the miseries we had. 

“Eugh, why can’t I get even a simple downward dog, right?”
“I can’t believe it’s already morning.”
“I can never get the riff. This song is too difficult.”
“Back to work. *big sigh*. I hope this ends soon.”
“And here I am with another broken heart. Maybe I’m not good at this love thing.”
“Well, there you go, the project failed – I’m not good enough.”
“I hurt her. I suck”

That’s alright, we’re human. After all, changing the way we think is the most difficult yoga of all. 

I fall into the self-pity and “I suck” hole from time to time. And when that happens I call out “HELP!” to friends who I see as my secondary anchors in life. And with their help, get myself out of the hole.

And btw, falling into that hole is another chance of learning how to get out. ;).

Today, see if you can learn to empty your cup and see things as new chances at life. Cause life has its ups and down. If we can face life with empty cups, then when the water fills our boats during heavy rains, we got these empty cups to scoop the water out of our boats!

I raise my cup to you.

Cheers!

Back to the Beginning

I’ve been quiet this past month cause I’ve been going inwards into my own cocoon – reflecting and learning. Perhaps brewing my being for something bigger.

The Great Terry Prattchet wrote in A Hat Full of Sky, “Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” The whole month of July has felt like I’m going back to the start in many areas of my life – but i’m not exactly coming back to the very beginning. I have gone so far from where I started. I’m coming back to learn even more.

The more I know, the more I really don’t know. The more I learn about things, the more I have to unlearn many other things.


On the physical level, I’ve been made aware of many imbalances within my body – on the surface level is how different my left side is from my right. The most challenging thing was probably to remind myself that I am perfect the way I am, even if I’m not equal on the left and right side. The un-evennes in my body was created to balance other aspects of my life in these past 3 plus decades of my life. And now that I’ve been made aware of it, I’m given an opportunity to come back to the start and re-discover Balance. It is an opportunity to bring in more stability in the way I move and live.

I’ve become my own personal trainer and physical therapist. And I’m thankful of the opportunities I got to experience and apply what I learned on myself first and foremost. By experiencing things, I can better help others.


And with that, I’ve felt like I had to come back to the start in terms of how I teach my yoga classes. I’ve been blessed enough to share yoga with older ladies. Their range of motions are very limited, and that got me to be creative and really look at their needs.

And this time, I felt like I was made to go deeper into that – To come back to seeing the basic functions of human bodies and find ways to create better stability and mobility in the body through simple exercises. That takes not just body awareness and intelligence, but a lot of introspection on how we move and function with the aid of our bodies.


I’m also coming back to the start and re-connecting with what is Love. What does it mean to love and be loved? All the dark shadows of love have been coming up to play – things like attachment, possession, and all those good things that stops us from really loving.

I feel so much love and at times it’s aching for someone to pour it to and to express it to. I’m navigating what does expressing an emotion and having it be heard mean to me. As someone who is so passionate about life, the expression of life – thus the emotions – means a lot to me. But how exactly?

I don’t have the answer.

And that’s okay.

I’m coming back to the start to the essence of love.


Awareness, Introspection, and a Heart-centered Intelligence are my trio of friends in learning about myself and my life and being a better person. And I came back to the beginning with these 3 friends. We’ve started another journey and I look forward to discoveries and new friends along the way.

So, if you’re ever confused or needed to make sense of this life, come back to the beginning, and I’ll meet you there and introduce you to my 3 friends.

 

Till then,

Thoughts on aging and living well

I’m the kind of person who likes to see all sides of an argument. I always believe there’s more than 1 side of things and this makes me believe that there’s no such thing as real absolutes, especially when it comes to dogmas, doctrines, and advices. I’m the worst at debates cause I like to equally weigh both sides.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying Mind over Matter before. While it’s true to a huge extend, and despite believing the saying, I still feel like I hadn’t gotten the whole picture of that simple saying.

Earlier today, I spent a few hours at my 96 year-old grandma’s place to help out cause she’s been having trouble walking. Her legs are already quite weak and it takes a lot of effort to move one foot for even an inch.

But my grandma is the most strong-willed person I know. Despite all her difficulties, she refused to use the wheelchair. Unfortunately, this made it difficult for the rest of the family, especially in those moments where her legs gave up and she had to be supported by more than 2 people in mid-fall cause she exerts all her force as she refuse to sit down and continue trying with all her might to stand and continue walking.

Today, in one of those moments where her legs gave up, as I was doing my best gentle persuasion to get her to sit down on the wheelchair and rest, she shouted “I was given strength! I was given strength!” Even in the most difficult situation, nothing can shake her believe.

But her body was already halfway down, and even with 3 people by her side, she could still easily fall and hurt something. So I said to her “let’s use that strength to sit down.” And somehow, we managed to guide her to the chair behind her.

It was hard to be there and I carried what happened in my mind until hours later. I was half looking for a solution and half was just wondering if there’s a lesson here.

Slowly, throughout the day, stories come my way.

My dad watched a television talk show program where there’s a pole vaulter/ high jumper that is about the same age as my parents but still competing professionally. Then I received the following video of this fabulous 98-year-old lady who can still do amazing things with her body.

I searched her and listened to her Ted talk and her mantra was that anything is possible. She believes that she CAN, so she DOES. 

To me, my grandma is a perfect example of “Mind over Matter”. I always admire her determination and her will. But unfortunately her body can’t keep up with her mind anymore. The other 2 ladies are example of “Mind along Matter. The Mind believes that she can. The body, which has been taken care of, is able to support the mind. And to go even deeper, Tao, the 98 year-old-lady, is the perfect example of “Soul guided Mind along Matter”. 

And that’s the key to living well.

We are made up of Mind, Body, and Soul. For a healthy life, the 3 of them have to be developed together. A centered soul influences a healthy body, which can support a strong mind.

My grandma looked defeated when she sat on her wheelchair and my heart feels for her. I hope I can still show her that just by using a little help, that doesn’t mean she’s not strong. I hope I can share that there’s also power in gentleness, softness and rest.

But let this be a reminder for us to not just take care of one part, but to pay attention to what our souls/ hearts want, to the clarity and strength of our minds, and to the health of our bodies.

With heart,

Happy International Yoga Day!

Today, 21 June, is the day declared by United Nations as International Yoga Day. And at the same time, it’s also the Summer Solstice in the Northern part of the world and Winter Solstice in the Southern part of the world.

I thought it’s just so beautiful that the world always finds a way to balances itself out. When the sun spends the longest time partiyin’ up in the north, the moon spends her longest time shining brightly in the south. Just like Yoga, it’s all about the ‘yoke’ or union of two very different forces and energy to maintain balance between the Sun (the male energy) and the Moon (the female energy) within us and in our lives.

So, on this International Yoga Day, do something that will bring balance into your life! Whether it’s doing Yoga, or meditating, or going out into nature, or writing, cooking, being with loved ones, you’ll know which one you need more of to unite the Sun and the Moon in your life :).

Namaste,

The Retreat Place Article

Hey Gorgeous!

I’ve been spending this week mostly in bed, down with something. I’m alright and pretty good actually. The symptoms were not bad but I had a low-grade fever and low energy. So, I cancelled all my teaching work this week and spent an awesome few days resting.

Being in bed doesn’t mean that life stops happening. There have been some big things happening on all ends of the Life’s curves and spectrums. At the end of the day, everything that happened were great and I’d like to share one of them.

So, drum roll please…

I have my first writing as a guest author posted on someone else’s site!

 

It’s not Huffington Post or The Guardian and not even a local publication, but I think it’s small accomplishment and I’m proud of it, especially since it’s a personal story. I’m also happy cause by holding the intention of learning to be a better writer, I keep being led forward to various opportunities to share my writings.

I know that I’m more comfortable sharing my stories as compared others, but it’s still not an easy thing to do.

It was my friend’s – Alaine’s – idea of writing it. We thought it would be a good way to spread the word about Social Zen Retreats. She suggested a “spotlight on Meta” type of story. I hesitated at first because most of the stories on the site give advices on how to do this or that and live a better life. But I decided to go on with the idea of sharing my story and the guys at Retreat Place liked it!

So here is the link to the article.

Thank you for being around. Thank you for reading. Even if you don’t read it, thank you for all your support.

I’m progressing onwards and hopefully will get to the dream of publishing my own book one day :).

To infinity and beyond,