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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,

Dumbledore’s Army

I’m sitting here, on the aftermath of everything that happened today, feeling weird.
Weird like the world as I know it is going to change significantly and we are going to lose our sense of bearing and we’re going to flail around for a little bit.

I’m also feeling like a sobering is happening – like people are coming down from a high and slowly grasping with reality that the world is not happening without us being involved. We create this world we’re living in.

With the presidential election in the States and the recent unrest in Jakarta, emotions are at their most high. Plus, there’s been lots of flooding in my hometown. Chaos, is the word that comes to mind.

Here’s what I think: I think things didn’t go so well (horrible might be the right word if we’re gonna judge). But the way I see it, it wasn’t straight up ugly.

There were a lot of beautiful things I witnessed, like women rising – finding sisterhood and remembering their power, embracing it and actually using it to make a difference. I also saw a vast number of people coming back to their values on what matters to them and persevering in creating the community they believe in. With the rise in people highlighting differences, there is also equal number of people rising with their beliefs that we are all the same humans and that we’re brethren in this life. These are things that matter that we should continue to hold in years to come.

As humans, we always have choices on how we react to grim situations. I personally choose to hold my faith in all things good and positive cause I believe in the good of people.

I like to see myself as being a part of Dumbledore’s Army – yes, like in Harry Potter. Remember when Voldermort came back and the whole world was invested with Dementors and it was just bleak, and there was a group of young wizards made up of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and eventually joined by all the other awesome wizards, believing in the good, staying and fighting? Yep, I like to see myself as a part of that group, staying strong in my faith, cause I believe that love eventually wins and someone eventually slays Voldermort.

I can’t levitate things or turn back the time. My power is spreading the seeds of peace and love. We can’t change what happened today. The past is in the past, but what happened today highlights the importance of holding kindness, solidarity, peace and love as our values. We can make a difference by sharing these values with the next generation – that we are standing here today, a part of one united Earth and that peace begins with me and can spread from myself to the next person, and that is how we’re going to change this world.

In the wise words of Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”

Wherever you are in your life, whatever emotions you’re feeling, whether caused by personal matter or political matter, you can always find that light and turn it on. It might take a while to shine, it might start only as a tiny glimmer of yellow spark, but it will continue to grow to be your guiding light. And we’re called now to be these lights that will help others in making sense of the chaos and finding ourselves in this mad world.

And to close, I’d like to borrow the words of Zachary Quinto (my favorite Spock – yes I have no shame in admitting this) as he lighted candles surrounded by crystals earlier today:

“as the narrowest hope dwindles – a vigil to our strength. we will need it more than ever. may those of us in mourning find space for compassion. in these depths we must not harden our hearts. with courage and openness we must endure.”

May we continue to live long and prosper,


What Gives Us Our Names

WhatgivesusournamesOnce in a while I find a book that I fall deeply in love with and I would hold it dearly and read it over and over and let the words wrap me and lift my heart.

This is one of them.

It came in a mail from a dear friend in Singapore. I probably have seen it multiple times in BooksActually, but had never picked it up. So I’m extremely thankful that I received this beautiful gift.

Pang took human’s most common emotions and life traits and projected them into the people that we meet on the street, people we know, and ourselves. Through these stories, I saw myself, my relationships, my old friend Passion, my elusive friend Purpose, and was reminded of Success and Failure.

A beautiful simple book with bite-sized, yet very impactful, stories.

I’ve been recommending it to my friends and now I’m recommending it to you.

It’s only $10, and if you buy this, you’ll be supporting local talent of Singapore, and a beautiful Singapore publishing house, and also a very very awesome Singapore’s very-loved indie bookshop. And plus, you’ll be supporting literary art.

So when you get a chance, do read it. (For those in Singapore) Also available from the BooksActually vending machines at the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Visitor Centre, and Goodman Arts Centre. [I can’t wait to buy a book from one of these vending machines!]

And to end, here’s a short passage from the book.

“No one really knows where Courage came from or who his parents were. In his youth, he was considered a hero, and many things, good and evil, have been done in his name. But he prefers to be remembered for his garden – where even the tiniest seeds brave the wind and rain, he says, because it is their nature to grow or die.

I once asked Courage what he was afraid of. He joked that he lived every day in fear that it would be his last. And then as I turned to go, he whispered to me what he truly feared above all else: that things would remain only as they are.”

I can write!

Hey You

We all have fears and sometimes we have to face that fear so we can move forward. Recently, I had to face my fear of writing. In particular, writing in the narrative style.

I tend to be insecure when it comes to language, especially English. Firstly, cause I’m generally better at numbers and logic. Secondly, cause it’s my second language and my brain gets confused by all the rules, grammar and sentence structures that are completely different form my mother tongue.

Many people had told me that I can write. A part of me believed them but a large part didn’t cause my mind liked to block their affirmations and created its own story: I can’t write.

Oh but I love language. I love reading and being taken to far far away lands through strings of beautiful words. I love being inspired by the stories and I too want to share my own stories and inspire others.

This desire to share my own stories had gotten more serious this year. This led to setting up this letter series and my blog as avenues to practice.

About a week ago, I was clearing my emails while getting lost in my own thoughts thinking that I want to write a book but I don’t know where to start. The next email I opened had a link to a travel writing scholarship from World Nomads. The winner gets to be mentored by a Lonely Planet author, on top of getting a 10-day trip to Australia. I couldn’t believe the opportunity in front of my eyes. Someone up there heard me and that was my chance to learn! So I started writing the required essay.

Oh, it was HARD.

I wrote many drafts and got feedback from two good friends. They both said I just have to be myself and let my voice be heard through my essay.

By this time I was in my own pity hole and was chanting “I suck I suck I suck.”
I went nuts. What the hell is my voice? Who am I? How do I show myself through my writingCan you tell me what is my voice? Cause I for sure don’t know how I sound on paper!

Ah, meltdowns – Universe way of shaking us so we can find ourselves.

After a break, I took a deep breath and looked at what I wrote. My friend told me to not worry about my voice and to just focus on what I want the readers to get. I changed one sentence at a time to paint the picture I want them to see, so that they feel like they were there with me on my journey.

One breath at a time. One sentence at a time. And with each breath, all stress and anxiety disappeared and I finished my essay and actually liked it too!

Finishing the essay was amazing. But my biggest triumph was changing the voice in my mind that said “I can’t write” to “I CAN write”. In the process of writing this essay, I learned that I was scared of writing cause I was afraid of being judged. I was afraid that if my writing is crappy, people would think that I am crappy. I was also afraid to be judged by the content that I’m writing. I cared too much of what people think to the point that it limited my belief on what I can do.

THAT, my friend, is my biggest lesson in this lifetime. I have learned, and am continuously learning to not worry so much about what others think. My value doesn’t come from others, my value comes from myself.

I submitted my essay yesterday and It felt good. I may not win the scholarship, but I have won in changing my own limiting belief.

So, You, fear sucks. But don’t let it ever stop you from doing what you want to do. The world is too big for us to live in fear.

Be courageous and shine.


PS: You can read my essay in the previous post or just click here!

Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly

I’ve been reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. If you don’t know who is Brené Brown, she is the one known as the Vulnerability lady cause her TED talk on Vulnerability is so good it went viral. If you haven’t watched it, I encouraged you to watch it here.

This book is a continuation of the talk. So it discusses the findings she had discovered from her research on shame, vulnerability, and how to live a wholehearted life. There are lots of great nuggets in there. But to me, it does feel like reading someone’s PhD’s findings. Still easy to read, but it has that feel.

Anyway, I’m still going through the book. But I’d like to share this quote, which I feel, sadly, reflects the truth of the people in the society today:

Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.

I’d like to create an environment where people would feel comfortable sharing their true vulnerable selves. Cause true connection happens only when we share that.

If you want a little taste of this book but doesn’t want to read it, you can also watch Brené Brown’s second TED presentation here. Enjoy!