Book 1 of 24: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Book 1 of 24 of A Year of Books: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Read: January 2018.

I love long haul business flights. Being alone forces me to spend time with myself without much disturbance. In the plane I am suspended in the air, disconnected, in a state of being neither here nor there. Silence (or at least something like it) is a luxury. Of course travel is a luxury as well – but that’s a different story.

In this specific flight, I was en route to Amsterdam. My first trip for the year. The perfect time and place to be still and think about “matters of no consequence” – if I may borrow the words of The Little Prince. Like, maybe, happiness. What does it even mean? And why does it continue to be elusive despite “success” or privilege? And what about success? What does it mean? Will their definitions be any different if we strip away what everybody else thinks? I have a barrage of other questions, but I’m afraid to go too deep too soon.

I started reading my first book for the year in that flight – A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. A book which I have already read before, but did not have any meaning the first time. I am not fond of reading books a second time, but that has changed now, partly because of this. Reading a book again with a new framework or with a completely different state of mind changes everything about a book. Come to think of it, it changes everything about everything.  Continue reading “Book 1 of 24: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle”

My Life Goals Template

At the end of every work year, we usually have an annual review – mostly to answer questions such as: Did we meet our goals? What went well? What didn’t? It’s basic, but answering these simple questions helps a lot in setting the direction for the coming year.

So I wondered, why am I not doing this for my life? Then I discovered Chris Guillebeau, who conducted personal Annual Reviews for his life for the last ten years. I’ve actually tried it once before – but it was far too detailed that I didn’t follow through. This year, I’ve made another version, this time around not diving too deep, and mostly ripping off Chris’ format and making it my own. 

This is the template that I came up with: My Life Goals Template. Take note that this is just a template – not my actual goals. I think I’ll have to keep those for myself! But I have listed some examples in case you get mind blocked.

Here is my process, explained in detail.
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This Pain, It Feels So Good

I have forgotten this feeling. It has been so long.

When you’re doing something so challenging you feel like you’re gonna die, you’re gonna die, you’re absolutely gonna die. But then you keep saying in your mind that you will see it through, and you keep pushing, and you keep doing it anyway. And you survive. And then you do it again the next day.

It’s painful, and absolutely wonderful.

For You, this 2018: Be Bold As F*ck

Are you a journey or a destination kind of person? I used to ask that question a lot, until I realized they’re one and the same. The destination is the journey is the destination. Everytime I reach a goal or a certain level of success in any aspect of life, there’s always a next level I’d like to attain. Sometimes I desire something else entirely. Everytime I think I’ve found myself, the only thing I find is that I’m lost yet again.

Such is life, I realize. In my 20’s, I attribute the feeling of being lost as part of a crisis. And then I wondered why it was labeled “quarter life crisis” when I experience it every year. It turns out, some people never get found. Or maybe, nobody really ever gets found – but I can’t speak on behalf of the majority.

These days I just embrace it. I embrace my Now, which is, for better or for worse, in a constant state of transition. I get to the next destination with the expectation of getting lost again, and a desire to explore further and reach greater heights. Otherwise, what else is there to do?

 

That being said, here’s my wish for the coming year:

Dear You,

This year, I wish that you get yourself lost and embrace it. Experience all the Now’s – whether you’re making waves, or riding them, or stumbling over. And as there’s no getting lost without a certain amount of boldness, may you be bold as f*ck. And brave. And mad. Sometimes the limits are all in your mind.

Happy New Year. 

BBAF*!

Never Lose Your Childlike Wonder

On Instagram, you post a photo of yourself with closed eyes, arms spread wide, hair blown by the wind, in your cute adventure outfit. In this photo, you are probably at the beach, or at the top of the mountain, or in a new city in another part of the world. The caption says something in the lines of “Never lose your childlike wonder”.

It is a five-day long weekend for everyone in the city. In other days, that could have also been me. But this time I decide to stay at home in the suburbs through (almost) all those days, without any plans. In this era of filled calendars, that is an awful long time with barely anything setup. Life as an adult is a collection of lists of things that must be done – things to do, errands to run, muscles to gain, inboxes to empty, eyebrows to pluck, children to run after, money to earn, occasions to attend, places to go. But this weekend is mine. I am free to be bored, to stare at the ceiling, let my thoughts wander, read a good book, or play with the dogs all morning and afternoon.

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Life in Pie Graphs

The other day a friend spoke about someone who is dying, literally – someone who is counting down his days because of a certain illness. And the first thing that came to my mind was: Aren’t we all? The only difference between us and the person who was told she only has a few days or weeks or months left to live is that we don’t know what number to start counting down from. If you think about it, the sands of time are dripping down the hour glass. Our hour glass. Every hour, every minute, every second is our life.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve thought about playing around with graphs of life using spreadsheets. I figured that if we’re using them so much in our work and business to visualize our status, progress, or certain data, then perhaps we can also apply them to visualize our own lives.

In this series of pie graphs, I’ve graph-ified something quite simple: the years of life I have lived versus the years of life I (may or may not) have remaining. Obviously, all are but guesstimates. Nevertheless, it might be worth pondering.

What is your target life span?

I’m currently 30 years old, and I plan to live to at least 100. Based on that plan, I would have lived 30% of my life. This pie makes it look like I still have a lot of time to pursue my dreams and tick off boxes in my bucket list (though I don’t really have one).

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No Sweets for 30 Days: Recalibrating the Palate

I started doing 30 day challenges in 2014. For me, it was just a game. I wanted to see how much discipline I can enforce upon myself either by detoxifying from something I have become addicted to (ex. social media) or adding a habit to my daily routine (ex. journal writing). When it comes to food, I’ve explored 30 days with no rice, no alcohol, no junk, no sweets – but all at different times. In an ideal world, we should just stop eating all of those at the same time, forever and ever. But different people have different methods of shaping their lifestyles. I have found, accidentally, that, this one works for me.

When I cut up a big challenge into smaller challenges, it becomes easier to swallow. So easy that it is inexcusable for me not to do it. I set myself up to gain a streak of small successes every day, which encourages me to tread on towards the end. Continue reading “No Sweets for 30 Days: Recalibrating the Palate”