Celebrations

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My oil pastel drawing I did years ago from an illustration out of the children’s book the Red Tree by Shaun Tan.

This is going to be a celebration to the amount of food I just ate at 11 o clock in the evening that is going to keep me up tonight. This girl ate two eggs, a bowl of rice, a choc-mint bliss ball and an apple all in one sitting. (It may not seem much to you, but I feel how much it is to me).

I am sick of putting rules on myself and punishing myself with negative thoughts and guilt when I don’t obey them. I am sick of feeling sick after a large meal. I am sick of not eating past 8 or 9. I am sick of feeling guilty from eating when I’m not necessarily hungry. I am sick of fearing gluten, bread, refined carbs, sweets in all forms including fruit.

Food has been a blessing for me as it has helped give me amazing energy, strong immunity and expressed my creativity. However when did it start molding into an untrustworthy entity that I now have so much resistance towards and place fear and anxiety around?

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This girl

ShinjukuIts been a while, hello.

This girl has grown.

This girl has shed many layers.

This girl thinks deep.

Often too deep.

And although she goes inward regularly where safety, calm and comfort is found, she finds the more she does so, the more distant she feels to others.

She takes things really seriously,

She is goal oriented,

Always trying to find something to work on,

She seeks freedom, peace and acceptance with herself. But the more she travels along this path, the more she realizes there is no final destination.

It seems to curve, there is no end.

She would like to think less, spend her days with no structure, do something spontaneous with no outcome, but fears this will disconnect her from her intuition, waste time, make her lose sight from her goals and  inspiration will leave her.

There is a knowing that everything will be okay.

But she holds on, because she doesn’t want to lose herself, like she did before.

 

We already have everything we need

John Forrest Walk HIkeDo you find that you search so far and wide for answers, for the truth, you read so many books, consult so many people, you spend a lot of money to try and fix yourself, heal yourself, to find the solution to the thing that you think will complete you,  will finally make you happy, all to avoid being still with yourself, for just one moment. Because when we do, when we look inward, we find the answer, we already know the answer, to our issue, to our problem, to our health condition.

Yet we avoid doing that.

We are afraid of the truth, afraid of what comes up for us, afraid of confronting our fears so we take the long route instead, the one with the detours. All to avoid being with the truth. So we attempt to handle it a different way.

I know the answer to my PCOS (Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome), my persistent acne, my compulsive eating habits. It stemmed at a young age from being constantly praised as the smartest girl in the class, from being taught that academic performance equates to your worth. And when I wasn’t the best, I would feel unworthy, undervalued. And so I pushed myself, filled my days up with a lot of tasks, made sure my days were productive otherwise I wouldn’t think I was smart enough, good enough.

What comes with that? A physically and mentally exhausted mind and body- restlessness, anxiousness, over-thinking and being constantly in stress-mode. And following that, it has manifested into an irregular menstrual cycle, acne, high cortisol levels, digestive issues, worn out adrenals and constant craving for sugar and food.

I know what the remedy to my health condition is. It’s for me to un- write the definition of what I believed determined my worth for all these years, to define it in a different way, one that is sourced internally and to S L O W  D O W N, to not place so much pressure and high expectations on myself. For that is where true healing can begin.

I hope you all find courage to be with the truth and may it bring unimaginable healing to you.

Cherie

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I want to recount a beautiful memory before I forget. This memory is one I consider to make a real imprint to my identity. This memory came up today, and given that I’ve been in a whirlwind of anxiety and overwhelm, I am so glad to spend my time in the memory of it- to relive it in my mind and feel the energy that was around that time.

It was a time of innocence, when I knew what I liked and just did more of it, a time when I was just being me, being Cherie. It was also most likely to be the source where I developed my passion in food and cooking. In grade 7 being the age of 12, every Friday afternoon, I looked forward to coming home and watching various cooking series that aired one after another. Whilst other children played with their friends, played video games, I was attracted to watching others cook, assemble food and talk about it. I would watch everything from The Cook and the Chef, Food Safari, Jamie Oliver, Ready Steady Cook, the Good Chef Bad Chef and others.

I grew up in a Vietnamese household, in an old house to which I still live in to this day, where mum was the one who would cook for our family. She would come home, exhausted from working all day, drained from worrying about my father’s misuse of finances and make my two younger sisters, my dad and I dinner. Even as a child, I could taste all her energy she transferred into our food. Hence our meals often lacked balance, were bland and dry. (I love my mum, she did the best she could). Before dinner, I would lie on the couch and watch my cooking shows. I knew exactly what shows came after the other. One show in particular, the last show, was my favourite. Even though I did not initially like the host, to be honest she reminded me of a child-fable witch as she had a pointy noise, really heavy, curly, brown hair and spoke in a real up tight English accent,  I enjoyed watching her the most. She lived in the country side somewhere in England, she got her produce from her expansive garden, her eggs from her chickens, her meat from her local butchers, made ice cream with lavender she picked just outside her house. Her kitchen was of sandstone, filled with black traditional kitchen appliances and cookware. And even though she carried on as if she knew everything, (even her husband was this pasty passive-looking man with glasses), for the times when she smiled and I saw kindness, she grew on me and I came to realize just how talented, creative and authentic she was. She cooked with grace, she made use of her surroundings, the Earth and conjured up amazing, warm, delicious food that you would look forward to coming home to. (Maybe she really was a witch). She would always make two savory dishes and a dessert. And it was so satisfying seeing her cook, pace about the kitchen, roll out the pastry, whisk up the eggs and heat up the oven. How I loved every minute of my cooking shows. I remember, during that time, the sun would seep through our front door as day was to turn to night, mum would be in the kitchen cooking, our wind-chimes would be twirling and the first few breezes of the early evening wind would make its way throughout the house. And there I was, this skinny, little Asian girl, in her yellow and blue uniform, plopped on the couch attentively watching her cooking shows, just basking in her usual Friday afternoon routine.

Now, every time I question myself, doubt my abilities, feel insecure, get anxious, I remind myself that I can always go back to this memory. Something I will cherish forever. As I describe this memory,  I feel calm, I feel warm, I feel safe, I feel like I’m home, I feel like me.

I hope you all enjoy this read and that you too have memories that define who you truly are.

Assumptions

I remember the anxiety days just before my company trip. There was literally nothing to worry about. I was being a baby, I was being close minded. We were literally getting paid to eat, to play, to sleep. All delivered with the best of comfort and luxuries. Anxiety came about from the fact that everything was out of my control. I assumed others would run my day, I would be constrained. I made assumptions. And these played around in my head, drained my energy and altered my mood. My thoughts were that- progress in my business would come to a halt, exercise would be non-existent  and I wouldn’t be able to be able to get access to ‘nutritious’ food.  I feared I would lose body tone, my skin would break out from the humidity, I will be tired every day from all the activities organised. All these thoughts, circling in my head days before my trip, having power over me.  My trip that was only for 5-days…

It came to my surprise, that my skin didn’t break out, in fact, my skin glowed, my hair shined and even though I would be eating 5 meals a day, of food I wouldn’t normally eat, and consumed a lot of alcohol, I didn’t gain weight, I didn’t feel drained, I wasn’t confined. Each day came with blessings. I developed lovely relationships, I got to sail across stunning oceans, lay on the deck to see all the shades of the sky, swam beautiful  beaches, got pampered, danced all night by the sea, tasted the most delicious local food. I got a glimpse of how you can live. I got a taste of it.

On the last morning around 4 am, pretty intoxicated from the party event of the night, I made my way to the beach one last time. And there, I remember, half-laying on the deck chair, I made a pact to the sky, to the universe, to the source that I could always confide to. The one source that truly sees who I am and everything that I am. And there, as tears swelled up, I thanked the universe for bringing me here, for all the events that got me to where I am now. I surrendered and I vowed that I will try my best to live each day guided by my intuition. And to open myself up to possibility, to others, to try, to taste and most importantly, have faith, for there is plenty more to come.

Sit with it

I’m just going to sit with my thoughts and feelings right now. The same ones that have been circling around me all day today. They are unpleasant. They are feelings of being unsatisfied, disappointed and aggravation towards self. This happens often when I expect things, yea, that word- Expectation. And I am fully aware that all these feelings and thoughts stem from the ego, the parasite, the ‘mitote’ as the Toltecs refer in Don Miguel Ruiz books (The Four Agreements, The Mastery Of Love). And the mind THRIVES on all these thoughts, these feelings of inadequacy and dis-satisfaction. That’s how the mind is kept alive (as Eckhart Tolle author of the Power of Now mentions). From afar, my life appears wonderful. I have multiple qualifications, I am the top performer in my workplace, I continue to promote my passion in health, I make sure I keep myself fit and healthy and I am always creating things, learning and developing myself. I am admired, I am adored (I say this in the most humble way). Yet, no matter what anyone says to me, I often see my faults, my weaknesses. I forget who I am, what I’ve accomplished and often spend my time and energy feeling anxious, wondering what’s my next move, uncertain and uneasy with the life I have ahead. And then I get mad at myself for having these thoughts in the first place. When will I ever be satisfied?

pita

I’ve stopped being ‘busy being busy’. I am using my time more efficiently and making real progress with my work. My morning routine now consists of a Robin Sharma video first thing, followed by a run and bullet journaling. Sharma says the biggest asset in any business now days is focus. Given that we are living in a world of total distraction, the ability to do so is so rare in a company now days as everyone seems to be glued to their phones, iPads, spending their most productive and valuable times in entertainment. And with this, confinement is necessary. Sharma is right, it gets lonely. When you rather talk about opportunities instead of victimisation, successes instead of failures, your social circle gets smaller. You realise who your real friends are. Lately, my dreams have been wacky and sleep is less. I’ve been consuming more food, my period is non- existent and I feel dry to my bones. I feel like I have so much heat in my body, so much fire. It is as if it correlates to the productiveness of my days. And so I’ve been looking into Ayurveda to help balance the ‘pita’ within me. They say meditation helps, nature helps. I can do the latter but I have yet to settle the mind as fire does not look like it will be contained anytime soon.