The flow of time

Hello there,

What are you currently sitting with, as we officially propel into the second half of 2020? I write to you with pieces of insight and lessons that drifted in and out of my consciousness like those haphazard rain clouds over the past three months. Pop them like Hershey’s kisses or melt them all in a pot over low fire, simmering into smooth, velvety goodness. 

The General Elections (GE) in Singapore recently concluded, undeniably, with a significant shift. You might observe different shifts, depending on the party you support or your political inclinations. I particularly enjoyed the rise in citizen participation in this GE. I appreciated the thought and effort put into many of the reviews, analyses and opinions raised by common folk, enriching the pool of collective consciousness. There were opportunities to witness the changes that some of us were ready to accept and issues that made others extremely uncomfortable. It was just about a decade ago that we lamented, mocked, ridiculed at Singaporeans’ political apathy. Knowing that 95.81% of eligible voters turned up for the elections somehow brought spring showers in my heart, as if signifying a new season dawning on our country. This spring shower carried a sachet of courage to hope. A budding hope that we move collectively out of the cold winter of political disinterest, into the spring of an active manifesting of our ideas of ‘Home’. How we shape the political landscape with our votes and our voices, and how we become the steward of our lives, our communities are deeply intertwined. The personal is political.

If Time is the power that allows rivers to change the shapes of rocks (and our political landscape), then we are right now holding the flow of Time in our hands, witnessing the momentous change that people read about in history textbooks. 

To hold the flow of Time is to pause, give witness to what is unfolding, notice the stirrings, resistance, ease and discomfort. To hold the flow of Time is to balance the shifting gaze between the past, present and the future. Imagine dancing with Time as we inquire lessons from our past selves and imagine possibilities that we want to gift our future people: three steps back, two steps forward, cha cha cha

We live in a world of ceaseless unfolding and becoming. When we linearly experience time, it’s easy to get stuck on the past in loops or fixated on chasing a particular future that never seems to materialise. In our stuck-ness, doing turns into an obsession. The doing is symbolic of the chase. More, more, more! Days after the announcement of phase 2 in Singapore, I began noticing my body’s initial resistance as life hustling started its groove once more. Loaded with a (self-limiting) belief that I needed to hustle 10x more to compensate for the losses that happened during Circuit Breaker, I chased my tail. I woke up fatigued. I lost my mental clarity and easeful spirit. 

In my stuckness, I fell into nitpicking shortcomings and mistakes with “not good enough”. I drew and redrew work plans with a nagging “is this good enough to make up for lost work” narrative in my head. I piled on more and more. 

Then, my vivid nightmares started. I woke up, every other night, with a gripping a sense of fear. A fear that had no name, shape, nor outline, but its power so strong, I felt as if whatever chased me in my dream followed me into this plane of consciousness. Something was watching me in the darkness, at a corner. 

Out of curiosity, I approached a dear friend Leigh Khoo for support, and she agreed to guide a session of past life regression therapy for me. The session is a story for another time, but I experienced a deep release that day. There were no words to describe it except that my mind-body felt it immediately. I saw the unnecessary weight I was carrying, the notion of “not a good enough freelancer”. I decided to shed my work, more critically, the need to prove myself through my work, as my principal identity. What a hard practice in this season! I chose instead, to surrender to the natural flow of life. After that session, my sleep resumed her natural rhythm and those nightmares vanished.

For some of us, perfection is a lifetime pursuit seeded in our childhood by someone else. We forget that life, like Singapore’s political growth, is a piece of work-in-progress made up of numerous smaller pieces of work-in-progress. What exactly is enough when the river of life keeps on flowing?

There is no ‘enough’ in the law of Nature. It just is. 

In moments when we trip over ourselves or in our relationships,  I would like to invite you to pause, and consider instead:

  • What are the significant internal shifts I am noticing in myself that might be key to my growth?
  • What is the story I am telling about myself when I react this way?
  • Is there a declaration I want to own now with my voice for my future self to hear? 
  • What or who do I need to let go, or draw clear boundaries with, and why?
  • Is there an uncomfortable sensation I want to explore that might help me understand my past self? 
  • Is there an insight or lesson hidden beneath my action or inaction, awaiting discovery?

We nurture what we pay attention to.


Keep well x

I am leading a series of Kids Yoga Holiday Camps at HOM Yoga for the rest of 2020! We welcome all kids 5 – 9 years old. This Kids Yoga Camp is grounded in yoga philosophy, themed using nature’s elements and complemented by other modalities such as song and dance, art journaling, social-emotional learning and storytelling. Join us for an inward journey into the mind-body connection, illuminating the practice of courage, compassion, self-awareness, joy, strength, community and possibilities. 

Over the past few weeks, I explored holding the flow of time in our hands with kids in my kids’ yoga classes. We journeyed to our internal volcanos and rivers. These children reflected on their anger and worries, what and who caused their inner lava to rise. They practised and committed to releasing the anger and worries through breath, movement and art. Here are some pieces from students at Hopscotch Student Care. Can you tell the challenges our younger generation is facing these days?