It’s been a while! I find it hard to believe that we are easing towards the end of 2021, a year of strange upheavals in Singapore as we grapple with the ripples of COVID-19. Since my last update in spring, I spent much of my summer and autumn manifesting my own nest, a home studio that I can now proudly call my own. I’d love to introduce Studio SOMAYOKE to you when he’s ready.
Many beautiful collaborations happened over the last few months too. One of the collaborations that brought so much joy and learning was the Learning in Community: A Deeper Look into Trauma series. This community series was birthed out of a deep love and respect for the “Wisdom of Trauma” movie that featured Gabor Mate’s work. Inspired by the movie as well as the talks that Gabor Mate had with other trauma specialists, I created this community series out of one curiosity: how does trauma show up here in Singapore?
Part of my joy was the fact that I hosted this series with my partner, Basil, whose life experiences, stories, thoughts, and articulation on religion, race, and spirituality fascinate me every day. It is a rare occurrence to find someone whose presence feels effortless with yourself, and our synchronicity as co-hosts felt seamless. I am deeply grateful for this partnership, as well as the responses, engagement, and participation we received from the folks who showed up for the sessions. The idea originated as a watch party, and we never anticipated it to become something so big — much bigger than each of us, much bigger than the connection established within and amongst the participants. Perhaps that’s the power of healing together.
November began with news of heavy rain and lowered temperatures in Singapore. We may not have the privilege of witnessing distinct seasonal changes here, but if we look close enough, if we take time to attune to the subtle changes in our surroundings, we’d find the signs of change.
Wintering may seem and feel like a foreign concept to us, something that only travel can offer, but wintering has always been an opportunity Nature offers to rest, reset, and repair after seasons of energetic working, creating, blooming, and harvesting are over.
All life needs rest and incubation. All of life needs time below the surface where it can breathe itself full and round, where it can reconnect with its nature. Just as you cannot force flowers to continually bloom, the same is true for human life. We must learn to remember, from time to time, to be like the tree, in winter.
There comes a necessary time where one must journey into their inner well of wealth. If we keep too busy, we forget to listen to the stirrings within, and we forget our purpose. In the natural order of things, seasons change, we birth new life, then quietly, returns back to sleep.”
Learning to Honour our Rhythms and Cycles, Sarah Blondin
Here are four wintering practices that I started since my backpacking days in 2018. These practices were especially restorative in the mountains, and I believe they can be just as nourishing in the city if we bring our full presence and attention to them.
Practice 1: Journalling and Reflection
A few weeks ago the hopscotch kiddos reflected on the theme of “harvest” in one of their yoga classes. They were invited to reflect on 3 things they harvested from July to October. It could be something that they were proud of themselves for learning, practising or trying, it could also be relationships that they were grateful for.
What are your harvests? You are welcome to set the time period to what feels useful for you: the past month, the past 3 months, or the past year. Feel free to use words, doodles, shapes, colours and/or art to journal — let there be no limit to the ways you enjoy expressing yourself.
Practice 2: 15 to 30 minutes of earthing, shoes off!
I’ve grown to really enjoy the practice of grounding my bare feet on Mother Earth. I’d indulge in morning strolls to this particular patch of grass outside my flat located by the overhead bridge, take off my shoes, and feel that cool sensations of the earth and grass massaging my feet. There’s this calming and wakeful effect after that feels almost magical and too good to be true. And it’s absolutely free! If you like to learn more about the benefits of earthing, watch this fascinating documentary.
Complemented with a mindfulness practice, a bringing of attention to notice the different sensations on our feet — soft earth, hard soil, smooth textures of the grass, crunchy leaves and prickly branches — this practice transforms into a delightful bowl of deliciousness for our senses.
This practice doesn’t have to be fancy. Go out, go downstairs, go to a nearby park, or the park connector, find a patch of grass that looks inviting and try it!
Practice 3: Make a warm drink just for yourself
Pull yourself away from your busy schedule, from the screens, from your work, from your productivity, and make yourself a nice, warm cuppa something to soothe those tensed up nerves. Slow it down just for that few minutes of making and enjoying that warm cuppa something — milo, coffee, chai, anything that rocks your boat. Take in the scents, soak in the warmth, savour those tiny sips. It’s the perfect companion for the rainy days ahead. I’m learning to make golden milk these days. It’s a cup full of creamy goodness and the turmeric works well to bring my inflammations down.
Practice 4: Read something that nourishes your heart
This practice invites us to return to a reading experience that is more analog. We engage in so much digital reading these days; we are always reading something online, including what you are doing now with this blogletter! For this practice, I invite you to return to something more analog. Pick out a book at the library, a bookstore or a thrift store. Go with a topic that you know you’d enjoy. Take time to hold the book, touch the edges, feel into the textures of the pages.