Monthly Archives: August 2012

I did. I’ve done. I was here.

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Beyonce performed “I was here” at the United Nations World Humanitarian Day, and let me tell you, this is one of those rare songs that gave me the chills AND made me tear at the same time. Click on the play button and you’ll see what I mean.

The song has since received 4 million hits, and it was put on Youtube a mere 10 days ago. It reminded me of the very simple fact that every one of us has the ability to create change, be the change and contribute towards a better world. Even in the smallest gesture.

But more importantly, and oddly enough, this song brought forth all the things that I forgotten from my early 20s. The desperate wanting of achieving something important, doing something remarkable and meaningful, and the yearning to have a direct association with the United Nations as my employer. Yes, almost everybody who is involved in the international development and non-profit work knows the breadth of influence United Nations has these days is questionable. Gone were the days when Kofi Annan would deliver a convincing speech, and developed nations would willingly join forces towards peace. Heck, even Kofi Annan can’t seem to stop the Syrian conflict these days. Ask the general bystander if they know who Ban Ki Moon might be, and a blank look will follow suit.

Still, you cannot deny the awesome feeling that entails (or maybe it’s just me, nevermind, let’s just pretend you know that awesome feeling I’m talking about) when you answer that all too familiar small talk question – “Where do you work?” or “What do you do for a living?” with “I’m a programme officer for [insert any one of the UN bodies here]”

I remembered a time when my attempts to get one foot into the UN door kept failing. And a heart-to-heart conversation with one of my mentors made me realise that getting into the UN was the ultimate for me. Sure it was a goal, but it should never be viewed as a Point B, the be all and end all of everything else. So what if you are not in United Nations, or you don’t work in the office that manage Global Fund and Bono is on your speed dial? That does not mean you can’t make the life of a single mother in your town happy by dropping in for a chat, or the child esteem a little better by helping him/her with their homework.

S, my lovely boss and mentor who cried and sobbed through her farewell speech for me when I left 2 years ago once told me “It is how you feel about yourself on your deathbed that matters. Before you leave this world, you want to feel like you have given your everything to have a life that you are proud of leaving behind”

I was here,
I lived, I loved
I was here,
I did, I’ve done everything that I wanted

Nevermind that you have had heart breaks, disappointment, and a lot of people saying “No” to you. You might not be helping to provide clean sanitary drinking water to the children in India today, but that does not mean that you will not ever do so in this lifetime.  Nevermind the tears and the frustration that sometimes follow a burning ambition that is not quite met. It does not mean that it will never be met. The very fact that you are here today, right here, right now, allows you the power to do something about it. To do everything that you have ever wanted, and to do it with all your heart.

 

Back to good

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In the last 1-2 years, I have been experimenting simplifying my skincare routine partly in an effort to save my hard earned moolah, and cut short my morning routine before heading to work, but as well for the long term effects that will eventually show up on me. I remembered as a little girl, my grandmother used to tell me and my cousin to avoid using cosmetics as much as possible. Her only long standing, if only singular item that dominated her dressing table at that time was this traditional compact rice powder with an image of a chinese lady in front of it. Interestingly enough, I associated the image and the smell of it to my grandmother ever since. Today she is a healthy 70 something, and I believe she looks easily 10 years younger.

Of course at that time I didn’t really listened, and began my long term relationship with this thing called ‘makeup & cosmetics’ at the tender age of 13. And so began my dabbling with an array of items that would make any departmental store proud. Cleansers, toners, moisturizers (oh that famous Clinique 3 step gimmick), foundation, mascaras and eyeshadows.

It was only sometime in 2005 onwards when I became conscious over food, herbs and other ‘hippie’ stuff as they call it, that got me to be aware that it is not just about what you put into your body, but what you put on to it as well. A series of event including my favorite aunt who passed away in 2007 from her 10 year long battle with breast cancer, and the day my dad brought home an article which lead me to this book and the real awareness that cancer, and all things nasty is not solely a result of bad luck or your DNA gone wrong, but a culmination of choices we make throughout life that eventually contribute to it.

Giant cosmetics industries add a lot of synthetic ingredients in to what will eventually be the very thing you schlapp on to your skin religiously every morning and night. Sulfates and parabens are amongst the top two in almost everything that you find in your standard household and bathroom items. Sulfates and parabens are also top ingredients linked to a range of skin allergies and quite possibly dare I say, to cancer as well.

Obviously this is not to create a sense of paranoia and send you straight to your dressing table for a huge dumping rampage of everything synthetic. The point here is awareness. To be aware of everything that you choose to buy, to eat, and to nourish your body and skin both internally and externally. Through my own observation, and blog-stalking some great natural advocates (Kevin Gianni, David Wolfe, the ladies at Crunchy Betty and High on Health), I began to realise, the less you put on your face, the more it will benefit you as you age and trick people into thinking you are easily a decade younger than you really are.

And so in my quest to simplify my skincare routine, and the very reason why I am writing this today, is to rave and praise of this simple ingredient which we call – Jojoba Oil.

I had picked up my second bottle of organic jojoba oil last weekend. One of my colleague, AC accompanied me down to the organic store which I am obsessed with every time I get a chance to return to our head office. She was standing behind me while I eyed the glass cabinet for the item I was looking for so that I could point it to the sales lady and have her whip out her magic set of keys to retrieve it. (Which makes me wonder to some point, maybe stealing organic oil is quite high on the theft list these days..)

AC, who is a couple of years younger than me, and sweet as can be looked curiously into the glass cabinet. “Ohh! So that’s what you called Jo-Jo-Ba oil!”

I looked at her, shocked to silence that she just said that out loud while she proceeded to giggle and said “I’m kidding lah, of course it know it’s Ho-Ho-Ba oil” – with extra emphasis on the final two words in her sentence.

So what is a bottle of jojoba oil good for?

If you do a simple google search on this oil, you will pretty much be able to see its multitude of uses for the skin. This is because, jojoba is one of the rare oils that is able to mimic the exact composition of a human sebum. Which means, a couple of drops of these, straight or mixed with essential oils, make a treat as a moisturizer. Because it is so similar in composition, your body recognizes it as its own, and so play a hand in regulating sebum production on your face. Dry skin will be sufficiently moisturized and oily skin, regulated. Magic isn’t it?

Because skin is also the largest, external organ on a human body this applies to your scalp too. I make a blend of a couple tbsp of jojoba oil, 2 drops of rosemary essential oil and 2 drops of lavender essential oil and keep it aside as a hair and scalp moisturizer. Obviously, sparingly is the key word here unless you want to end up looking like an extra from the Grease play.

All of these can sound like a whole lot of effort and you might wonder why? For the simple reasons of knowing exactly what you are putting onto your skin will be absorbed by your body safely. And while you are doing good for yourself, you are also doing Mother Nature a bit of favor by refusing to contribute to the collection of pollution in the air and waterway caused by these synthetic nasties. Good enough of a reason to put in that little bit of extra effort don’t you think?

5 weeks and counting down

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5 more weeks to my yoga teacher training retreat! In about a month or so, I will be making my way to Koh Samui, Thailand to attend a 1 month long 200hr Yoga Alliance Teacher Training Certification. And this will hopefully be what I see every morning when I wake up:

Looking at the tentative daily schedule though, I am not sure if it will be at all like a retreat or more like a bootcamp. Yoga bootcamp. I read some of the blogs from those who had attended the earlier session this year, and most talked about the pain and the soreness they felt. Judging by that, I would most probably be blogging about how I crawled my way back to my room after practice every single day. Haha!

Speaking of blogging, yeap you read that right. I will be writing about my experience on my 4 weeks journey through stretching, breathing, bending, and hopefully not collapsing of exhaustion towards attaining my certification.

What made me decide on the teaching certification?

More than anything else, I wanted to deepen my practice. To learn other facet of yoga than what I have already been exposed to in the last handful number of years. I also realised I liked the feeling of teaching. Of being in front of a group of strangers and helping them realise a better way towards healthier living (sorry McDonalds!). Or in the least, to give some tools to aid them towards attaining a healthier, more comfortable lifestyle. There a few goals I wish to achieve in my one month there, but I would happy if I could achieve just one – to be able to place my palm flat on the floor on the standing forward bend, and to kiss my knees on a sitting forward bend.

*Cue to laugh*

Some work colleagues and clients have asked me recently if consulting is what I want to do long term. My answer has always been consistently “No”. And when they asked “So, what do you want to do in the long term?”. And that is pretty simple isn’t it? To open my own yoga studio and have a healthy encouraging turn up for each and every of my classes. 🙂