(View of the Singapore city skyline of the CBD area, from Ku De Ta Singapore, Marina Bay Sands)
LIFE had definitely got in the way. Weeks are running, how few weeks do we have left of 2014?
To each his own, and with each day we discover more of who we are. As we grow, we become braver to assert ourselves, for time is not on our side. How long are you going to stand on someone else’s grounds?
Late have I discovered a post from everydayisa.wordpress.com – on the Staying Philosophy where she quotes Donald Miller, from his book, Through Painted Deserts, Light, God and Beauty on the Open Road:
Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.
And like Isa, I agree that what we fear most, isn’t exactly losing people; it is rather, learning to able to live life without a particular person – whom represents a certain comfort and habit in our lives.
Having said that, I find myself on the flip side of things. The desire to leave. Leave – we all have to do so, one day, in one way or another. Leave, we NEED to. And this desire to leave, I mean departing from the norms I had once believed I needed to conform to/emulate.
It is okay to be different, and to desire different things, or even, to desire the same things, but differently.
“Why are you not____?” or “You possess (such and such a quality) but why are you not like (so and so)?” – Do you find yourself often being faced with such questions? I would have to Hi5 you on that.
While in my younger days, admittedly I believed that it was possible that there was something wrong about me, which was why I never seemed to follow the stencil that seemed to draw out the life paths of my peers. But the truth is, there is nothing wrong. But this self discovery and acceptance, while altogether liberating, leads on to a lonely and difficult path ahead. True friends will accept you, fair weathered friends might leave, and some might even despise you. And days can get painfully solitudinous – but take heart, for while it is a lonely path, it is not a path trekked alone.
And here is where I urge you to be brave, and to be compassionate towards yourself. And it will all be worth it.
To put it into an imagery, seabirds, while being birds, would be happy merely flying, but true happiness is flying out to the open sea – facing the crisp air and icy oceans, and not confined to the safe boundaries of lands, no matter how vast.
It is fine.
“By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
Held on as tightly as you held onto me,” – To Build a Home, The Cinematic Orchestra
SPENT many a day thinking how I would say this in the most articulate and precise way possible. About turning 25, and reflecting upon the events in life that have made me who I am – the learnings along the way; If ever this helps anyone struggling out there, I hope you do find a little peace of mind after reading this.
This is, an open letter you could say. Inspired by the ones who surround me, inspired too by stories I’ve learnt of, from those whose heart’s are/were heavy. I definitely don’t know it all, but this is what I do know. Let this be my letter to you. Here goes.
This was a highlight year for me. While i believe the significant year of everyone’s life will defer according to their socio-economic status and lifestyle, turning 25 is definitely mine. In the sense of what I’ve come to experience, in the sense of what I am able to do, and have learnt.
I thought 21 was significant – it possibly was, I thought then, that I understood it all. Heavily opinionated and stubborn. Very stubborn in fact. I got my forearm tattooed. I don’t regret doing it, cause it reminds me everyday, of something I hold as the core from which all my beliefs stem from – the fact that we as human, are mortal. My mortality accepted at 21.
Then I turned 22, and I thought I knew where my life was definitely going – graduate, work a few years, settle down, build a home. I was drunk on love, and I believe too, very very narrow sighted. I was afraid, but I didn’t know it. I was in a position of vulnerability, that my actions would directly affect another, and this other’s, me.
I was confused.
24, a painful birthday, and for months, facing sadness and loss in the face every single day.
In loss, though, I learn’t that I was a person who was afraid of change, I was a person who did not understand her own feelings, in spite of being a student of philosophy where analysis of language was at the core of dealing with the subject.
I learnt that, no matter how hard you try, you can never fully understand a person, much less a person who doesn’t fully understand him/herself.
I learnt that language is never always a shared concept.
I learnt that people will choose, otherwise.
It is often said, that one’s twenties are often the formative years of one’s life. And I would have to agree, no doubt.
Reflection is hard – it can be painful too. But I believe it to be necessary. In my short years of being a 20 something year old I have learnt, nothing is always set in stone and more importantly, the beauty of it. That while it is instinctual to resist change, change is here to stay. We can choose to be unhappy when faced with it, or accept it with an open mind and heart and see where you are able to grow. Change is like a light bearer to our minds, shedding light where exists cracks and corners for us to grow into. Change is beautiful, it is nourishing.
I learnt the power that exists in being gentle, in taking a step back, and understanding the language of another’s mind. I learnt that being gentle is not a weakness, no matter how people may perceive this to be. And vulnerability too. For vulnerability is a point of connection of all human beings.
I am enjoying life living now, with an open heart and mind. Life has its natural course, for life itself is after all, organic. I can understand though, the anxiety that ‘not-knowing’ can bring. It is frightening. Which leads me on to the next lesson,
Being anxious from time to time is OK and normal. You are fine, just breathe. And take things one baby step at a time. There is no rush, for you will know when the time comes for you to know.
Social pressures are here to stay as long as society remains. I used to fear, that I was never skinny enough, pretty enough, if I didn’t become successful enough. If I could not manage being a good daughter, good wife, good mother, career woman. Sounds cliché doesn’t it? But it is only cliche precisely because it is the worry of so many woman alike. I have learnt though, while these societal pressures exist, that doesn’t mean we have to be weighed down by them. Yes, while I still do take care of my health, I eat right, exercise and make sure I maintain a healthy weight – I find it a blessing everyday that I am still physically capable of doing these things AND getting better and stronger each time I do. It doesn’t matter that there are other girls who are skinnier/taller/_____ (insert insecurity type here) – Bottom line: I am alive, healthy and able, and I am sane. So what if I have a new wrinkle each day, or if my body is taking on a more womanly shape. Age, wrinkles and lines are blessings indeed – living indicators of what has been, of moments in your history that have shaped you, evidence of your presence in moments of yours in whatever time there is for you on earth.
Last but not least, happiness is not so much a journey of finding it in the world that exists outside of oneself, but a journey inward, driving down to the core of your existence – what is it that is truly valuable to you. I can’t yet answer this question for myself. Everyday since, I have learnt something knew.
We often discredit the value in negation. But there is much beauty in that, the way that Immanuel Kant has written about finding moral values, a downward spiral, losing layers as we go. By negating what we do not need, like a spool of thread, we come closer and closer to the core. Never mind that these things take time, for it is better to have started pulling at the thread, and merely getting a glimpse of it in your lifetime, than to never had tried at all.
Take heart, everything’s gonna be OK.
So recently we’ve equipped ourselves with a Shake and Take, and trust me when I say its a wonderful invention. Essentially, it does as its name says, you make a shake and you take it with you immediately!
And its been working really great so far. Give me a week or two more, and I’ll probably write about this wonderful device.
The office has since been bitten by the juice bug. Having tried the 3 day cleanse by Rejuicenate, and the morning and night drinks from Lucky You, we were convinced, we can do this on our own… for breakfast at least.
Thus, the few recipes from the test week. The ingredients picked had to be easily accessible to anyone, though there were some ingredients that were initial investments (like cacao nibs in the first recipe). So don’t expect to see Kale anywhere.
All recipes are based on a volume of 600mL
1/2 Punnet of blueberries
200 grams Blueberry Yogurt
1 tbsp Cacao Nibs
100 mL non fat chocolate milk (feel free to replace this with a chocolate nut milk)
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 frozen Bananas
2. Spiced Oat Smoothie
250 mL non fat milk
1 large apple
2 tbsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp ginger powder
2 tbsp honey
30 grams or more of oats (depending on your desired thickness)
3. Green Friday Smoothie
1 Cup raw spinach
1 and 1/2 golden kiwis
2 tbsp honey
“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl
In recent years, I have revived my love for meat, and its been a struggle really to return to my once meatless days. But nothing good comes easy, and I am happy to announce that I have been vegetarian for a good 3 weeks now.
For those who know me personally, deep down this girl’s a burgers and beers kinda girl. But I just had to make my life difficult by taking the beef out of the picture now do I?
Well actually, no.
While I am well aware that there are people who are convinced that such messaging is a propaganda for vegetarianism/veganism (not sure why such -isms exist in the first place but anyhow), if environmental reasons such as reducing your carbon footprint (and thus greenhouse gas emissions which promote global warming), minimising water usage, and reducing fossil fuel dependence aren’t in themselves good enough reasons to go vegetarian at least ONCE per week. Please let those of us who wish to do so, do so in peace.
Did you know?
To produce 1 pound of meat, it requires 12 times more land, 13 times more fossil fuel and 15 times more water than producing 1 pound of soy protein?*
Going meatless doesn’t mean salads all day everyday by the way. As with every change – like deciding to get a gym membership or deciding to take part in a marathon – the initial phase is difficult. Quite frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if any meat eater thinks vegetarians don’t eat for that matter. Or worse yet, if you do go meatless you might end up feeling starved and deprived simply because you weren’t eating enough of the RIGHT kinds of food.
But thats ok – all of us learn by making mistakes. And I promise you, it is only the initial phase that is tough, just like learning to ride a bicycle. But once you understand where your balance is, its cruising from there on out.
Back to the matter of burgers and beers, I was determined to have this fix without needing the otherwise star of the combination i.e. beef.
I did my research and wanted a recipe that would be easy for any Singaporean to do (because beets aren’t always available, quinoa and flax breathe “health food” in their mere mention, and I certainly did not want to involve eggs)
Inspired by the Food Lab’s recipe, the ingredients I ended up settling for are cheap and easily available from any supermarket.
Here’s what you’ll need (recipe yields 5 patties)
1 Can – Red Kidney Beans
1 Can – Black beans
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 white onion – you will only use about 10 grams
100 grams baked cashews
For seasoning the patties:
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp Shoyu
1/2 tbsp Mirin
mushrooms, wasabi sprouts, mustard, burger bun.
Here’s the plan:
Rinse beans well, and fry them up on an un-oiled non stick pan to remove moisture.
Dice up the bell pepper.
Saute onions with the chilli flakes and dried basil. Once onions soften, add in the bell peppers and cook well.
Toast the cashews to bring out the aroma. Once cooled blitz them. This will add texture and fat to the patties, which will also help to hold them up a little.
To the beans – mash them up like you were to make mash potatoes. Once mashed, add the cooked bell peppers and cashews. Add the shoyu and mirin here.
Start moulding the patties. I found using glad wrap helpful in getting the patties nice and tightly packed.
Heat up a tsp of cooking oil to a non stick pan.
Cook on the first side for about 2 minutes (I use an induction stove by the way) or until golden, before flipping to cook on he other side.
If I may, these burgers were delightful. I was really surprised at how it held up without needing any of the conventional binding agents. Apart from being highly satisfying, these were both light and filling. If you’re still not convinced how good these are, well there’s only 1 way to find out. Try it!
*information from : http://www.chooseveg.com/environment