Karma bites

Our weekday mornings are hectic, like many commuters, parents rushing for the train via school  runs etc

As I drove on last Thursday morning after dropping my daughter off to the childminder, I made a conscious decision to pace myself that day, to remember to be kind and to not let the pressure of work and life get to me.  As I neared the train station, I noticed a BMW trailing me rather impatiently – there were umpteen cars ahead of me but his disdain of me was obvious.  We finally drove into the station car park, and he raced to park his car. As I got out of my car, he shot me a look, not a friendly one and marched on to the ticket machine to pay for his car.  The machine took a while and soon I caught up and stood behind him.

You wouldn’t believe what happened next.  It turned out he had paid but the machine swallowed his ticket.  And I said in my friendliest tone ‘Perhaps the ticket barrier will be up again tonight and you won’t have to pay twice’.  I left him to find another machine, paid up and got my train into the city.  He instead had to go to the parking attendant to get a refund. All that haste, fury and unkindness.

There is no excuse for poor behaviour.  You never know when Karma is watching.

Choosing happiness

I met an old friend for lunch recently and as is common with old acquaintances, we reminisced on the past.  I was asked if I was happy.  My response to them was that yes, and that I have chosen to be happy.

It is altogether too easy to be reactive and mindless in ones emotions.  Jack Canfield in quotes in his success principles that event+reaction = outcome, a mantra I constantly remind myself of.

With 2018 drawing to a close, I am all the more determined to choose happiness.

  1. To turn my frowns upside down (one of my daughter’s favourite quotes)
  2. To keep seeing the good in people
  3. Spread positive vibes

Emotions are contagious.  Let us all mindfully choose happiness over sadness, sweetness over bitterness.

Spotting green again

A few weeks ago, having resigned and left work, I decided on a last minute trip to Asia to visit my parents.  They have very little in way of support and it had been around 8 months since I last saw them.

I boarded the plane from London Heathrow and made my way to row 33 – it was a very full flight with approximately 200 passengers.  I found my seat and the passenger next to me had a head full of green hair!  It is simply amazing, the power of manifestation!

What I would tell my 20-year old self

Dear Annie

My, how time has flown.  How did you get to be 20 years old so soon?

I am so proud of the woman you have become.  You have a heart of gold, innocent, unworldly, yet have shown tremendous grit and resilience in getting through school and exams.  You are not conditioned to follow the norm which is a trait you inherited from dad.  Though there is no match for his fearlessness, I think we can agree with that!

I’ve gone ahead and lived 21 years from where you are now.  With the benefit of hindsight, this is what I’d say to you as you start life in your 20s:

  1. Love yourself  – love comes from within and it is a huge responsibility which you just can’t delegate to anyone else.  Your parents will love you unconditionally because you are their flesh and blood.  But don’t place your self worth on what/how others perceive you.
  2. Continue reaching for the stars – don’t settle for anything less than. Look and reach for ‘more than’ and what others perceive as unattainable.  You deserve and are worthy of more.
  3.  Be fearless and radiate positive energy – surround yourself with those who vibrate on a similarly high frequency.  Trust your instinct and focus your thoughts and energy only on what makes you happy, fulfilled and nourished.
  4. You’ll make a fantastic mother.  But remember to love, not spoil.
  5. Exercise and nourish yourself well – you will surprise yourself on your natural instinct for flavours and ability to combine them to make sumptuous meals.
  6. Continue educating yourself – if there is a will, there is a way.  Your parents were right when they said knowledge is power, and education (be it formal/informal) is key to progression.
  7. Believe in the power of prayer – He is always there for guidance and you should never feel alone.
  8. Set goals which will help you navigate through the course of life – never ever drift aimlessly.  If you find yourself off-course, don’t despair.  Obstacles are merely detours to get you back on track.
  9. Love and respect others regardless of race, religion, background.  Treat others the way you want to be treated
  10. Aim for Financial Freedom from your first paycheck.

Now go forth, live your life to the fullest and the best of your ability.  May your life be filled with good fortune, love and the best of health.

I (almost) manifested a new house

My husband and  I have been talking about upsizing our home for a while now.

I took our a piece of paper and wrote down what our ideal home would look like – 6 beds, 4 bathrooms, south-facing garden, good neighbourhood…etc

We worked out a budget and agreed to check out our local agent to see if they had any properties which would fit the bill.

The agent showed us a number of houses they had on their portfolio and one immediately stood out.  We knew the street well and the house as in the heart of our local village.  The price was exactly at the top end of our budget but we arranged a viewing anyway.

It was a beautiful house, newly extended, had enough rooms and bathrooms (though shy of my vision-list), a south facing garden and a quick walk to the village.  I could see my parents visiting us there.  The main downside was that it had an ugly-facade.  Simply terrible.  With a garage door that opened outward onto the driveway – which meant cars had to be moved in order for the garage door to be opened. Plus, it had no side access.  We would have to leave the bins out front. With no side access, we would have to bring anything garden-related through the house via the front door.

Buying this house would eat us up of our entire savings.  Were we really up for such a financial risk?

I prayed and asked for guidance on this.  I kept seeing numbers 11 or 111 or 11.11 everywhere.

We put in a low offer on the house and waited with bated breath.  The seller was out of the country.

As we drove by the house the next day, I said to my husband, do we even know what the house number is??

Guess what folks, it was 11.

I saw it as a sign that it was meant to be ours.  But the seller countered our offer.

That night, we mulled over the offer price and what it would mean to us financially.  We would have used up our entire savings on a less than perfect house.  The ugly facade, no-side access, the bins out front, the garage door, the small driveway… these were such big deal-breakers, than we decided not to meet the seller’s counter-offer.

It was a difficult decision, but I’ve gone back to my vision board with a clear list of what I would like in our dream home.  Who knows, it might still be a house number 11.

 

Acceptance

I recently left a very toxic job, one that consumed me of my time, energy, sanity and well-being.  Why did I stay there for 18 months, then?

For almost 10 years, I was happily employed in my dream job.  I felt a sense of stability and security.  I took pride in what I did and achieved.  Unfortunately the business came to a natural end, teams were made redundant and I was offered a transfer to another part of the business.  I turned it down as it was what I viewed as a demotion.

This was three years ago, and I label this whole period as a sliding door moment.  It’s been as if I jumped onto the train just as the door was closing shut and it has taken me on a tumultuous journey through my lowest points in my 40-plus years of existence.

That long-term job offered my an anchor and I found a lot of support amongst my co-workers.  It is only after I left that organisation did I come to realise that it was me who needed them and not vice-versa.  Contacts ceased pretty much overnight with people I leaned on.  Not out of malice.  Life goes on and people decide who to take along with them.  I wasn’t on their list.  I found myself a new role which I accepted far too quickly without sufficient due diligence.  I lacked confidence that anyone would employ a working mother who requires flexi-hours.  Before starting my new role, I went home for a week.  I was shocked by my dad’s appearance.  His movements were slower and very considered.  I urged him to get himself checked out and he was diagnosed with early onset of Parkinson’s. My dad has always been my rock.  I don’t think the doctor’s words sank in for a long time.

Back in London, further rudderless, I found myself overcome with anxiety as I faced very aggressive individuals at my new employment with absolutely no support.

Within two weeks, I lost a family member and another, a mentor/father-figure.  Words cannot describe the sense of loss I felt.  Grieving for dad’s inevitable decline in health and the death of two others consumed me.

I dreaded going into work everyday, tearing up as I approached the building and consumed by anxiety.  After eight weeks, I decided I couldn’t continue working there as the environment was not only hostile, but I found I was regressing in terms of skills and responsibilities – a mis-sold role.

I landed my next role fairly quickly.  However, the warning signs were there but I chose not to see them as I was worried about being unemployed.  The team we supported were incredibly aggressive and their head had been summoned by HR on many occasions but they had never succeeded in curbing his aggression.  His team took his lead and treated us like pond-scum.  During this period, my husband suffered an ailment and was house-bound, unable to drive for a period of five months.  Having started a new job, I had to shoulder school run duties around work and endured comments from my boss such as ‘a part of me thinks you are taking the pi**’.  Again, feeling rudderless within my work environment and outside, i suffered from anxiety.  Even for mundane things like remembering to take the bins out for bin collection day.

Physically, I was beginning to suffer as well.  Falling sick every three to four weeks with a bad cold/flu.  My back started hurting and I ended up with sciatica.  After about eight months in this role, I decided enough was enough and I was going to take time off to rest and reflect before contemplating any role.

It was then that my parents came over to visit and they were shocked by my appearance.  Not only had I lost a lot of weight, but also what my dad referred to as ‘spark for life’.  I’d always been mischievous, bold, with a smart reply for anything and everything.  But what greeted them was someone so low in esteem, confidence and in a state of despair.

A month after they visited, I dashed home as dad had taken ill and we nearly lost him.  There was no sinking any further, where I was concerned.  The bright side of that episode was mum and I grew closer.

When I returned to London, it was with my parents prayers propping me up.  I started my third job in a space of 1.5 years and it was yet another toxic environment.  To highlight the lack of empathy/support in this environment, one of my co-worker’s dad passed away.  She returned to work within a week, and only 3 people out of 40 paid her their condolences and the rest didn’t say anything.  She wasn’t offered any extra time off, not encouraged to do so.  She told me this a few weeks ago when we went out for lunch and I asked about her dad as it was the first anniversary of his passing.

Whilst I was deemed to have held an important post, any decisions I took were sustained and deferred to an aggressive bully of a boss.  I had no handover notes from my predecessor and had to figure things out as I went along.  I never switched off from work for the sole reason that I reported to such an unreasonable person and was again consumed with anxiety.

I called my mum and told her that I can’t keep running away from this terrible anxiety which seems to be triggered from lack of support.  She urged my to go for stress counselling.  I found someone locally and we worked through a lot of the issues I had faced in the last three years.

What I hadn’t appreciated was that I was grieving for:

  1. Dad’s slow deterioration of health
  2. The death of the family member who I hadn’t seen for a few years but affected me tremendously
  3. The death of my mentor/father-figure
  4. The loss of support that was afforded by my work-family

The anxiety could be traced right back to when I was around 6 years old when I had a bully of a class-teacher who used to hit me (I had limited grasp of the Asian language being spoken in class, and used to misinterpret instructions).  I never told my parents (I didn’t know that I could have!).  Further, when I was around 9 years old, we lost a number of family members in a terrible car-crash.  A year after that, there were threats made to my dad’s life (we lived in a part of the world where such occurrences were the norm).  In short, I was consumed by anxiety as a result of rather serious causes when I was pretty young and never worked through it.  My therapist explained that as I consequence, in recent times when things have been quite stressful and I have had no support, the tendency had been flight vs fight.  That plus grief, had pushed me into a terrible state of despair.  Through therapy, I acknowledged that I was good at my job, but perhaps it just wasn’t the right role nor environment.

Two months ago, I decided that I had spent enough time at my current role.  Whilst I had nothing new lined up, it was time for me to move on.  Mentally, I was exhausted. Physically, I couldn’t see how I could start a new role without taking time out for myself.  Time to put on my own oxygen mask.

I went through a number of interviews recently and someone brought up the point that I may be a flight risk.  I explained that I had rushed into roles but it is important that I find the right environment to thrive in .  What dawned on me during these interviews was that if at any point, any of my previous managers had taken the time to talk through what was bothering me at work, I would have mentioned grief and anxiety.  Had they then offered support (e.g. working from home once a week whilst my husband was ill for 5 months so that I didn’t feel like I was stretched in every possible direction), therapy, dealing with a bully of a boss (a blatant – ‘she suffers from anxiety and your behaviour triggers it’), perhaps I would have felt stronger to stay on.

The despair slowly started to lift in January this year.  I stumbled upon The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.  Having watched the movie and read the book, something willed me into thinking positively.  I found Oprah’s podcasts online which have been very therapeutic.  My current read is Jack Canfield’s the Success Principles.

I have a vision board above my dressing table which serve as a daily reminder of my goals.  I have a gratitude journal which I document on a regular basis.  I carry with me a little card which lists all my goals. I feel all of life’s abundant gifts – and folks, it does work.  What you focus on, expands.  When I find myself thinking negative thoughts, I catch myself and turn it into a positive.

I have come to the realisation and acceptance that I am responsible for setting down that life-anchor.

My goals, visions and dreams serve as my rudder and I am in charge of steering my life onto a positive path.

 

 

My best friend

I was listening to Deepak Chopra on Day 8 of the 21 Day Meditation Challenge today.  He said to think of the qualities of a good friend.  Then be that good friend to oneself.  That made me teared up as I realised how poorly I had been treating myself.  Self-neglect at its worst.  I make myself available to everyone around me but least of all to me and there are serious repercussions, namely health and well-being.  Which is why this meditation challenge is timely.

I permit myself to heal and regain my true sense of self.   I will be to me, the person I have always strived to be for others.  Dependable, kind, nurturing, loving, giving, supportive.

I have the loveliest friend – a kindred spirit if you like.

She is fiercely protective of me, backs me up, keeps me grounded when I needed to be brought down a notch or two, loving, kind, sincere and remembers me in her daily prayers.

Because I am worthy.