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.

21-day meditation challenge

I signed-up to Oprah and Deepak’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge

I am a big fan of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and am grateful to have access to the interviews on youtube.  I wish I knew Oprah personally as everyone could do with someone so motivating in their lives.  I was listening to Oprah’s interview with Deepak Chopra on one segment where they talked about meditation.  According to Deepak, it takes about 21-days to form a habit.  When asked what was the difference between prayer and meditation, Deepak explained that the former was us speaking to God, but the latter is to silence the noise/hustle in our minds so that we can hear Him speak to us.  That shook me right down to the core.

I promptly signed up to his meditation website and was delighted when I received a notification about three weeks ago that the 21-Day Meditation Challenge was due to start.

I do believe that I have guardian angels who look out for me.  I am in serious need of rebalancing/re-anchoring and the meditation challenge came at the right time.  I have embraced the daily meditation well – I do it twice a day.  Once in the morning when I’m at my desk at work before I start my day, and then at the end of the day before going to bed.  I feel as if the meditation script was written for me as Deepak narrates the daily centring thoughts and messages.

As I complete day 7, I offer my gratitude to both Deepak and Oprah for their generosity in making this meditation package free and accessible to all.  I already feel a shift in my inner self as I seek to re-anchor my existence.

Thank you.

Namaste.

My dream job

My life is filled with abundance – love, joy, health, wealth, career opportunities and progression, good team at work, good friends and a loving family.

I am enjoying my dream job.  I have a short commute to work.  My bosses and colleagues are good, caring, supportive, helpful, friendly and kind.  The firm I work for is supporting of working parents and encourage flexible hours so that we can achieve a good work-life balance.

I am well rewarded and remunerated for my role as finance director.  I get many opportunities to enhance and expand my skill-sets through training and conferences.  I really am enjoying my work and I get to travel to Asia, Australia and the US – which is also a great opportunities to catch up with friends and family who reside there.  How lucky am I?

My firm is sponsoring me to attend a course at Harvard as they have the foresight of benefits such a participation would bring me, which translates into an experienced, knowledgeable pool of staff.  We are only as strong as the people they employ.

I an extremely grateful for this exciting career opportunity.

Citronella

I had the strangest of dreams.

In real life, I am suffering from winter fatigue (anyone else?).  I dreamed that I met one of my childhood friends for coffee and she said her mum told me to use citronella for energy.

Back to real life again.  I woke up feeling tired and thought it was strange that I had dreamed of said friend whom I hadn’t heard from in a while.  Anyway, I had a massage booked later that day.  As the therapist starting rubbing massage oil onto my back, I smelt it.  The therapist confirmed it was citronella oil.

Bizarre to say the least!

Don’t make girls cry

We have a cultural ritual for girls when they come of age.  Women gather and bless said girl, the ceremony is filled with prayers, the girl is adorned in traditional clothes akin to a bride.

This ritual is alien to me.  Growing up, it was just my parents and my sibling.  We were a few thousand miles away from our extended family and thus, traditions and rituals were never really part of our daily lives.  Mum and Dad were strict parents, discipline translated to love which we tested from time to time like all children do.  But I never defined myself by the colour of my skin, my religion or background.  This remains true to today.

I digress.

When I told my mum about my first period, she rang her mother to ask what she should do.  Grandmother prescribed eggs, a daily teaspoon of oil (coconut? I don’t know) and perhaps other traditional concoctions for my consumption.  My parents agreed that it wasn’t practical for us to adhere to traditions where we lived.

Fast forward two years later, we went back to my grandparents for my aunt’s wedding.  Cue elaborate ceremonies and traditions.  The elders agreed that since my coming of age wasn’t marked previously, they would do so whilst the family were together.  A lot of fuss went on in the background and my mother told me that I was to wear a traditional dress for the ceremony.

It was all too alien for me.  I was a tomboy, happy to run around in shorts and t-shirt all day long.  The boys regarded me funnily as they suspected something was up but the elders kept them in the dark and away from the fuss.  I felt extremely uncomfortable as no one bothered to explain anything to me and I really didn’t want to wear a traditional dress.  I just wanted to run to the field and kick a football with my cousins.

My mum wasn’t having any of it and reprimanded me, to which I responded by tearing up and the tears kept flowing all day.  A well-regarded elderly neighbour dropped by with some flowers in the afternoon and saw how upset I was.  When she found out it was because I didn’t want the fuss nor to be clad in the dress that was picked out for me, she gave out to my mother and aunt.

‘Why are you making a girl cry on such an auspicious day?  Don’t us women have enough tears to bear in our lives? Let her wear want she wants.  The garment isn’t important.  She’s  been brought up in modern times and doesn’t understand tradition like we do.  What’s key is that we’re here to help her transition from a girl to a young woman.’

I ended up wearing a simple outfit – a tunic top and leggings.  The ceremony was kept extremely short.  I was blessed by my elders including my saviour, there was a flower bath which I was left alone to partake in and it was all over within an hour.  My mum wasn’t best pleased but she came to accept that I was part of a new generation where traditions, though important, possibly need some assimilation into modern lives.

I am now a mother to a little girl and I’ll never forget my elder’s words ‘ don’t make girls cry’.

(She bawls at the drop of a hat by the  way!)