Category Archives: “inspiration, quotes and pick-me-ups”

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Do you know what you are thinking?

Pause for a moment, bring your attention to your breath. Now try to recall, the number of thoughts you’ve had since the day started until now.

Now, try to recall just 5 of those thoughts. Chances are, most of us would recall the thoughts that dictated immediate action, for instance – What color to wear to work today; what time we are picking up the laundry; did I miss out anything in the preparation for my meeting in the afternoon; etc.

Experts have discovered that on average, a person register a whopping 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. I find it difficult to imagine that so many thoughts could actually pass through the mind just in a single day. If we take the average of 60,000 thoughts per person per day, that works out to roughly 40 thoughts per minute.

I definitely don’t recall close to even 10% of that number at the end of every day; so either I have amnesia (which is quite likely!) or I had done a great job of clearing my mind with meditation.

So anyway, 40 thoughts per minute is no joke. We all already know that our thoughts create our reality. Every thought you have carries with it an electrical charge. And this thing which we call our life, is like a consolidated balance sheet of the 60,000 daily thoughts that raced through our mind over an entire day. Most of us think the same 60,000 thoughts day after day.

Each time a thought arise, an order is sent to the Universe. Imagine you are sitting in a restaurant called ‘Your Life’, and your thoughts are food orders you sent to the Universal kitchen, wouldn’t you be curious about what you are ordering?

Besides thoughts that initiate action for our daily BAU (business as usual) like those we discussed above (let’s be generous and assume they take up 50% of everything), we also have thoughts induced by external environment, and thoughts which are auto generated by underlying belief systems.

Let’s look at thoughts planted by the external environment. The first things people most commonly do in the morning are to read the newspapers. Then while commuting to work, we listen to the radio, we are exposed to infomercials either on air, or advertisement signboards on the road, or in a train. Given the fact that most news are not very good news, and almost every product and service sold out there are based on a premise that we are not good enough unless we use that product, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the nature of the thoughts generated by advertisements stimuli are mostly negative.

Or we listen to songs on the radio, some of us including myself loves to sing Karaoke. Many popular love songs today, although they carry beautiful melodies, acutally contain sad, frustrating and heart broken lyrics. Nothing wrong with enjoying or dancing to your favourite love ballads; just make sure they don’t stick to your mind after that! Or don’t be surprised that your love life ends up exactly like the lyrics of the songs that you sing most often.

Then there are the people in our lives, maybe family, or friends, or colleagues that we have to interact with. Some of them love us, well at least to their best effort. Whenever there is interaction with people, there is a fusion of thought bodies, we inherit thoughts from those whom we spend a lot of time with.

This is probably the number one reason why the most successful people on the planet advises that we want to select carefully the people we hang out with if we wish to create a certain outcome with our life. Seek out the company of people who uplifts you, who have healthy self esteem, and who wants the best for you geniunely.

So let’s take another 50% of the remaining 20 thoughts per minute and attribute them to reactionary and inherited thoughts to stimuli from the external environment. We are now left with 10 thoughts per minute. This is a modest number to account for thoughts arising from our fundamental belief systems.

What are these belief systems? These are mainly subconscious programming, usually ingrained in us while we were still kids. Becasue they are so deep, we aren’t even aware that they are there in the first place.

If we are fortunate enough, perhaps in this life we had a chance to experience Yoga and Meditation. The more we practice, the more we begin to become aware that we have a consciousness separate from our thoughts. We realize that the source of thought and the thoughts themselves are separate. Which means –  we are NOT the same as our thoughts.

We start to be able to tell when supportive thoughts arise, and when the not-so-supportive thoughts arise. Initially our points of awareness were fragmented, and eventually we build up a strong enough practice to sustain that awareness over longer time horizons.

That began our journey of self realization. We start to gain clarity on how we literally created our life and every experience with the sum total of the thoughts we have had about ourselves and others and the Universe. (By the way, not believing that there is a Universe is a belief by itself that generates a bunch of thoughts of a particular nature. So literally, every thought is a branch of a underlying belief system.)

Now if you are still reading, I wonder if you are curious like me. Have you ever wondered what would happen if we actually intentionally put in thoughts that could shift and reshape our experience of reality?

I mean, after all we are already by default creating reality with the 60,000 thoughts. The first step which we had done was to become aware of them. But that’s not enough because we are still creating and recreating reality with the same thoughts.

The next step in self realization is to replace them with radically new thoughts of an entirely opposite nature.

Regardless of gender, race, nationality and age, the most common negative thoughts that we have are:

‘I am not good enough’

‘I am not rich, intelligent, pretty, handsome, lucky enough’

‘I don’t deserve the good in life’

‘I am unloveable’

Whether we like it or not, these negative thoughts are like affirmations that affirmed the negative circumstances in our life. The good news is, since they worked so well, then positive thought affirmations would also work as well too.

Some of my personal favorites are:

“I am good enough”

“I am open and receptive to all good in life”

“No matter what happens, I love and approve of myself”

“I inhale love and peace, exhale harmony and joy”

Just simple as that – you can start to shift your sense of reality and begin to live a set of totally different outcomes. Even if you cannot make it to Yoga class, or practice with us, you can at least manage 15 minutes of affirmations on your own.

Just 15 minutes a day and you could have a totally new life. You owe it to yourself to live your most vibrant and amazing life.

To your awesome and successful life.

(C) Linda Loo

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Christmas Reflection 2016

The sounds of Christmas bells, carols and the dazzling bright lights of Orchard road always warm my heart this time of the year. My favorite festive has to be the Christmas season indeed. There is a story behind this.

Most kids live the best of their childhoods at 10 years old. I had a rather unconventional one. My parents’ marriage didn’t work, they didn’t bring out the best in each other, and I kind of took the biggest impact of it all. Often physically beaten up for no reason, and emotionally abandoned, I had no access to resources for love and nurturance in the earliest years of my life.

At 10 years old, I contemplated suicide. Standing on a chair at the kitchen window of an 8 storey flat, I imagined jumping off and ending my life. I wanted to finish the experience of being human because I was sad about my parents’ fighting, scared of again being bashed up for no reason, and miserable at having nobody to turn to. In some distorted way, I thought maybe I was the cause of my parents’ disharmony. It seemed better to end this life and hit the reset button.

But I stood there by the window sill for some time, thinking: What if I don’t die? What if I got injured and needed to be sent to the hospital? Do I need to bring my school pass for identification? Do I need money for transport if I don’t die?

Eventually, somebody knocked on the door, disrupting me from the train of thoughts. I got down from the chair and climbed into bed.

The next day when I woke up, I had a new resolve. Since I didn’t quite manage to die, I told myself I shall jolly well live a hell of a life. Let’s make it bad-ass and awesome! 🙂

From 10 to 13 years old, I kind of made it through by studying like crazy, switching off my emotions to avoid feeling too sad about my parents, and praying every single day. I prayed for a way to be free of my circumstances. My big break came when I was 13 years old. That year during Christmas, a friend recommended me for a part time job as sales assistant at a Christian gift shop.

I remembered sitting by the telephone for days, staring at it, willing it to ring, hoping that it would be the owner of the shop calling me to start work. When I finally got the call to report for work at S$2 per hour, I knew that I could be free of the circumstances I was born into.

That was huge to me. I knew then I could work my way to University, and I could create the life that I want to live.

My first Christmas, even though I was only 13 years old, was unforgettable. The Christmas songs that I heard for the first time then, got ingrained in my head, even up till now, and they conditioned feelings of empowerment, hope, freedom, love and support. Images of Santa, snow flakes, reindeers, sleighs and Christmas pine trees always make me wanna smile and dance with joy.

Subsequently, with several other part time jobs, I made it through the rest of Secondary School, College and University. Fortunately, I left home when I turned 14, escaping the abusive environment; bunking in with classmates and their families who treated me as one of their own.

There were many people whom although were not related to me, gave me love and care. Because of them, and generous employers who helped support my studies, I held the world view that people are good, our default nature is to help one another as a humanity, and that the Universe is friendly.

Until today, whenever I think of all the people who had given me love, I’d feel so full of gratitude. They had contributed to my magnificent journey of growth, love, forgiveness and courage. I am still on this journey today. In fact, the older I get, the more I feel like a baby on this thing commonly called the ‘spiritual path’.

In retrospect as I healed my relationships with my parents, I knew that they loved me to their best ability, through whatever limitations, fears and filters they have about life. They were doing the best they knew how to.

Although in my experience as a child, I definitely did not feel loved and cared for. While my parents had their own life paths to live and lessons to learn, I could choose to blame them and remained a victim; or I could take responsibility for my own life, learn forgiveness, cultivate compassion and make my life into a blessing for others. The latter was what I chose.

The circumstances into which I was born into had very little resources. I was probably the least likely kid to grow up to be successful or to be living a life that I love. Today I am loved immensely, surrounded by beautiful people. I’d found family in people who have no blood ties with me, and in strangers who would go out of their ways to help me; I am financially comfortable, and ecstatically blessed to have found my passion early in life, and be doing work that I care deeply about.

Most days, I wake up happy to be alive, and amazed with the miracle of just being able to draw a long belly breath. Just about almost everything from Nature to music fascinates me. Everything tangible and intangible that I have and own today, I’m grateful for them because they came to me by grace.

Granted that in life, it is never just a bed of roses. There are times where people whom we trusted sort of turned on us and hurt us. In fact, last year’s Christmas and this year’s New Year period was a time of profound growth and heartache for me. Someone whom I had came to trust and love deeply, bailed out on me, my heart was broken. It took me nearly a year to completely neutralize the intensity of emotions so that I won’t co-create the same scenario again.

Shit is not pleasant. But always after shit happens, when we look back, its easy to recognize that all the experiences of hurt are good because they taught us to discern between what is real from what is not. Because my fundamental belief systems are built on the goodness of humanity, I know that Life is on my side. If anything at all, I’m more sure now than before that Life is in my favor.

For your information, Life is on your side too. Universe always says yes. We just need to clean up our minds enough to know what we are asking for.

You see – every one of the 6 billion people here on the planet has their own story of struggle. I believe that no matter what circumstances we are born into, our past does not indicate our self worth. It is what we make out of our story that determines our worth. One important core belief that we need to have in order to be successful, is the belief that Life is always organizing itself to our highest good.

This Christmas, I invite you to ponder on these 2 questions which had served me on my darkest periods. The right kind of inquiry never fail to bring enlightenment if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and face ourselves honestly –

“If all of Life is organizing itself to my highest success, what would I be thinking, saying and doing?”

“What is the one thing that I can do right now to be more loving?”

 

(C) Linda Loo

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How much have you lived?

What’s the most inspiring thing that happened for you this week?

The most inspiring thing that happened to me this week is this – news of the death of an old friend whom I knew from my teens. I was informed that he passed away from heart attack, and at the time of his death, his wife was 8 months pregnant with their baby.

At first I felt a sense of sadness and loss. His name was Kelvin, about a couple years older than me. Which means to say he is still very young. We used to party a lot together and shared many good buddy moments. He was a friend that we could always count on when we needed any help. However we lost contact over the last decade when I switched from corporate to holistic health and personal growth. He was one of the friends that I ‘left behind.’

If you had ever had a loved one or good friend pass away before you would probably know that the first thoughts that appear in our mind are the ‘What Ifs’.

What if I had kept contact with him and taught him raw foods, yoga and healthy living. Would it have changed the odds of his heart attack?

And then I quickly realized that there are no ‘What Ifs’ in life. There are only the ‘What Is’. The ‘What Ifs’ present themselves as a medium for confronting our fears and regrets, which in turn leads to self acceptance and inner growth. The bridge between the ‘What Ifs’ and the ‘What Is’ is one of the things in life that I call enlightenment; amongst several things including tasting quality wine, staring at a breathtaking sunset, and looking into the eyes of a lover.

Meditating on the memories of Kelvin, I wrote a song:

How much have you lived 
How much did you love
Time, is it months and years 
Or fun and tears.

Can time make sense 
If we don't know love and pain
How much have you lived
How much have you let love

Did you just watch the world pass you by
Did you put yourself out there
What am I afraid of 
I thought I knew who I was
Until love found me

Until you put yourself out there, bare, uncovered
How much have you lived

These 2 consecutive years had particularly been interesting in that I’d experienced the deaths of 2 close friends one after the other. The greatest lesson that stood out, underneath all the grief, is this:

While I’m alive, its my duty to live an amazing, wondrous and awesome life filled with love, fun and growth. And in turn, radiate this Light outwards to others who are in my path.

Thank you for being a part of my awesome life, and allowing me to serve you.

Hugs and Kisses

Linda         

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Power in doing the “Impossible” (YTTC Graduation)

We had just finished another round of Teachers Training and although it was intense – spanning over 2 months, we (the 4 graduate teachers and I) thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Amidst a ton of self study, rigorous training and drills, we also did an in-depth exploration of using authentic Yoga as a tool for self realization.

Graduation was nothing short of a celebration party. The picture above was taken after 2 bottles of red wine and 2 hours of singing and dancing. My first core belief in life – Never miss a chance to party!

In this short article today I want to touch on doing the so-called ‘impossible’. If you think that training to achieve a full split or a head stand within 2 months is impossible, think again. We sure did it under the Yoga Teachers Training Course – with an intense cirriculum, hard work and discipline.

Contrary to most false beliefs, it is not the age; and definitely not size, shape or fitness level that determines whether you breakthrough on your mat, or in your life for that matter.

It is your beliefs (including your perception of failure), and level of commitment.

There is a lot of power and inner strength in achieving something we had never been able to do before. Take for example inversions. To go upside down, to see the world upside down, to be seen upside down, and to have your legs in the air, these require courage, strength, balance, control of your entire physical body and mental power.

My second core belief in life is: “Do the toughest things on your yoga mat, stick with it with integrity and grit, and everything else in your life becomes easy. When you give in to excuses on your mat, you tend to also give up power in your life. Your practice reflects your entire life, there’s simply no faking it.”

First of all, you gotta believe that you can do it. Then you actually train for it, commit to consistency and never giving up. Unless you are the reincarnation of great sages, most Yogins did not achieve difficult poses overnight; we had to train very hard for them.

For instance, when you train for the head stand Sirashasana (King of Poses); you have to keep attempting to lift the legs even though its so darn difficult. You fail, and keep failing, for a few hundred times, until your body becomes strong enough to lift the legs. If you had given up in any of those one time of failure, then the pose becomes only a book concept for you because you stopped trying.

But if you pressed on, you will come to the day when you realize you could lift one leg; and another day you realize you could lift both legs. And soon, you could bring both legs up, and then you begin to find balance upside down. You see new things in the upside down view and you discover a whole new confidence in life.

And whenever you achieved a breakthrough on your mat, the breakthrough spill over from the mat into your life. You gain a new insight about your character, why you behave a certain way you do, you see new things in your life that you didn’t notice before; and you don’t stop there; you keep moving forward. Life is always an expansion – either you expand forward or you ‘expand’ backwards, you know what I mean 🙂

So keep practicing, keep making new breakthroughs and don’t forget to celebrate every step of the way.

Be extraordinary; be awesome!

XOXO

(C) Copyright Linda Loo

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The Universe in a Sunflower

Contrary to most women I know, my favorite flower is not the Rose, Lily or Carnation. My favorite flower is the tall, rugged looking smiling Sunflower. Whenever I see Sunflowers I break into a smile, sometimes even a dance! They sing to me a sacred song of the universe:

“Look at me, I lean upwards into the sun boldly. I embrace the sun’s rays thirstily and I embrace what’s ahead of me with verve. Look at my spirals – they are evidence of Infinite Intelligence, always containing a Fibonacci number. Come close to me, let me teach you how to smile. Touch my petals, soft and ruffly, you will come alive. My life span is short and maybe I shall die next month, but look around me, I recreate my own grandeur again and again in my family. There’s no lack of extraordinariness wherever you are looking. How do you want to live your life?”

When you look for it at any given moment, there is a sacred song that God wrote for you. His song always contain reminders, signposts and reassurance for your road ahead. My song is found in the Sunflower; have you found yours yet? If not, don’t stop looking for it 🙂

 

In Awesomeness and Love (C) Copyright Linda Loo 2016

 

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Loving yourself through relationships

(This piece of sharing is written from my perspective as a woman who likes men. I respect all sexual orientations and have no comments about preferences different from mine. If anything here offends you, I apologize in advance, and you don’t have to read anything that doesn’t sit well with you. Please close the browser, keep your comments to yourself and channel your energy to something else that resonates with you.xoxo)

As long as we are human, it is impossible to avoid love. Of course, the concept of love and relationships extends far beyond that of romantic and marriage based relationships. But for the vast majority of us earthly mortals, romantic relationships are still the kind of relationships that offer the most challenge, fulfillment and growth.

My last relationship ended some 8 years ago. Each time the topic of marriage came up, I did the disappearing act. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was deeply freaked out by the idea of commitment  After the breakdown in my 3rd relationship, I realized that the problems with my love life did not arise with the other person. The problems came from ME. And so I said to myself – Let’s take a break from relationships and really look into ‘Who am I’.

So began an arduous journey of Raw foods, Fasting, Yoga, Meditation, contributing to humanity and so on. I was obsessed with personal development and became a growth junkie.  I rejected men who showed interest in me, and closed myself to relationships. Several times, I seriously contemplated the idea of renouncing the world, going to the mountain ashrams and shaving my head.

As life would have it, a year ago, I fell in love for the first time in 8 years. It didn’t quite work out, and I was heart broken for a few months. But through the experience, something hit me on my head – I realized that in order for me to progress, I have to fall in love, the human kind of love. I have to participate in human life, in human worldly love, to allow my colored Samskaras (drivers of behavior) to play out, so that I can identify and work on them. So, 7 years after intense self work, I opened myself up to dating, love and relationships.

You might have already guessed that, the path of love is not less arduous than the ‘spiritual’ path. I also realized, after studying myself intensely, that my ‘spiritual path’ was at times bordering into being a bandaid over unresolved issues that I wasn’t able to yet integrate. I began exploring the feminine part of me that I had lost contact with. I allowed myself to feel what every woman who is deeply connected to their core feminine knows about – desire and longing. I longed to be in a spiritually fulfilling, fully self expressed and committed relationship with a quality man; not just any man, but a man who is my soul mate on every level. With that I created a new goal for myself, to attract and keep a soul mate relationship with a man that inspires me into full expression as a woman.

In fact, the moment we fall in love and enter relationships with another human being, breakdowns and pain are inevitable. There will surely be some form of pain because we are human beings, we are not immortals. And as for the meanings we give to our pain, our beliefs about it, and the subsequent choices we make, well, that determines the amount of fulfillment and suffering we experience 🙂

Interestingly, over the same period that I began learning about love and relationships and men, I also had a record high of close friends opening up to me about their relationship breakdowns. Most of them came from my girlfriends, although I did get to hear from some of the men too. All of them were undergoing unpleasant breakups, some were in the midst of divorce and separation; and some even have kids. Although they don’t know one another (I have very diverse groups of friends who do not mix well) but all these close girlfriends of mine were heartbroken, whether they show it or not. Some were on the very verge of emotional breakdown. I was learning a lot from them, especially when I get to hear the stories from both the man and the woman.

In contrast, I also had a fair share of friends in blissful, fulfilling and mutually supportive relationships and marriages. They were such a joy to be with! These women have a different quality about them, different mechanism of dealing with breakdowns, and their men too have very different characteristics. Whenever I observed these happy couples, I was awed by the differences of relational chemistry displayed through their interactions.

The biggest lesson that stood out glaringly to me was this – we are in fact, in a relationship with ourselves. Our partner is merely a mirror to reflect to us who we really are showing up as.

Be a Soulmate unto Thyself

Your partner will treat you the same way that you treat yourself. If you take care of yourself, all of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs, then your partner will show up as that too.  Your insecurities, fears and self judgements towards yourself will be amplified exactly in the same manner in your man. If you want someone to be committed and devoted to you, you first have to be equally devoted and committed to yourself in the first place. How much do you nurture and give to yourself? There is no way someone can love you more than you love yourself. If you want soul mate love, you first have to be a soul mate to yourself.

To heal from anything, you have to feel your emotions

It probably takes another conversation to cover the importance of using emotions to transcend and grow. I can’t over-emphasize how devoid of emotions we are as society, and how important it is to be able to feel them. Consider that, no experience of reality is complete without allowing ourselves to feel. Emotions are energy in motion; when we don’t feel them, its not because we don’t have them; rather, Its because we suppress them. Prolonged suppression leads to depression because these energy gets stuck in your system. And then eventually, life becomes stuck.

Do you know people who are constantly depressed and moody? Its almost like they are afraid to be happy because they are scared that someone will demand something from them if they become happy. That is what we become when we suppress feelings. People who live from this state have very limited resources to give to others, and others who love them or lives with them suffers. Many of these emotionally constipated people continue living quiet lives of desperation, swinging between momentary numbness and despair. Dragging their feet through life, existing, surviving; that is hardly a way to live at all. Whenever there is pain, we have to go through them as authentically as we can; there are plenty of methods to express negative emotions without damage. Yoga is one marvelous tool.

If it doesn’t work, wish them well and move ahead

Love and relationships are not a bed of roses; life isn’t either. It is challenging, although it can be tremendously rewarding. Before you understand yourself, become a better version of yourself and learn how to love better, there could be plenty of breakdowns along the way that are heart wrenching. Sometimes it didn’t work out, sometimes our loved ones die before us, sometimes it was a traumatic breakup. In those times you will feel like the sun will not shine tomorrow, and you can’t find it in you to smile again. But you know what, you just have to move on. With tons of tissue to wipe the tears maybe, but you have to get moving away from the one who is no longer available so that those who DO love and are available for you can come running to you.

Do you remember the last time you saw a crappy movie which was a waste of time and brain cells? How many times did you see that movie – only once isn’t it? You didn’t go back to watch it over and over again – because its simply not worth it. So, all those relationships that didn’t work out, wish them well, and then move on with your life. Know that it is no loss to you because they can’t contribute to you anymore. The fact that a relationship had ended means its value to you is over and a better one awaits you. And, don’t resent or hate either, because it does you no good. You will never know how wonderful your life can get if you stop moving.

Never settle. You are a speck of divine force in action, and you create your destiny.

I believe that the vast majority of people have good intentions, until they show that they do not. People do not intentionally want to hurt others unless they are acutely confused. Don’t blame them, but remind yourself that confused partners cannot make you very happy. Quality men actually want to make their women happy.

It may not seem obvious at first, but its the well developed masculine energy that draws out the beautiful feminine essence in almost every situation of life, and vice versa. The best of men are strong, generous, kind, authentic, steadfast and totally sexy when they dare to go after what they want in life, be it business or love. Of course, I’m not saying that there are no knuckleheads around, but my belief is that these are the minority. Women with a well developed feminine energy have the same attributes with an added flavor of grace and fluidity. As soon as you commit to loving yourself, you will begin to notice the quality people, including quality men in your life. To all of you women who are single and moving towards your soul mate, I feel like saying to you this – Don’t settle for just any man that you can pass time with; go for that man who loves you enough to be a real man for you, who commits to showing up in his best for you, who recognizes the divine in himself and in you, and who is ready to co-create your best life with you together.

Life happens FOR you; never TO you. And for me, life is a celebration. Never miss a chance to party dance or laugh. Big hugs!

Linda Loo (C) 2016

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Bereavement is God’s Love Song

Have you ever lost your loved ones to death before? If you had, I believe this article will resonate deeply with you.

My father was my best friend, soul mate and mentor rolled into one. At 30 years old, I reconnected with him after years of resentment. Over 2.5 years, we completed everything in our relationship. We said all our ‘sorry’s, ‘thank you’s and ‘I love you’s. There is nothing unsaid between us.

It is quite difficult to imagine the level of connection I had with my father. Most people don’t even come close to that in life long marriages, let alone parent-child relationships. Let me try to describe it to you.

My dad and I could discuss about anything under the sun – from complex topics like science, religion, spirituality to something as simple as permaculture. One moment we could be dissecting the multi-layered concept of quantum mechanics, the next moment we would suddenly break into a song and poem. Full moons, sunsets, the sea and forests, these are the grandeurs of nature that we share an immense love for.

Many times dad and I walked silently hand in hand. We could be watching an angry thunderstorm unfold from indoors, or we were lost in the sounds of crickets at the park. It doesn’t matter what we do, or where we go. What matters was that we had each other’s company and we enjoy every moment deeply, while holding hands.

We would watch comedies together and laugh till we cry, or watch sad movies and cried until we laughed. Everything we experienced together reminds us of all the mistakes we had made, me as a daughter, him as a father, and how grateful we were to have each other again.

That is not my boyfriend, or my husband. That person I am talking about is my father.

If I said 2.5 years was enough, I’d be lying. It is too short. Like a kid whose toy had been snatched, I was angry when dad passed. I wish I had more time with him; I wish I could reverse the clock and stop him from going to the place where the accident happened; I wanted to strangle the person who caused his death; I wish I had the sensibility to wake up earlier and reconcile with him earlier, so that I can have 20 years instead of 2.5 years with him; I wish…the wish list never ends.

In the first year after his passing, I sold my apartment because everything in it reminds me of him. Footsteps in the corridor, the sound of keys, the door bell ringing all gave me hope that I would see him returning. After I moved out, his memories followed me. For almost every night, I played back the recordings of the songs I sang when I was out with him. Although I could not hear his voice, i could sense his energy from the moments of recording. It was the closest I could get to having him with me at that time.

Grief never really ends, as I’ve learnt. It comes in waves, often when we least expect it. 3 years after dad passed, the waves of grief began to spread out. In between there are gaps. Gaps for life. I feel life at a much deeper level. I feel people and their emotions; sometimes even emotions that they didn’t know they had.

Gradually, the waves of grief get triggered not only by memories, but new beginnings as well. A milestone in my work, a lover’s loving caress, a perfect sunset, full moon or an intense moment of concentration in nature, these too led to my missing of dad, and tears of joy. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes; sometimes it lasted several hours. In all these moments, all my senses were filled with God’s presence.

And I have come to realize that, as long as I want deeply connected, passionate, fulfilling relationships with people, I cannot avoid pain. I’ve lost count of the times which I’d felt incredible pain, through death or through breakdowns in relationships with people; but I would never choose any other way to live. I know I’d rather feel the pain and feel alive, than to avoid it and slowly die inside. No matter how badly my heart had been broken, there is nothing God cannot fix. Maybe there is nothing to fix at all; because my heart broken does not mean I am not whole. And since I am a speck of God consciousness, how can I be not whole?

And thus I leave you with my little nugget of dealing with grief. Don’t be afraid of it. Face it, go fully into it. Let it engulf, overwhelm and break you. When you are through, pay attention to the bareness, vulnerability of your heart. Stay in that openness, and operate your life from that openness. That is the space of love, from which no acts of violence or terrorism can arise. That is the space from which you too will hear the music that is God’s love song.

(Article is an excerpt and edited from 2013’s version)

(C) Copyright Linda Loo

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An unconventional application of Karma – Take Life, and Run

Karma is defined in the ancient texts as “Action”. In general, this is a concept that outlines the cause and effect of our actions. Karma determines the conditions of existence, it holds no judgement nor forgiveness towards the good or bad, right or wrong; but merely an impersonal universal eternal law that governs the universe.

Human beings cannot live without doing karma, or action. Every action brings a set of consequences. Even if we sat there in silence, and do nothing, our thoughts create a reverberation in the universe.  So, to live is to do karma.

I am especially cautious towards spiritual teachings that uses the term Karma to instill fear and discipline. There have been too much misunderstanding and misuse of this concept to the point that it causes delusion and inertia. Think of people who lament that their fates are acts of karma, convincing themselves that they are helpless victims. Or those who uses karma as an imprisonment, afraid to take actions. As with anything in life, karma has been misappropriated as a bandaid to allow people their escape from themselves.

We need to first get it that the value of any self transformative concept is only as good as the positive impact it brings to your life. By positive impact I mean specifically that which furthers you into yourself, that which makes us closer to God or the Divine part of ourself, that which brings out your best potential, and eventually makes us more connected to other human beings.

So, as much as a believer of the karma-concept can experience moments of enlightenment by contemplation, he can also be a victim of it if he is not careful. You can be overly attached to the concept of karma itself, which itself is another level of suffering.

My recommendation on using the karma-concept is simple. Take action everyday. Make your action slightly bigger compared to yesterday. Take one action per week that you have never taken before – it can be anything like visiting new places, connecting with new people etc. Do something ‘abnormal’ once a week, something that freaks you out. Do these, and then watch what happens in your reality, ponder on it silently at night. And then take action again the next day. You will know what I’m talking about because you will begin to see how you are solely responsible for every single result in your life.

Karma : take it up and run with it.

 

Copyright 2015 Linda Loo