Orientation Week

22 Jul

Vice Chancellor's Welcome Speech

Vice Chancellor’s Welcome Speech


Today’s Day 1 of Orientation Week at my new uni, and boy, I am already loaded with information: what classes to enroll for, where to get help, what do I need do, when do I need to pay my fees, etc etc etc.

But it is also very exciting to be studying again, after having a 3 months break. Well, not exactly break, but transitioning time. (In case you are new to my blog, I just moved from Malaysia to Australia over a month ago). So now it feels like I’m getting “back on track” again.

It is especially exciting as I have always wanted to study in an international university. I completed my first undergraduate in Malaysia and never had the experience of studying abroad. I used to think that going back to school and studying abroad is just a distant dream. But now it is all happening!

Thus, it is not surprising that I am one of those sitting really erect and excited at the opening ceremony, trying to take in as much as I can and just grinning like a cat who got its cake! I know what you are thinking: NERD. And yes, I proudly admit that I am one. You won’t believe the flutters I feel in my stomach when the Vice Chancellor welcomed us to the uni. Or when a faculty member greeted us and gave us a taste of the Indigenous People’s tradition when they welcome someone into their circle. I just feel this tug in my heart: I really want to be part of all these. :)

Orientation Week spells so many things for different people: a time to meet new people, to get to know the school, to get oriented or even, one more week of holidays before school begins. But for me, it is really a time to gently bask in the happiness and the knowing that: dreams do come true!

A faculty member welcoming us with a traditional Indigenous instrument

A faculty member welcoming us with a traditional Indigenous instrument

Emotion = Energy in Motion

15 Jul

Emotion = Energy in Motion.

I cannot remember where did I pick this concept up, but I thought that it was pretty cool when I first came across it. And then I put it on the back burner of my mental shelf and forgot all about it.

Until right now.

My fiance and I was discussing about the concept of emotions and whether all emotions that we typically associate to as “negative” (such as anger, frustration, or fear) are necessarily “bad” or could there be gift in these emotions. I am particularly concern about this because I have been experiencing a fair amount of these “negative” emotions with all the changes that I am going through. And it certainly does not help when I am continuously bombarded with messages saying that I will attract whatever that I am feeling, and if I am feeling angry and fearful, I will only attract more of it. Urgh!

And therefore, I am so thankful for Rev. Ronald Cruickshank of Pathway of Love Australia for clarifying this concept. According to Rev. Ron, emotions are just energy. For instance, the intense emotion that we feel about poverty can be used in a constructive manner to eradicate poverty, or, it could be used in a destructive manner to blame everyone from the government to the corporations to the man on the street. This intense emotion can then be labeled as passion in the former instance and as anger in the latter example. In other words, there are NO positive or negative emotions. Emotions are emotions. Period. They are just energy that we experience. It is how we direct those energy that makes the difference. And what a beautiful reminder this is :)

A New Beginning

8 Jul

Over the years, I’ve made many new beginnings: new jobs, new friendships, new home, new career direction, etc. Out of these new beginnings, moving to a new country has got to top the list.

Before coming over to Perth, I have imagined that this transition would be a great big adventure, with loads of exciting explorations and discoveries to be made. To be honest, I thought that it would be like going on a holiday which will end up with me continuing my studies with one of oldest and most prestigious universities in the country.

Yet, I soon realize that this isn’t a holiday trip that ends up with sweet memories to bring home. I am living here – for good. Suddenly, from the comfort of having our own apartment, we are now sharing a house with three other housemates. From the convenience of having a car, we now rely on walking and the public transport to get us everywhere. A journey that takes 20 minutes by car is now extended to more than an hour with public transportation. And I will always remember the day where we got lost taking the wrong bus, and I ended up eating my lunch at dinner time. By then, I was cold, starving, exhausted, and suffering from a severe neckpain. I did not even have a phone or internet connection then, so I felt completely disconnected from the world that I was accustomed to. Needless to say, I felt pretty sorry for myself that night. Suddenly, a new beginning does not sound as fun anymore.

That was 3 weeks ago. Now, I’ve gotten my phone and internet connection (hurray!), became more familiar with the bus and train routes, got to know my housemates, joined some local meetup groups, visited the university that I’m enrolling with, AND, we got ourselves new bicycles! :D After a month of being here, I’m finally finding myself feeling a sense of comfort and a sense of liking being here. That feeling of “Hmmm… I think I can live here” starts to emerge – and it is very comforting to feel this way.

I am still not sure if I properly belonged here although I do not think that it is a reasonable expectation to feel that way, when I have only been here for a month. A wise friend has been reminding me to be kind and gentle with myself, to give myself time and space to get acquainted with this new place and find our footings. In time, we will feel properly settled.

So while I still catch myself wanting certain things to happen already, by falsely believing that I can only feel at peace when so and so happen, I know that this is not true. This experience is really training me to take a step back, breathe deeply and surrender whatever fear and attachment to outcomes I have to my Higher Power. And I believe that one day, the learning and growing that I am experiencing within me today will only bring me the sweetest memories.

Greetings from Down Under :)

1 Jul

G’day mates! Ya’ doin’ gurd today? (In case you are wondering, I’m trying to sound Aussie, but please pardon me if I’m not great with this, yet! :P).

Today is the 1st of July. Can you believe that? It is now officially the second half of 2013. OMG (Another one of my Aussie-wannabe attempt – ahem)! Well, if you are wondering why am I trying to sound like an Australian, as well as why it has been 2 months since my last post, that is because I have moved to Perth, Western Australia, the most isolated city in the world! (Hmm… that sounded wrong, like I am so keen to run away from the world and you guys and that’s not true!)

In any case, you heard me right. Together with my fiance, I’ve moved to a new country to begin a brand new life. And over the last few weeks, we’ve been busy settling down and slowly getting into the groove of living here. Is it exciting? You bet! Is it daunting? Absolutely! There have been difficult moments as well as good times. But I’ve been here for almost a month, and I’m definitely slowly and surely falling in like with the city. Yep, I’m a cautious lover and I take time to warm up to things. So, slowly falling in like is good.

What about you? How have you been and what have you been up to? Feel free to drop me a note – I would love to hear from you. It sure feels good to be back (online) again :)

One of my first few views of the city......

One of my first few views of the city……

Life Lesson #3: I learnt that we do not make changes because it is easier to stay with the pain that we are familiar with

30 May

Ah… who among us have not stayed with something (whether it is a job, a relationship, a perspective, a behaviour) that is not serving us simply because it is deemed to be the easier choice? I know I have certainly done that many times in my own life.

I used to work as a change management consultant, which meant that I help large corporations navigate through changes that are being introduced to them. So while I am deemed to be an expert of change, I used to joke that I am perfect for the job not because I am an ambassador of change, but because I hate changes! Due to my own resistance to change, I can completely emphatize with the resistance and challenges faced by these companies.

I do not know about you, but changes (even good ones) are scary for me. I remembered going back to school last year, and how freaked out I felt even though I have had this dream of retraining in psychology for the longest time! And now, I am going through another change of moving to a whole new country in a week’s time, and I feel like I am jumping up and down inside me all of the time. AAAAHHHHH! Yet, the good thing about me is that I will make the change, even though it freaks the hell out of me. It is something like Susan Jeffers’ famous “feel the fear and do it anyway” mantra. After having enough of feeling my fears, it then becomes more comfortable to take the plunge to see what it is like on the other side.

So, what is it that you know you need to change but you are resisting simply because it is easier to stay with the familiar? Do share! And if you have any strategies of overcoming fears of change, I would also like to hear from you.

Have a wonderful week ahead! Adios!

My experience of how the “stuff” in our lives deplete our energy

7 May

It has been almost a month since my last post, as I have been completely swamped in the past month: sitting for my exams, packing up and getting ready for my upcoming move in June, finalizing the accounts and closing my company, sorting out the vendors and details for my wedding end of the year and generally tying up all the loose ends. Phew, it has really been quite a month!

The main activity for me in the past month was to declutter and pack up all my stuff that I have accumulated in the past (almost) 3 decades. I have always enjoyed the process of decluttering and organizing, and was actually looking forward to doing this activity (I know, I am weird!) :) To me, completing a decluttering cycle is like completing a detoxifying cleanse: it leaves me feeling light and high!

However, what surprised me was how absolutely drained and exhausted I felt when I had all the items in my house laid out to be sorted in 3 stacks: to give away, throw or pack. Although I am not a shopper and I have been decluttering through the years, I was still stunned by the sheer number of things that I have accumulated: that self-help book I just “needed”, these chiropractic tools that I needed to try to treat my neckpain, that travel memorabilia that I just “need” to buy as a travel keepsake, this fitness equipment that I “know” would help me in losing weight, etc. With every item laid out in front of me together with a shipping limitation (which meant that I needed to choose what to bring with me vs what to be thrown/ given away), I was confronted with the sheer number of things that I thought I “needed”, but in reality, was something that I have never used, no longer use and will never use again.

I never knew how much power the things in our lives hold over us, until I had it all laid out before me. It was as if I was this energy generator with multiple cords attached to me from each item I owned, and each item was slowly draining the energy from me. With more items added to my life, more energy gets depleted.

This experience was relevatory and humbling. It made me realize how little we really “need”. And in fact, the lesser we have, the more we are able to appreciate and experience whatever it is that really matters. The next time I open my purse, I am going to remind myself of this experience and ask myself: do I really really really need to buy this thing and “carry” its energy with me?

This is all for now. Do share or leave any comments as I would love to hear from you. Have a wonderful week ahead!

Lesson #2: I learnt that we may not always know our passion or purpose, but we can always start eliminating what we do not like, look at what we like and go from there.

12 Apr

It has been an interesting week for me. I had my pre-wedding photoshoot on Wednesday and got to be a model for a day, which was surprisingly quite fun! And lucky me, I have another photoshoot scheduled next week, as we were not able to complete the shoot due to the rain. I was initially disappointed that we had to call off the photoshoot midway. I really dislike a change in plan. However, it is interesting to observe how the situation we perceive changes as we we change our perception towards the situation. Now, I am all excited about getting dolled up again. Perhaps the photos would be even better this time as my fiance and I have had a day of “practice”. :) Today is also the last lecture day for the semester. Next week, the examination begins so I am still not off the hook. After that, I will be moving, so this is also my last semester with my current course. How time flies! It has been almost 8 months now since I left the corporate world to pursue this dream of mine. This brings to the topic I’d like to share today.

I have often wondered: what is my passion? What is my purpose on earth? I have met individuals who seemed to be living with so much passion and certainty about their life’s direction. At times, I really wished that I could be like them, and I have wondered how does it feel to be so certain about onself. At the same time, I have also met many people who do not know what they like and where to even begin. I used to be like like these latter group. I used to be so paralyzed by fears of making a mistake. However, these days, I am really blessed that I now hover between these two groups: I may not be completely certain, but I do know a lot more about what I do not like, what I do like and what am I inclined towards.

For many years, whenever I mention that I want to return to school to pursue psychology, my mother would questioned my decision. Although I now understand that this is her way of supporting me to make the right decision, it hurt a lot. Because the truth is: I do not know for sure whether this path is the right one for me. Her concerns and questions actually mirrored mine and so I feel even more afraid.

Retraining in psychology may be the right decision for me at this point in time. And perhaps it may not be. But I do know that psychology is something that I want to do. And so, I have to give it a go. Yes, I am relieved to find that I am interested and enjoy most of my classes. But it does not mean that my life becomes automatically happy and perfect and stress-free. I still have my ups and downs and I actually need to be vigilant in managing my mind to remain happy and balanced.

You see, our likes and dislikes are really our guiding compass. As we step towards something that we naturally like and step away from those that we do not, we are essentially moving closer and closer to what we really want. It does not mean that we will not make mistakes. Believe me, I have made my shares of mistakes. And I have paid for my mistakes and it hurt like hell. That said, I can start over again. As long as I am still breathing, I can start over again. What’s more, in the long run, these “mistakes” will not matter. And when it does, you will know that you have had the opportunity to learn an invaluable life’s lesson.

One of my favourite teacher, writer, queen of positive affirmations and the founder of HayHouse Publishing, Louise L. Hay, frequently affirms this: only good lies before me. I find this affirmation very comforting as it helps me feel that everything happens for a reason and everything is perfect. It also gives me the courage, to take the next step and the next step, towards whatever that is calling for me. And I hope that it does the same for you too.

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