Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Timely Message

This was forwarded to me by Sonny - he knows what I'm going through right now, and this is just what I needed to be reminded of. I'm in the middle of a huge misunderstanding between my brother and father. Actually they both want the same thing - but not communicating, not getting through to each other. Aaarghhh!

I've copied this from a site called Daily Om. To visit, click on the title of this post.

October 30, 2006
Going Through The Opening
Contracting Before Expanding

Sometimes our lives contract before they expand. We may be working hard on ourselves spiritually, doing good in the world, following our dreams, and wondering why we are still facing constrictions of all kinds-financial, emotional, physical. Perhaps we even feel as if we've lost our spirituality and are stuck in a dark room with no windows. We may be confused and discouraged by what appears to be a lack of progress. But sometimes this is the way things work. Like a caterpillar that confines itself to a tiny cocoon before it grows wings and flies, we are experiencing the darkness before the dawn.

When things feel tight, it's easy to panic or want to act in some way to ease the feeling of constriction. We might also spin our wheels mentally, trying to understand why things are the way they are. However, there is nothing we need to do at this time other than to be patient and persevering. We can cling to the awareness that we are processing the shift from one stage to another, and the more we surrender to the experience, the more quickly we will move through the tightness into the opening on the other side. Just like a baby making its way down the birth canal, we may feel squeezed and pushed and very uncomfortable, but if we remember that we are on our way to being born into a new reality, we will find the strength to carry on.

Even as we endure the contractions, we can find peace within ourselves if we remember to trust the universe. We can look to the natural world for inspiration as we see that all beings surrender to the process of being born. In that surrender, and in the center of our own hearts, is a willingness to trust in the unknown as we make our way through the opening.

Ok - after reading this, I realise that maybe this mis-communication and the blow up I had with my brother needed to happen before we can heal, grow as a family and move on. For me now, I am challenged to practise all that our trainings stand for : win-win, openness, trust, and most of all, not giving up.

As I write this, I am reminded of what Neal Donald Walsh said : all our thoughts, words and actions are motivated by either one of two things - love or fear. I have many times fround this to be true. Now I see both my dad and brother are operating from fear. And there is certainly a lot to fear - if we don't surrender to God.

I remember also Shahnaz said to pray for two things : 1. for understanding, and 2. to have the strength to face whatever God gives.

So, with this, I think I am now ready to plunge into the day and focus on work, work, work!
I wish all of you a great day ;)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Small Things That Say A Lot

You can tell a lot about a country and its people by looking at their handicrafts and the small things they do in everyday life. Just look at this : from the flowers to the hotel room key and the slippers - everything is so artistic and created with care. It says to me that this is a culture who values beauty and artistry. And time ... they know how to handle time. They take the time to create all this. In my everyday rush, this would be inconceivable.

These are offerings that every shop (and taxi!) put out every morning. Imagine the effort put into making them every single day!

Look at their local handicraft. it's not just quaint or rustic. It's gorgeous! These are things I would actually wear, and not just keep as souvenir. Of course, when I see shop after shop after shop all selling more or less the same thing, I don't stop at every one anymore. Also, I didn't want to spend toooo much on shopping this time.

More later ...
oh I must share this story I heard from a friend about Cambodia ... later

Monday, October 23, 2006

This is the life...

Sigh ... floating without a care, at peace, at one with all...

In Bali, I would wake up at 6am (without any alarm) and it's bright daylight outside. I'll have a leisurely breakfast : about two hours drinking one pot of kopi keras, one pot of warm water, and one pineapple juice. By that time, Sonny would probably be up as well, pointing out that I haven't moved an inch in hours. Move? Why need to move? I was so comfortable just reading and day-dreaming that I don't notice time passing.

Actually, for the first few days, we felt that time was moving sooooo slowly. We'd be lazing and lazing and hey... it's only 9am! Oooh, I loved that. Although I'm a morning person, I love slow and gentle awakenings.

This is the beautiful Alit Beach Bungalow in Sanur. Very reasonably priced at US$30 a night. Huge grounds, over 100 bungalows (I think). Very, very nice. Here's a shot of the pool, and the public beach beyond the wall.

More later

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Remember this doggie?

No one responded to the posters we put up. My vet advised me to lure him into a cage somehow and bring him in - but he has grown and we couldn't find a cage big enough for him. And he's not always in our house. He comes and goes as he pleases.

I was getting worried because we were going away. What to do with the little fella? And his wound was smelling real bad.

Then my husband came up with what I thought was a great idea : call the SPCA, ask them to catch and treat him, and then we'll pay for all the costs incurred and adopt him.

So Sonny called them. Now guess what they said?!

First they advised him to call the Bandaraya dog catchers. Sonny said 'no' cos we didn't want the dog to be shot and killed. Then SPCA said, if they get their people to catch him, they would also put him to sleep! Sonny tried to explain to them again and again that we were willing to adopt him - just want him to be given medical aid. But nope, they stood their ground that if they took him in, they would put him to sleep.

I must say I am very disappointed. Yes, I understand that they are overcrowded and under-funded, under-staffed, and all that. But here we are willing to adopt, and they are not willing to help.

Well anyway, we left for Bali and I comforted myself with the thought that animals in the wild would somehow survive such injuries, so maybe he too would be able to heal himself.

When we came home, I found that he is still around, still coming and going as he pleases - and his wound seems to have dried up. There's no more smell and he's running away from me faster than ever. Think he's put on some weight too.

So I guess we'll just let him be. Our home is open to him for as long as he wants. But if his owner tracks him down, I'll be happy to let him go.

I'm Back!

Hi-yo! I'm back from 7 glorious days in the blissful bubble of Bali.

It was my first holiday in two years (since we set up 95%), and it only hapened because one day about six months ago, the guru besar insisted that I was getting too grouchy and he forced (well, almost) me to book the air asia tickets immediately. It was for my own wellbeing and also that of 95%. Or maybe he wanted to book HIS Bali holiday too haha!
Anyway, I am so glad I did. It was just what I needed.

The tickets were really good value : total of RM505 for two pax return! And my husband found some great resorts on the net, which were relatively affordable. We stayed in Alit Beach Bungalow in Sanur, then moved to Honeymoon Guesthouse in Ubud. My husband palyed the part of Japanese tourist and took anout a zillion photos - forgot to get them from him so will post them later.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wilson wins a Bronze!

Wilson (with no surname) won a Bronze at the Crowbar Awards in Singapore last night. This is his winning entry - an ad for video rentals. Congratulations Wilson, may there be many more awards to come!

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Necklace

My dear friend Chong Tao Fatt (who has dropped his Chinese name in favour of an English one : "Long Hair") sent this story to me - I haven't read this one before and the message is a powerful one. Here's the story, I'll share my experience after ...

The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five.  Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh mommy please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?"

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five.  That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself.  Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last, she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath.  Mother said that if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny,

"Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me. She's my very favorite."

"That's okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night." And, he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh Daddy, not my pearls.  But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you."  And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said,

"Here, daddy, this is for you."  

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket, pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls, and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.

So it is, with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures. Isn't God good? Are you holding onto things that God wants you to let go of?

Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities that you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do believe this one thing. God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place.

Good one eh? Here's my sharing : I once did a training where over 150 participants were playing musical chairs. I noticed that I got knocked out fast because I didn't want to let go of MY chair until I spotted another empty chair. Of course by the time I saw the empty chair, someone else who was closer grabbed it before me - that hit me like a ton of bricks! Being afraid to let go of what little I have showed me that I am not willing to risk, and therefore, I don't move ahead. Being attached to what I have will leave me with just that - what I already have, nothing new.

Now at 95%, what I see is that I still have a tendency to hold on to playing a 'comfortable' game - afraid to take on a bigger challenge cos I'm not willing to risk losing what I already have - like the girl in the story, this is something that I have worked so hard to earn.

Well, I've been getting some explosive coaching from guru besar (grads - you know what I mean, right? You only have him for 8 weeks, he's been wiith me for two years!) and finally I acknowledged that if I keep holding on to the small success that 95% has achieved, that is all I will ever have. It won't grow.

Now am I willing to let go of this small success (fake pearls) and have faith that something bigger (the real pearls) will come along? I don't know if the real pearls are waiting - but I am willing to let go and create space for a new experience. I went to bed deeply troubled one night and woke up realising that even if I don't trust myself, I trust God.

Do I know whether I can do it? I don't know. And I really mean I don't know. It doesn't mean 'I think I cannot'. Like I always tell our grads : if you don't know, do first, then you'll know whether you can or not.

In my case, I trust that God would not put me in this position if I was not ready. And although I don't know the mechanics, my intention is clear - 100% intention to give the best training ever and make a difference to thirty new participants.

Then when I told my still sleeping husband all this - he, still wrapped in his blanket with his eyes still closed, mumbled "You should trust Shahnaz also" and my response was Hhmmmphhh!!!

Ok la, put my pride and fears aside, that guru besar is really a good coach. I am blessed to have him constantly challenging me and constantly believing that I can do all these great things that I can't imagine myself doing. So Shahnaz, if you can be bothered to read my blog (if you can overcome your dislike of reading haha) Thank You!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Terry Fox Run Photos .. whoohoo!

Oh wow, this really made my day! The photographer Terence Wong Kin Hoong who took some shots of us at the run actually emailed them to me. Yay! He remembered and even took the time to select, resize, dig up my email address and send them over. And he doesn't even know us. I am deeply, deeply touched.

In the pix above, from left : My best friend Agnes, our maid Robena, Mom, sis in law Phyllis pushing wheelchair, my 'golf buddy' and 95% partner Peter in black at back, and me. My niece Maxine is behind me.

Remember my earlier entry on how strangers came together and became instant friends - all because of a common cause? Well, this young man is proof of it.

Terence, bless you for your thoughtfulness and for reinforcing my faith. Your talent has made my day and I'm sure Mom, Dad, Sonny and whole family, and the Gans, will be thrilled to bits to see these pixes. Thank you lots!

Here we are all striding with renewed vigour cos Agnes just informed us that now, after 30 mins or so, we are starting to burn fat! From left : Robena, Peter pushing Mom, me, Agnes and our favourite young lady Summer.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Giant Called "Kici"

This fella is really amazing : first he was a late entry to AWARD school. He missed the entry deadline, but managed to persuade the organiser in Oz to allow him in. Now, he's got two of his ideas selected for exhibition at the AWARD school graduation last Thursday. The 26 participants were given ten briefs to work on, and only the best ideas for each brief were selected. Not an easy thing to achieve - but the way this guy pushed himself, he's bound to fly.

He's a great demonstration that anything is possible if you have the will and the guts. I'm very proud of you, Joescher. And from our meeting last week, I know CC+J will be all that you intend it to be. I don't know if you still use your nickname 'kici' - may not be relevant anymore cos you're on your way to be a big name in advertising.

Congratulations also to Chee Chiaw - wow, you look hot in the graduation pix that Joescher emailed to me.