Sophrosyne

How do you want to live your life?

About Injustice

“Do not allow injustice become an acceptable way of life” – Karen Foote

Among the many values and skills that we hope to impart to our children, I personally feel that one of the more important one is the way one faces injustice. Teach them that it is okay to stand up for what you believe in, and to do the right thing; stand by them as they committ to their believe. Nothing is more empowering than to have the courage to stand and speak up for your belief. I find this utterly lacking in today’s society. We want to raise a nation of leaders but yet we refuse them the room to speak up for themselves.

I understand and fully appreciate the difficulties involved, however, it is such an important part of growing up and maintaining one’s self-esteem. If you are wronged and you choose to swallow the injustice; you are giving out 2 messages. To others, you are saying: I do not value who I am, I have no self-esteem, and I have no mind of my own. To yourself, you are saying: I do not love me enough to fight for me, I am worthless.

Do not teach your child that it is okay and acceptable to be a doormat. Love them enough to empower them with the ability to fight for themselves. It is never too early to start, the seed of self worth you sow today will blossom into a thriving tree of life that is deeply rooted in self-confidence, integrity and personal strength.

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Chocolate ice-cream sings!

 For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible. The following short story   was sent to me by a very good friend. I loved it so much, I had to share it with everyone or anyone who would take the time to read it! Might sound redundant and repetitive to many, but I know that although I claim to live mindfully, I often forget as a result of the hassles of life. If anything, I hope this site can offer you the daily reminder that life is short and is to be enjoyed!

“One day I had lunch with some friends. Jim , a short, balding golfer type about 80 years old, came along with them—all in all, a pleasant bunch. When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, except for Jim who said, “Ice Cream, please. Two scoops, chocolate. I wasn’t sure my ears heard right, and the others were aghast. “Along with heated apple pie,” Jim added, completely unabashed. We tried to act quite nonchalant, as if people did this all the time.. But when our orders were brought out, I didn’t enjoy mine. I couldn’t take my eyes off Jim as his pie a-la-mode went down. The other guys couldn’t believe it. They ate their lunches silently and grinned. The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Jim . I lunched on white meat tuna. He ordered a parfait. I smiled. He asked if he amused me I answered, “Yes, you do, but also you confuse me. How come you order rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible? He laughed and said “I’m tasting all that is Possible. I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should. But life’s so short, my friend, I hate missing out on something good. This year I realized how old I was. (He grinned) I haven’t been this old before.” “So, before I die, I’ve got to try those things that for years I had ignored. I haven’t smelled all the flowers yet. There are too many trout streams I haven’t fished. There’s more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown overhead. There are too many golf courses I haven’t played. I’ve not laughed at all the jokes. I’ve missed a lot of sporting events and potato chips and cokes. I want to wade again in water and feel ocean spray on my face. I want to sit in a country church once more and thank God for His grace. I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast. I want un-timed long distance calls to the folks I love the most. I haven’t cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain. I need to feel wind on my face. I want to be in love again. So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner, then should I die before night fall, I’d say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart’s desire. I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired.” With that, I called the waitress over.. “I’ve changed my mind, ” I said. “I want what he is having, only add some more whipped cream!”

This is my post for you today – Live well, love much & laugh often – Be happy. SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS.

Be mindful that happiness isn’t based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people we like and respect.

Remember that while money talks, CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM SINGS!

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Be the kind of person you want to meet

This little piece of wisdom was shared on my yoga studio’s facebook wall. I was very intrigued by it and thought that I might share it here.

We all have in mind the kind of friends that we want to meet and keep. We impose that on the people we meet, how often do we stop and think about ourselves? I am fortunate that I have wonderful friends who do not place a lot of expectations on me and are happy to be my friend. I am very lucky as well as very humbled by their acceptance. I have mentioned in one of my previous post about the language of love; I actively apply it to my friends and family. I try to observe what they often do for me and return the gesture whenever the opportunity arise.

I am sure the same can be said for meeting new friends. We are attracted to a particular type of person; likewise we attract a certain category of people. There are some people who are an absolute pleasure to meet and you walk away feeling great and glad that you have made the connection. I am suggesting that you too, can be that person.

Have a think about this: What kind of personality appeal to you and why. Like-minded people usually attract each other. Therefore, rather than wait for someone special to come along and inspire you. Why not become the inspiration? It can be done, and it is all up to you.

Choose today to become the person you want to meet!

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When to voice opinions

When it comes to good friends and family members, we feel that we are entitled to say what we feel openly. Afterall, we are doing it for their own good…. aren’t we?

In actual fact, you are not helping at all if your opinion is unsolicited. There were many occassions where I had well meaning friends giving me advice regarding parenting, weight issues, things that I say….. Let me give you something to think about: You choose this friend because of who they are, right? Whatever that they say or do makes them uniquely them right? I totally understand the need to “Improve” on things, but if that means changing the essence of who you grew to love, would you still do it?? We do not put much thought into these ideas. Our intention was good, all we wanted to do was to help them better themselves. However, we fail to realise that if our friends wanted our advice or opinion, they will ask for it. If not, it means that they are happy with whatever they chose to do.

Do not measure their standards with your yardstick. That is not what friendships are about. Friendships are about people with mutual interests and values coming together and enjoying each other’s company. There should be lots of pats on the back and great wine to be shared. If you feel that your friend seemed to have alot of areas that require ‘upgrading’, then maybe you have outgrown that friend already. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the friendship.

Giving unsolicited advice can also erode the friendship. Your good intentions may come across as belittling and non-supportive. A clue that your friend is feeling criticised and unloved is that he/she has been avoiding you. Trust me on this one, no one likes to be told that all their hard work is not up to par. And who are we to say that our supposed ‘improvement’ is definitely going to make it better? If they are happy with it, our duty is to support their decision.

There are of course exceptions to the case. For example:

(1) The basis of your friendship: some of my closest friends are yoga teachers, so they started off as my yoga teachers, then if I am doing something wrong during yoga, of course they are the expert to tell me.

(2) If you are the expert ( I mean recognised) in the field. By all means state your stand but offer it gently and as a alternative view.

(3) If whatever your friend is doing is harming them physically, emotionally, or mentally (e.g. they are in a abusive relationship) and refuse to see it.

Whatever your reasons are for dishing out advice, just beware of the possible repercussions. But if you feel that the cause is worth the risk, then do it. On the last note: here are some pointers on areas that one should never give unsolicited advice: Parenting, weight, relationship, religion, and work.

And remember, friends are to be enjoyed, love them as they are.

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Stop stressing

We all have the tendency to worry about the people around us as well as the things happening around us. It is human nature. We are propelled to stress because: (1) we need to feel needed; (2) we need to be in control; (3) or simply because we can. It has been scientifically proven that stress can cause cancer and other diseases, but we continue to do so because we believe that it is never going to happen to us. WRONG!! It can happen to anyone. No one knows exactly why some people falls sick while others don’t. The scientists claim that stress plays a part, they made a great argument of it. But in reality, no one can say for sure.

Let’s move away from the scientific part of it and focus on the way stress affects our daily lives. It puts a constant frown on our face and a shrill tone in our voices. Other than that, does stressing really help to solve the issues at hand? In my experience , NO, it doesn’t. This was how I explained to my 10 years old son last night when he was stressing because he thought he had lost his school file. He was fretting and pacing but not actually trying to recall when was the last time he saw the file or even just looking for it. I tried to give him a simplified version of how the brain works. I explained that his brain can only do one task at a time, so, if he was stressing and worrying, then it cannot be thinking of where the file can be. I think it worked because he calmed down and was able to recall that he actually left it in school.

It is the same for us as adults. The morale to this story: while we are occupying ourselves with stress, it clouds our minds and takes away from us the very tools that we need to find the right solutions. I’m not saying: Let’s all be reckless and waste our lives away. On the contrary, I am saying this: “Stress reduces our ability to cope with situations and unless it is physical combat we are going to be engaging in, stress can be counter-effective. It also prevents us from enjoying the wonders life is offering us at the moment.

It takes conscious effort to become aware that you are allowing stress to occupy your thoughts. Try this method: I use when I am stressed: I ask myself what is the worst that can happen?  Have I done all that I can? Does stressing about it fix the problem? Chances are that I would have done all that I could have, and in the big scheme of things, it is not really such a big deal, except for a bruised ego. And needless to say, stressing does not fix it.

I am being honest here. It is not easy to “talk” yourself out of the stress because we think that we maintain some control if we are still thinking about it; Fallacy number 1. And we also feel less guilty if we refuse to let it go. It helps to give the impression that we are actually responsible people; Fallacy number 2.  Be truthful, other than maintaining the ego, what else does it achieve? Nothing!! It takes a lot of practice to be able to talk yourself out of stress. And if you cannot do it this time, don’t stress, there is always the next time!

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About Me

I was reminded by a friend that it might be useful to provide some information about myself so that visitors to my site will know who owns the site.

I was born in Singapore but have moved back to Melbourne four years ago. I am happily married with 2 wonderful boys. We lived in Singapore for five years and that was when I first started this blog after I completed my Psychology degree and postgrad studies in Counselling. I started this website with the intention of sharing information that I have gathered during the course of my studies as well as from the people I met. The names of the people whom I got my inspirations from will be mentioned in the posts. It took me over 40 years to get to where I am today in terms of learning to accept myself and being grateful for everything that I have. I considered myself very lucky to be given the opportunities that I have been given until now. Therefore, it is time for me to give back. Simple! Hope you will enjoy my posts!

You will notice that there has been a shift in the focus of topics since I started writing. Parenting and whole person wellness has been my greatest interests and passions but as we grow older and as our children grow older, there comes a point in time when you would have done whatever you can in terms of parenting. That is not to say we let them free into the world and stop parenting them altogether. Instead, we trust that the values we have been teaching them all these years has taken root and we allow them to be who they want to be while always being there when they need us.

Therefore, my focus now has shifted to sharing information about how we can take better care of ourselves holistically; mind, body, and spirit. Simply put, how we can have a better experience of our lives in this body of ours. So join me in this exciting journey to a happier, meaningful, and more fulfilled  life!

 

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My Attitude towards life….

This was a piece of wisdom that I picked up from a yoga workshop yesterday. Don’t worry, I am no tree hugger. I just look out for inspiration in different places. This was mentioned in context to attempting inverted poses during yoga practice (e.g. headstands…), but I thought it was really applicable with regards to life as well.

“Life should be lived with patience, confidence, humility, lightness, and a  sense of humour” – Christine Blackwell

Like I mentioned before, the above quote was used in context to yoga so I have changed the word to life instead. Have a think about this and be honest with your answer. Isn’t it all so true. If we could only remember any of these, we would have made our lives so much easier! How often do we do things because:

(1) we have something to prove?

(2) we are afraid of what others might think?

(3) we are concerned about ruining other people’s impression of us?

And the list goes on…. But you know what? The truth is, other people don’t care! We think they do, but really they don’t!! This is such an important message that I feel the need to emphasis it whenever I have the opportunity!

Good news is: We can all practice patience, confidence, humility, lightness and humour. We just need to harness a teensy bit of mindfulness. By constantly reminding ourselves that these are the principles that we hope to live by. Things do not just happen because we say so, it is about creating a habit and before you know it, you are already well on the way!

Apply it like this: It takes time to create mindful awareness, so do be patient with yourself; but be confident that you will eventually get there; handle your obstacles with humility; face your barriers with lightheartedness; and lastly, learn to laugh at yourself, you will find that it makes the journey much enjoyable!

 

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My alternate source of inspiration

When we think inspiration, we automatically link it to successful businessman; the likes of Bill Gates or Richard Branson or atheletes like Lance Armstrong. There is a very large group of ‘successful people’ we do not give sufficient credit to; The actors and actress. I am not saying: Get out there and become groupies. All I am suggesting is this; put aside the glamor and limelight, and look at all the hardwork they have to put in to immerse themselves into the roles and to maintain the way they look. It is part and parcel of their career that they have to be constantly in the limelight and be scutinized by the public. I suppose you can say that is the price of stardom. But really, they are no different than the rest of us. They still get fat if they overeat and they suffer the same ailments that we do.

I can already hear the voices of people who are against viewing movie stars as role models make the following comment: “They make so much money, if I were to be paid that, I can do that too!” But honestly, can you??

One may ask where did all these thoughts come from? I was one of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to perform on stage before. Therefore, I can say without a doubt that it took a lot of hard work to get to where they are today. Their job is so over-glamourised that everything is obscured. It is all well and fabulous to have thousands of adoring fans, but can you imagine the immense pressure you have to face in order to live up to each and every one of their expectations? That aside, the focus of the today’s post is this: To be a mega-star, there are a lot of hard work and determination behind the scene that we do not see.

I went to the movies yesterday because I had to see Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages. He is one of those who works really hard! His personal life aside, we are all entitled to choose what to believe in and how to live our lives. He, to me, is the epiphany of dedication and determination! Of course, he is one of a few actors that I really admire. He inspires me because he is relentless in his pursuit for perfection in the roles that he undertakes. I really applaud that! Too many of us give up too soon.

The message for today is: Even the mega-stars need to work really heard for what they have today, then why do so many of us think that we do not need to make as much effort to succeed? If we look around ourselves and drop the envy and judgement; you will find that there are many people around us that are worthy to be our inspiration, and they are just normal everyday real people, not those on the covers of self-help books.

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Choose living now over fear

This statement was not my idea but that of a good friend:

“Do not let the avoidance of pain get in the way of living life” – Joanne Chua

Isn’t this so profoundly simple?? Pain in this instance can be referred to as physical pain or emotional pain caused by failure or rejection.

Have a think about this: Do you find that you are not as adventurous as you were 10 years ago? I’m saying this from personal experience – The older I get, the more afraid I am of trying new physical activities. Why? Because we know that we are not as young as we used to be, and we do not heal as good any more. But that should not stop you from trying out new things. Just need to be realistic about it. Being realistic is different from being a scaredy cat. The wisdom is in knowing the difference.

But in this case, the statement is referring more to the heart, mind and ego. In order to preserve these 3 parts of us, we avoid anything that may even remotely suggest any negative emotional impact. Overcome these 3 barriers and I assure you that you will have a great time in this life. No matter how hard we try, things happen, the best we can do is not to avoid it. It is all about our perception of it. Is worrying about the worst that can happen worth missing out on the entire experience? It is by Grace that we are where we are and living the good life that we have. If you are able to let go of the ego and allow life to take you where it chooses to. It is all going to be worth it!

Again, I know this is a tall order, but pride is nothing but an emotion we think too highly of. I’m not saying be shameless and pride-less. I am merely suggesting that if there are occasions where all it took was for you to let go a little of your ego. Do it! It is an exhilarating experience! Choose life! Not the fear of looking bad in front of others, or worrying about how people will look at you or what if your investment is greater than the other party. If you decide that this is the experience you choose, then take the leap already. We do not know what will happen tomorrow. So, why not live right here, right now??

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Follow through

Another important reminder for myself and fellow parents out there: Follow through.

Everytime you set a task or put forth a threat (e.g. If you do not do as I ask, you will not get your TV privilege back). There are many times when we say things to our children, either to seek coorperation or elicit good behaviour; we fail to achieve the outcome we want. Reason? Simple – We do not follow through. As adults, time flies, there are so many things that require our attention at various points of the day. Therefore, we often make comments but never really put in the effort to make sure it was carried out.

And the message that we send out to the children? We are essentially telling them this: ‘mum/dad will always say certain things, but there is a high chance that they will forget and it will all blow over’. Are we all guilty of it? Of course we are! Or sometimes, it is just easier to not follow through, because that takes time and effort. And trust me, the children knows when to ask for things. When you are busy on the phone or distracted. They will sneak in and pester you til you give in.

Try this out, do your best to follow through the next time you make a comment. You only need to do it a few times consistently and they will get the picture (which will last for a couple of weeks) and they will try their luck again. It is important for children to learn that in the real world, people will follow through with their threats (e.g. Bosses). It is better for them to learn this at home first.  And they will also gain respect for their parents because they know that they will do what they said they will. Teach them the importance of keeping their word. If you say that you will do it, then you will. Words are only empty noises if there are no action to accompany them. And it will take considerable effort on your part but you will be imparting to your children the importance of maintaining the integrity of their words. It is a very important value to possess, unfortunately not practiced very often. Start now, make your every word count!

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