Category Archives: Food for Thoughts and Other Deep Stuffs

A Journey Into My Past Lives

Sometimes people or things come into our lives that are meant to create a point of stopping for us. They will not allow us to move forward without realizing that change is needed. Nothing ever goes according to our plans but everything goes according to the Universe’s plan. – We Don’t Meet Anyone by Accident, 5 Types of Cosmic Connections by Shelly.

Buddhism is big on the concept of reincarnation and karma. I grew up in a Buddhist family so naturally my father would sometimes sprout words of wisdom and at times he would gladly entertain my one million questions of “whys”. But his answers were never enough to quench my thirst for knowledge. I was always spiritually curious, partly driven by my trying to understand the sufferings of being the rejected one in the family, and another part by my numerous prophetic dreams and a mysterious voice that seems to come from within myself. And no, I am not hallucinating nor am I suffering from schizophrenia. A dream I saw at the age 14 cemented my curiosity for past lives.

‘We were out at the sea on a yacht. The only people I recognized were my father and uncle. The rest of the party were strangers. Men and women, some with blond hair, others brown but we were all Caucasians, not Chinese. A few of us went swimming in the deep sea when someone screamed from the upper deck: “Jellyfish! Jellyfish!”. We quickly scrambled up the yacht. I turned around and witnessed the biggest jellyfish I had ever seen in my own life. It was as big as the yacht. It was a spectacular sight.’

I woke up and went downstairs to look for my father, I was so excited to tell him I recalled what I thought was my childhood memories, and my father looked at me as if a tree had sprouted from my head. Then it hit me: I had never been on a yacht, much less with my father and uncle. It was just a stupid dream. But it was so real. So real I couldn’t shake that feeling as if I had lived through it.

How in the world would a jellyfish grew to the size of a yacht? Isn’t jellyfish those tiny pretty little things that I see around the aquarium tanks. I was trying to convince myself I probably had a very vivid imagination. It was until more than 5 years ago I came across an article on Lion’s mane jellyfish, which can grew up to 2.3 metres in diameter. That knowledge convinced me I probably had flashes of images from my past life. Besides, I was never a blond woman in this lifetime. But in that dream, I was blond. And I was a kept woman and my father was my lover in my past life.

After my father passed away in 2013, I returned to Turkey to start a new life. I was in the process of a very traumatic divorce and was looking forward to a fresh start in my new job. The moment I walked through the company’s door, I knew I would meet someone important in that company. It came in the form of a young man.

He walked past my cubicle but I did not catch his face. I was staring at his back, trying to figure out why he looked so familiar. But we had never met. I asked around who was he. They whispered back to me that he was going to be the future boss, he was here to learn how to run the company I was working in. A voice told me we would later become friends. True enough, we were introduced by my Japanese colleague.

When I looked into his eyes, I saw my own soul. He was familiar. I knew him somewhere long time ago but I couldn’t understand what I was seeing or feeling. We became close friends and my clients started asking me if we were more than friends. We were not but he was so familiar I couldn’t comprehend where I knew him. He also found me very comfortable to be around with. Until the day I made a foolish mistake by telling him of my blog and writing about him in my blog (which I later removed and was remorseful for being mean in my writings). He threatened to harm me and my son, which threw me in an uncontrollable fits of fear. I couldn’t sleep and sought help with a psychologist to process my fears. Despite his subsequent apologies for being too harsh on me and my therapy, I still couldn’t shake off the jittery fears. Subsequently, I sent him a message telling him I needed someone who could support and protect me, and so I quit abruptly and left the company, hoping to sooth my fears. But the fears did not go away. I saw him regularly in my dreams. Dreams of his future. Dreams of him trying to communicate with me. It almost drove me insane. I was overwhelmed. I went to countless fortune tellers, tarot readers, coffee readers, trying to help me understand why I am seeing him in my dreams. No one could give me an answer. He lived in my subconscious, that was the reply. Thank you very much, I would like to know how to get him out of my consciousness, but no one could give me a solution. And so my sufferings continued. And no, I was not in love with him. I just want to know what role he had played in my life. The dreams kept coming and it was overbearing and overwhelming. I needed a solution. I asked the same question for over two years. But the Universe was never silent. This time, he came in an even weirder dream.

‘I was a painter. He clumsily packed up all my paintings and was throwing me out of his house. His father never approved of our relationship. They were the wealthy family and his father couldn’t accept me as an artist. He couldn’t stand up for love, he couldn’t fight for me and so he bowed to his father’s wishes and threw me out. He couldn’t even look me in the eye. In the process of throwing me out, he destroyed my paintings and I was left with no means to support myself. I was left penniless, broken-hearted and in utter humiliation, I was simply left on the street. An even more powerful and richer man took pity on my plight and took me in as a kept woman. I had to live with the shame of being the other woman for the rest of my life. I lived upstairs and yet he still couldn’t look me in the eye.’

I was starting to see more of my past life because I constantly asked for it. But I still couldn’t figure out why he was stuck in my subconscious. It had to be more than that. Indeed, it is.

Around the same time, I was starting to read about people with near death experience. One particular lady named Anita Moorjani, who had cancer and died but came back to again with a strong message on knowing the purpose in your life. (You can hear her talk on TED Talk of her story: Dying to be me!) At the same time, I was researching more on Akashic records – everyone of us has a soul record of our past lives and our lessons we had learnt and those to be learnt in this lifetime. I had to know who he was. I had lost contact with this guy, but I needed to know why he kept coming into my dreams. And I was starting to sound like a love-sick girl who couldn’t get over a crush. But I am 100% sure I am not in love with him and I know I don’t sound very convincing to others. In my desperate attempts for my search for answers, I sought help from an intuitive healer, Kate Strong. She claimed to be able to read Akashic records and this is what I have got.

This lifetime was 50AD in the East Coast of the US. I was a male aged 20. I was an authoritive figure, a gifted native American man. I was a seer, gifted with vision and inner sight. I was sheltered because of my gifts and so I never became a warrior. He was a clan member and had a lot of darkness in him. He came to me, seeking my help. I used the Light to heal him successfully and so I was moved into the realm of a healer. But I was frightened by what I saw when I healed him. I was then killed in an attack, perhaps by another tribe, simply because I was singled out as gifted. I attracted attention to myself when I helped him. And I died because of that. My soul couldn’t get over my fears, overwhelm feeling and feelings of being trapped. I was angry. Why didn’t you protect me? Why couldn’t you protect me? I never learnt to be a warrior. I never knew how to protect myself. And I died saving him.’

My life now makes sense: the prophetic dreams; my ability to read the energies imprinted onto objects and photographs and thus the intentions of the carrier; I was told by two different people I could be a healer – my hands carry a lot of energies. My abilities carried over into this lifetime. It now makes sense why I felt fear, overwhelmed and trapped in that guy’s presence, and why I found him so familiar. My soul recognized him and it changed my life completely since. I also understood why I had to marry my ex husband, who went on to become alcoholic and abusive towards me (he probably was the one who actually killed me in that lifetime), why I sensed deep remorse on my ex part, why I suddenly developed nummular eczema only in my ex’s presence, how I am free of eczema for the past 8 years, why recently a coin-like scar appeared on my chest (most likely it was the imprint of being speared to death) and why I had to come to Turkey – to seek closure. In the process, I have learnt to take care and protect myself. I had learnt to be independent. In both lifetimes, I trusted him to fight for me but in both lifetimes, he let me down. In the process, I became a warrior instead – I chose to go solo and became a single parent. I learnt to take responsibilities for myself and my son, and I am doing beautifully well at it. Most importantly, I learnt to let go of the attachment and desire of him protecting me. For many years, I was seeking answers, I needed to find healing and closure. And I found them through my traumatic experiences in Turkey.

I always had that sense of uneasiness that I had somehow died unnaturally in my past life. I just knew it but at the same time, I didn’t want to find out. Until recently.

Sometimes a journey into your past lives helps to bring closure. At the same time, it provides a sense of acceptance (in my case, my abilities and it was a relief to know they are not all made up in my head), and learned of my earthly lessons and my purpose in this life. Knowledge may not be a bad thing after all. And I am grateful for all the experiences, good and bad, that made me (and helped me accept) who I am today.

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What Is Your Life Purpose?

 Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…..Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. – Steve Jobs, 2005

What is success? I have been asked this question a couple of years back by my therapist.

Back in the university days, my friends envied me; I knew what I wanted to be – a criminal psychologist. And I worked hard towards that goal. After one lecture, I approached my professor to take me under his wing for my assignment and driven myself hard to enter the prestigious honours program, just because one of the modules offered was law and criminal psychology. Needless to say, I was one of the 38 out of 200 students who got in. Guess what? I hated it. After that, I was clueless what I want to do with my life. I graduated with honours and became a clinical psychologist at a local hospital in the neurology department (not exactly my choice but I will try anything I got my chance on). Testing elderly patients day after day, preparing reports to confirm their dementia and presented their cases every Tuesday during department meetings, where basically one psychologist (I am not spared) would get targeted and humiliated real bad by one of the Neurologists (my boss), are very far off from what I really want from my life. That’s where I learned to grow my elephant hide to hide my true emotions. I got buried deep inside myself in order not to feel. And I got lost.

I never showed my true feelings so nobody could tell I was deeply disturbed working for that sadistic boss. So it was a surprise (to everyone but not to me) when I decided not to renew my contract and left the hospital and subsequently, my birth country soon after. I moved overseas to become a tour agent instead. And since I have been dictated by the events in my life: marriage, birth of my son, divorce, being a single parent. I stopped asking myself what I truly want in my life since coming to Istanbul. All I can think of what is going to happen tomorrow. I would take whatever was offered to me. It was until recently, I was offered to relocate to Israel to be a translator and a tour agent. Again. But this time, I paused to think. Frankly speaking, I had lost passion for my work. I truly hated my job with my heart and soul. Even worse, I am starting to hate my life. I am nowhere near answering this question: what is success? I felt like a total failure and a big fraud all this time. But then, this is the same struggle almost every adult goes through (so I am not alone afterall): “What do I want to do with my life?” “What am I passionate about?” “What do I not suck at?”

There are scores of online tests out there in the internet world, trying to find your “life mission”. Just type in “life purpose test”, and you’ll get a whole bunch of online tests, helping to figure out what to do with yourself. The idea is born out of a belief that each and every one of us is born for some higher purpose and it’s our cosmic mission to try to find it. Some lucky ones may simply stumble upon it, but the majority of us (the unfortunate ones including myself) have to go through crisis after crisis to find it. Why not simply click a few buttons, and viola, the internet will figure it all out for you. Isn’t internet perfect and wonderful? It saves time too!

Uh-uh, life doesn’t work that way. Trust me, I have been down that rabbit hole and I’ve gotten even more confused. “You are always so busy! Stay still, otherwise they (the cosmic universe) won’t be able to download information into your head, and you will go running for nothing again.” My friend chided and offered me a zen approach to life – do mediation and yoga. She flew half a world across to cheer me up at my lowest point in time. The problem is, I don’t know how to chill. And so I tried to drown myself down with half a tub of ice cream in the cold weather of Istanbul and came down with a cold so bad I was forced to hole up at home. And so my time for reading and reflection begins.

The truth is this: we exist on earth for a predetermined period of time.During that time, we do things. Things that are important and things that are unimportant. Those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. And the unimportant ones basically are created to pass time. So when people ask, “what should I do with my life?”, basically they are asking “what can I do with my time that is important?” Which adds meaning and happiness to our being. Probably we can start asking ourselves (and myself) these questions.

1. What shit sandwich are you willing to eat?

Here’s another life truth: everything involves sacrifice.

Everything comes with some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable all the time. It’s impossible. So the question you should be looking is: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our success is our ability to stick with something we care about that we are willing to endure the rough patches and ride out the awful days.

G.Richard Shell listed out a six lives exrecise in his book, Success, Your Way: Do What You’re Meant To Do, in which you are asked to rank the order in your preference: a successful teacher but her daughter ran away and refused contact with any of her family; a rich, accomplished banker who runs a charity work but is a single parent by choice; a wealthy investor who holds parties all the time but never marries; a stone mason who is not rich but he lives near and close to all his children; a tennis pro who adopts her children but never has enough time to spend with her children; and a nonprofit executive who quits his high paying job when he decided to “heed God’s call”, and plans to move his family, despite strong protests from his children, to rural Africa for his volunteer work. There are two sides to success: inner harmony and outer accomplishment.

In each of these six lives, something is missing, either family harmony or outward achievements, and we live our lives trying to balance between the two. It is worth noting which parts of your life – your hobbies, your career, your passion, your interests, your volunteer work or your family – speaks out to you more. If one of these lives speak much more clearly to you, then it may be telling you something about the direction you want your life to take.

What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle? What shit sandwich do you want to eat? Because we all get served one eventually. Might as well pick one with that fat tomato.

2. What is true about you today that would make your 10-year-old self cry?

When I was a child, I loved to draw. My first cartoon I imitated was Snoopy. Then I graduated to Garfield and his sidekick, Odie. I loved to collect Garfield comic books so that I can draw the parts I love about him – his food. I would draw for the sheer joy of it and gave away whatever I drew. And people loved it.

For some reason, I stopped. The major reason being my parents opposed to me taking my drawing further. Being the typical Chinese family, drawing or cartooning is deemed a dead-end career. My father would shut the topic down by asking a rhetorical question: have you ever seen a cartoonist becoming rich? (Of course, one of them is Jim Davis, creator of Garfield. He has a net worth of $800 million! Oh why didn’t we have internet when my father asked me that idiotic question). But I didn’t know much then. Out of soul-crushing disappointment, I tore up all my work  and threw them away, determined to wipe away all traces of memory of how much I loved drawing. When I became an adult much later, I am amazed to find out my friends actually kept my drawings. It never occurred to me how much my drawings meant to them or how much they loved them.

We have a tendency to lose touch with what we loved as a child. Social pressure, familial pressure and professional pressure squeezes the passion out of us. We are taught that the only reason to do something is if we’re somehow rewarded for it.

It wasn’t until recently I rediscovered my love in drawing. At first, my friends mocked at my immature cartoon when I first posted up on my Facebook: I can draw better than that when I was 10!  Did your son drew that? That was the encouragement I’ve gotten. But it didn’t deterred me. I kept drawing and painting, and posting them shamelessly up my social media. Until one day, some people left messages to say they look forward to my cartoons and encouraged me to try publication. I am still sitting on it.I never believe my works until my friend and I stumbled on an Arts gallery. Upon looking at one of the canvas, she remarked to me, “If this (bad quality) can make it into a gallery, you totally can make it.” It gave me hope that day.

If my 10-year-old self were to ask my 39-year-old self, “Why don’t you draw anymore?”, and I would reply, “Because I am not good at it”, “Because I didn’t go to school for it”, “Because nobody would buy my works”, or “Because you can’t make money out of drawing”, I think my 10-year-old would probably cry.

3. How can you better embarrass yourself?

Before you are able to be good at something, you must first suck at it and have no clue what you are doing. And in order to suck at something, you must embarrass yourself in some shape or form, often repeatedly. That’s where most people fail to progress – they try to avoid embarrassing themselves, precisely because it sucks. If you avoid doing anything that could potentially embarrass you, then you will never end up doing something that feels important.

Right now, there’s something you want to do, something you have been thinking of doing, something you fantasized about doing, and yet you don’t do it. Reasons? “My friends would make fun of me”, “If I fail, I would look like an idiot” or “I am not good enough”, then chances are you are avoiding something you truly care about because caring about it scares the shit out of you.

Great things are usually unique and unconventional. Therefore to achieve them, we must go against the herd mentality. And to do that in itself is scary.

Embrace embarrassment. Being foolish is part of the path to achieving something of great importance. The more a major decision scares you, chances are you need to take the action and go for it.

Which means I need to get my shit together and send in my publication. Which coincidentally my friend did on my behalf. I simply sent him my works and he did the introduction. Screw looking stupid.

4. How are you going to save the world?

The world always has a few problems. If you see the news, the “few problems” usually means “everything in this world is fucked up and we are all heading towards annihilation.”

So pick a problem and start saving the world. There are plenty to choose from. Education, economic development, domestic violence, mental health care, government corruption, racism, terrorism, civilization displacement. Find a problem you care about and start solving it. Obviously, you are not going to fix the world’s problems by yourself. But you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment.

In fact, it can start as simply as at home. For starters, me refusing to bow down to my ex husband’s violence is a major step for me. Subsequently, my challenge broadens to keeping my son in a good reputable school he enjoys. Every night, as I lay my head onto my pillow, I am contented to know I am making a difference in my, and my son’s life.

5. If you had to leave house all day, every day, where would you go and what would you do?

Complacency is our biggest enemy. We get into our routines. We distract ourselves. Nothing new happens. We don’t sit and think what we want. Until some crisis strike.

What most people don’t understand is that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it.

Discovering what you are passionate about requires a full time trail-and-error process. It is like a full-contact sport, none of us knew exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity. That’s how I know I could not make it in criminal psychology. I hated the lessons. And now I’ve lost my passion in tourism. But hey, at least I gave it a shot.

So where would you go and what would you do? Whatever strikes your fancy, write down a few answers and then go out and actually do them. Dance class? Chess class? Drawing class? Get another degree? Learn to parachute? Take the advice from Nike – Just do it.

6. Imagine you have a kid, what would you be to become a hero in his/her eyes?

My son loves to buy his favourite chicken rice from a particular store. One day, the owner, trying to strike a conversation with him, asked: what would you like to be when you grow up? My son’s ambitions vary greatly, like the unpredictable weather of Istanbul. One day he wanted to be a footballer; the next he would fancy himself to be an artist/painter; for a period of time, he wanted to become a dinosaur archaeologist; and once, he actually wanted to be a vase maker, just because a beautiful vase can fetch an indecent amount of money (whoever gave him that idea?). So that day, he aimed to be an artist again. Why? He reasoned his mother is an artist (why would he assume that?) so he aspires to be an artist (like his mom) one day.

What is your legacy going to be? What are the stories people are going to tell behind your back? How would you want to be remembered? How can you start working towards that today?

When people feel like they have no sense of direction, no purpose in their life, it’s because they don’t know what’s important to them and they don’t know what their values are.

And when you don’t know what your values are, then you will take on other people’s values and live their priorities instead of your own. This is a one-way ticket to unhealthy relationships and misery island.

Discovering one’s “life purpose” boils down to finding those one or two things that are biggest than yourself, and bigger than those around you. To find them, you need to get out of that door and explore, take the time to think beyond yourself, to think greater than yourself, and think what makes you a hero in the eyes of your 10-year-old self.

Because your life is constantly a work in progress. We will be constantly working on the art of our lives, until the day we die.

 

The Three Loves To Discover My Purpose

There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change others.  – unknown.

It’s been said that we only fall in love with three people on our lifetime. And yet, it is believed that we need each of these loves for a different reason.

The first love – The love that looks right

The first love begins when we were young. It’s the kind of idealistic love – the one that seems like fairy tales.

This type of love appeals to what we should be seen with, what we should be doing for society’s sake, and probably for our families too. We tend to enter it with the belief that this will be our only love. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t feel right, we change ourselves, just so to suit the person we think is the “right one” for us. Because deep down, we believe this is what love is supposed to be. In this type of love, how others view us is more important than how we actually feel.

This is the love that looks right.

My first love started at age 12. He was the boy who sat opposite me in class. We were seated in such a way that we had to face each other everyday. Every. Single. School. Day.

I never really notice him. Until the day he made me cry.

We were checking answers over an assignment we had just completed and he caught me changing my answer. I figured since our teacher had not gone over the question I had changed my answer to and the boy sitting next to me just warned me of my mistakes, I changed it without thinking much. But the boy sitting opposite me caught me, proceed to accuse me of cheating and sharply reprimanded me. Being the quiet me who bottled her feelings inside, I simply hung my head. It was only the boy sitting next to me noticed my bowed head that he realized I was silently weeping and reprimanded the boy sitting opposite me. He bit his tongue and kept quiet for the rest of the day.

The next day, he tried to crack jokes for me. His lame jokes combined with his constipated face, managed to elicit a smile on my face that day. He then sighed a relief, believing the transgression from yesterday had been forgiven and forgotten. It was a moment of tenderness. Subsequently, he was often teased for making a huge effort in towards me – sharing his potato carving for our potato print lessons, sharing his pencils and sang a couple of songs to entertain me. He was known to be quite selfish with his possessions and affections. But he never confessed his feelings for me. The whole class teased us but we pretended nothing happened.

Until 10 years later, where he confessed his feelings in private at a gathering my friends and I organized. That was how we started dating for the next three years.

He broke up with me after struggling internally for 3 years, simply because I didn’t look right in the eyes of his church. He decided that I didn’t fit into the criteria set by the church of being the holy wife for him. Our love just doesn’t look right to him and his social circle. Ashamed and broken, I left the country permanently to start a new life.

The second love – The love we wished was right

The second love is supposed to be our hard love – the one that teaches us lessons about who we are, what we want in life and how we need to be loved. It is the love that forces us to discover who we are. The kind of love that hurts, whether through lies, pain or manipulation.

At times, you’ll think you are both fated to be together forever. At other times, you wish to bite each other’s head off.

It’s passionate. It’s heart-wrenching. You might break-up, patch up and break up again. Each time realizing it’s just not meant to be. Sometimes it’s unhealthy, unbalanced or even narcissistic. There may be emotional, mental or even physical abuse or manipulation. Most likely there will be high level of drama too. This is exactly what is addictive – the emotional roller-coaster of extreme highs and lows. Like a junkie getting a fix, we stick through the lows with the expectation of the high.

We think we are making different choices than our first, but in reality we are making choices out of our need to learn the lessons. Our second love can become a cycle, often repeating it because we somehow think this time, the ending will be different than before. Yet, each time we try, it somehow ends worse than before.

With this kind of love, trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should.

It’s the love that we wished was right.

I chose and married my now ex-husband, who was totally different from my first love, emotionally, physically and even mentally. I entered marriage, believing that all it takes is willpower and determination to make it through, hoping that it will somehow last forever. Who doesn’t believe that? And so the emotional drama, the extreme highs and crashing lows started, and the cycle of abuse set in. I was spat at, slapped, stolen money from me, awoken from deep sleep, picked up and thrown across a room, and had a toaster oven thrown at me. Furniture broke. The house almost torn down. I had lost count the number of times police came. And each time, he came begging for forgiveness. I had very much wanted our marriage to work and so each time, I gave in. I had never wanted to accept that I had made a wrong decision.

Until the day the barrel of water narrowly missed hitting my then two-year old son. I will never forgive him nor myself if he were to die from his father’s abuse. I made the hard decision to go to my neighbours to beg for help that day he threw me out of the house. I waited for the police to pick him up, packed our luggage and fled together with my son. The last I heard from him was he remarried and moved to Japan. My son believed he was dead since he had not seen his father for more than 5 years. That was the love I had wished it was right.

The third love – The love that feels right

This is the love we never see coming. The one that looks all wrong for us and destroys any lingering ideals we clung to about what love is supposed to be. It’s the kind of connection that can’t be explained and knocks us off our feet because we never planned for it.

Perhaps you are not looking for love, or you think that your personalities would clash. But the connection is unmistakable.  This is the love where we come together and it just fits. We are simply accepted for who we are – and it shakes us to the core.

It isn’t what we envisioned our love would look like, nor does it abide by the rules that we had hoped to play it safe by. It shatters our preconceived notions about love and shows us that love doesn’t have to be how we thought in order to be true.

It’s the love that just feels right.

I will never forget that day. He walked past my cubicle but I only managed to see the back of his head. Yet somehow, I already knew he would play an important role in my life, as if I had known him many past lifetimes before. It was as if this was the person I was waiting for.

We were introduced by our colleague and we instantly clicked. It was as if I had found the other part of my soul. We had similar personalities and we gel very well. People started coming up to me asking if we were dating. Our connections were that pure and strong. People noticed. But this connection seems all wrong – he was way younger than I am. So, I had to leave and disappear. It looked so wrong. But it felt so right it broke my heart completely.

I was very good at hiding away from people and becoming a hermit. And yet, I saw him in my dreams – him returning home from overseas, before he told me of his intentions; when he started dating someone else, I dreamt of him and his girlfriend; his despair and disappointments communicated through my dreams. And yet, I continued to hide away from our circle of friends. I simply don’t know what to do or how to react. 

My friend sat me down today and asked, “What is it do I really want in life?” Exactly the same question my father asked four years ago. And yet, today I am nowhere closer to discovering what I want or who I am. Perhaps my journey is not about love, maybe it’s about purpose. Maybe it’s about finding my passion and following it. Or maybe it’s about roaming and travelling the world until I find meaning in life or until I figure out what exactly I am born to do.

Maybe it’s about inspiration. Maybe it’s about meeting a bunch of people who inspire me to live better, to be better, to learn something or maybe these people will enlighten me with their wisdom, with their stories and the moments that changed their lives. I love listening to people’s stories, perhaps I had hoped to find my meaning among their stories of hope, courage, enlightenment and love. Maybe it’s about doing something solo so I can truly listen to my thoughts, so that I can truly make decisions not influenced by anyone. Maybe it’s about being inspired by myself, to understand my strength, my abilities, my battles and my stories. Maybe my journey is about changing my own life.

Looking earnestly at my friend, I could picture myself drawing and painting in that desk I had imagined myself many times to sit behind. It was a long forgotten dream I had years before these three loves entered my life.

Perhaps my journey is not about finding love, maybe it’s about loving myself. Maybe it’s about rebuilding myself. To become a better person, in turn, help others find meaning, hope and courage. Perhaps that’s what life journey is all about – to lift each other up. And it took three loves to make me realize this.

 

Are You An Empath?

I stayed over at a friend’s over the weekend. As I was playing a game on my phone, my friend remarked how tired she was and that her foot was hurting her. 10 minutes passed, she re-entered the room and I was still playing on my phone. Suddenly, a dull ache took over my left foot so I asked which foot was hurting her and wrapped my hand over my left heel. It was then my friend was convinced I was not bullshitting when I told her I could feel and connect to the energy round me. I am an empath. It’s not fun at all. It’s tiring.

An empath is highly sensitive to the feelings, intentions and motivations of others. It is much deeper than being empathetic. An empath feels the emotions of others whether they want it or not. It’s not something they can control over. For example, just three months ago, a friend gave me a keychain which was given to him by a female friend. He was hoping to transfer some of his wishes to me by claiming it’s a good luck chain. After carrying it for a month, I couldn’t stand it any longer, I could feel my bag getting heavier and heavier. Finally, I threw it away last month. The last time I met up with my friend, I asked if this particular friend was angry at him. I could even tell she was disappointed by his constant rejections. This friend just looked at me stunned. I could see him jaw dropped all the way to the floor, and that’s how I knew I had hit the jackpot.

These are some of the many examples I experienced through my life. Give me pictures, handwritten notes or objects and I can tell if the person is alive and what they are thinking and feeling towards others. Sometimes they entered my dreams and I dreamt what would happen to them. Not only I could feel others’ emotions and motivations, I had experienced prophetic dreams (that’s how I knew I was pregnant and going to have a boy in my first month of my pregnancy, and he grew up looking exactly like the son in my dreams) and could see black aura before someone’s death (meaning that person’s time on Earth is up within three months). Growing up, I grew up with imaginary friends (I was lonely and at different points in my life, I could feel different spirits communicating with me). One particular voice saved me from a falling fan when it woke me up persistently one early Sunday morning, that voice refused to go away until I got up from my bed only to have the ceiling fan falling unto where my head had been (I believed it’s my angel protecting me).  And it took me more than 30 years to finally accept AND believe in my gifts. Most of my life, I was trying to reason it away and it is not easy explaining this to someone  who pointed out if I had these gifts, then why I had made mistakes in my past. It took one soul to believe in me (despite she had different gifts from mine but quickly realized who I am). Because she convinced me that I was not nuts, it gave me the courage to explore the more spiritual side of me. And I have been feeling peaceful since.

If you are wondering if you could be an empath, these are some of the signs that you may be highly sensitive to the energy of others.

1. People have complained you are oversensitive

Growing up, I have people who kept telling me it’s all in my head and that I was too sensitive. And the feelings turned out to be true in the end, so I had stopped hanging out with them. So if you often find yourself completely convinced there’s something deeper going on that can’t be seen, it could be you are picking up on their intentions, feelings, and motivations of others that most people are not sensitive to. Gut feeling never lies. Now no one tells me I am oversensitive anymore, because I had learnt to trust those feelings and avoid those shady people.

2. You constantly feel tired

Experiencing the feelings of others on top of yours is often extremely draining. It’s get particularly bad in crowded settings and open offices. I had once attended an event and on the last day, everyone was on their feet, feeling extremely excited over the games that would take place in the enclosed room, I blacked out even before the game started and had to be carried out of the room. They reasoned that I didn’t had my breakfast that day and that my blood sugar had dropped suddenly. They, even I, didn’t expect that I had absorbed their energies and it had overwhelmed me. I never experience any more blackouts since I avoid crowded enclosed areas.

3. You are a Peacemaker

Yes, I avoid any direct confrontations like plague. Often, I compromised my own needs and feelings to keep others happy. That’s why I love to keep to myself.

4. You are confusing to others

I am highly distant and reserved on the outside. I have lost count how many times I have been misunderstood and been called names like Ms. Frozen/Ms. Fridge. I need time to figure out who I am dealing with before showing who I am. Occasionally I crave intimacy with others but I rarely allow myself to get close to anyone. If I find myself too close, I will suddenly pull away without warning.

5. You are a problem solver

I am always on the look out for a solution. My brain never rest until I figure out a solution. There is this constant need to figure out a way to change or fix the problem to make everyone happy. And damned if I felt someone sad. Now for the sake of my personal peace, I just learn to shut out and shut down.

6. You are creative

When your brain runs on overdrive, you need outlets to release the pent up energy. That’s why I love to paint, draw, write, music and dance. Being creative allows myself let go of some of the pent up emotions (could be mine or someone elses’), and gives me a chance to relax and feel free. That’s how I create my rabbit and elephant – to process my feelings.

7. You are not close to many people

I only mix with a chosen few who understand and accept me. I simply cannot handle too many people at the same time, it would put me in bed for the next few days, or weeks.

8. You feel at home with nature

Being outdoor relaxes you. I love the sea and the sunlight. That’s why I would wake up pre-dawn just to see the first sun rays pouring into my window, to watch the dust and air dance. That’s why I have tried living inland of Turkey (that is, Kayseri) and for that whole 8 months, I felt like a fish out of water, gasping for space and air. And that’s why I moved back to Istanbul, to be near the sea and on the top floor where I get sunlight. And I have added a few plants indoors. Needless to say, I am currently very, very happy and content.

9. You can’t stand watching the news

I stopped watching news on TV a long time ago. They are nothing but negative vibes since nothing sells like bad news. Now I only pick and read the news on the internet when I am ready to learn what is going on around the world. Plus I have a friend who filters what she saw on TV and fills me in on the latest around the world. Who needs the TV when I have live reporter?

10. You are constantly searching for answers

When I first experienced these coincidences, I had to find out why I am getting all these feelings. And so my quest for spiritual meanings began 12 years ago after realizing the happy faces I saw in church were not the real happy people I felt. Something felt wrong and I had to know why I was feeling that. And it brought me across the world, experiencing and learning different religions, with different people of all walks of life came into the picture to guide me towards discovering who I am today. It’s been a hell of a ride. But it is worth every journey of the way.

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Those Fleeting Moments

Not everything is supposed to become something beautiful and long-lasting. Sometimes people come into your life to show you what is right and what is wrong, to show you who you can be, to teach you to love yourself, to make you feel better for a little while, or to just be someone to walk with at night and spill your life to. Not everyone is going to stay forever, and we still have to keep on going and thank them for what they’ve given us.

 

Yes, not everything is supposed to be long-lasting and beautiful. I am aware of that. In my haste to force myself to move on with my life, I had decided not to turn up the next day and simply disappeared. I had just let our conversation hang in mid-air and now we have become complete strangers. I knew deep inside circumstances were not right for us, even to stay as friends.

More than a year had passed, my heart is stuck on that moment when I had decided to simply not show up. No, it wasn’t regret. I knew I had to disappear in order for us to continue down our paths. I couldn’t afford to let my heart run away. I needed to focus on my career. For ten years, I have been praying to be someone important, to mark myself in this world, to gain recognition and achievement in my career. But I was utterly disappointed in the people in my industry. The bitching, the lies, the treachery, the so-called ‘friends’. l lost my savings and most of all, my confidence in people.  It was only last month, when I found myself staring down from the window of my seventh-floor apartment and resisting the urge to jump, that I realized I had lost myself. Last Thursday, I finally packed up my desk and didn’t return to my office since.

More than a year had passed, I still go to the church every month to pray. I wanted to forget the moment he came into my life and showed me who I truly am. To forget the times we walked down the streets at night and to whom I spilled my whole life. To forget the times he reminded me to love myself more and that I am more than what I had given myself credit for. For more than a year, I still pray and without failure, lit two candles: one for him and one for myself. I genuinely wish for both of us to be happy. Now I finally understood the concept of unconditional love.

I am still struggling with my own self-worth but he is no longer there to encourage me. In his place, different people came into my life to remind me of my worth. Last week, a friend told me a story: imagine a bar of gold dropped into a pool of mud. Despite it’s dirty appearance, it is still gold, it still retains its value. Think about that gold and that gold is you.

More than a year ago, he had opened my heart and planted a seed. Even though he is no longer in my life, different people entered my life and watered that seed. Indeed, some things are not meant to be long-lasting and beautiful. But the impact of these people will stay forever etched in my heart. You’ll never know what and how those fleeting moments will influence your life. That’s why I am thankful for what he had given me.

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Why I Am Forever Late

Earlier this month, someone posted this on my Facebook:

According to Science, If You’re Always Late, You’re Probably More Creative

The problem is, I am always late.

I know I needed at least an hour to get ready before I am go out, so sometimes I try to wake up two hours earlier. And yet I am still 30 minutes late for work. Every. Single. Time. Since I knew I have this problem so I requested to work freelance. This way, my company will not be so hard up on my coming in late. And so my tardiness lives on.

I often dreaded meetings outside my office. Somehow I would end up late, no matter how early I leave my workplace. Almost always, I got lost somewhere, and people would be calling me to find out where I was. A couple of times, the other party has to send someone to find and pick me up. Yes, not only I was late, I have a horrible sense of direction.

In personal life, I am even more terrible. Just last month, my son and I met up with some of my son’s classmates and their mothers for lunch. Guess how late I was? Three hours. In fact, that was not the first time I was late for their gatherings. I was late so frequently, that when I posted up that article up on my Facebook, one mother mocked me, saying now she understood why I am THAT late.

Two weeks ago, I was supposed to visit my friend slightly after noon and I turned up at her house at 6pm. My friend apparently gave up hopes on me ever turning up on time. And she is wise to do so.

Image result for late images The thing is, I wasn’t that tardy when I was younger. When I was still schooling, I was always on time. Probably because there were real nasty consequences if I was late too many times (I hate detention more than anything in the world). Only when I started working, in the absence of any negative consequences, my lateness blossom into full bloom. My colleagues complained, my friends complained (that’s why they always tell me to come 30 minutes earlier than the scheduled time). Amazingly, none of my bosses had an issue with my coming in late. Or perhaps I am simply successful at ignoring them.

For a long time, I have been struggling with my lateness: I planned my day; I set my watch 10 minutes earlier than the actual time; if I have a really important meeting to attend, I would sit idling while watching the clock. But I can only keep it up for a day. The next day, I would be back to my old self: coming in late.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not lazy, unproductive, inconsiderate or feeling entitled. I really do feel for the other party waiting for me and I am not attempting to insult anyone with my tardiness. And I believe my bosses are happy with my work; I am a go-getter and immediately started getting busy on my first day of work, I know what I’m doing and nobody needed to delegate any work to me, no one to breathe down my neck because I am the one looking for potential business. Furthermore, I am lucky my boss is on the seventh floor while I work on the second floor, so I hardly see him. I thought I was a hopeless case, until I saw this post. Apparently there is even scientific research backing up on why I am forever late.

Chronically late people aren’t hopeless, they’re hopeful.

People who are continuously late are actually just more optimistic. They believe they can fit more tasks into a limited amount of time, and they thrive when they’re multitasking. Simply put, they’re fundamentally hopeful.

As management consultant Diana Delonzor puts it:

Most late people have been late all their life, and they are late for every type of activity – good or bad.
Surprisingly little scientific research has been done on tardiness, but some experts subscribe to the theory that certain people are hardwired to be late and that part of the problem may be embedded deep in the lobes of the brain.

A study conducted at San Diego State University (Human Performance 14(4):339-358, October 2001) has connected lateness with Type B personalities: people who are laid back, easygoing, not that stubborn and very adaptive to surroundings.

In other words, late people don’t sweat the small stuff, concentrate on the big picture and see the future as full of infinite possibilities. They like to stop and smell the roses. They believe that life was never meant to be planned down to the last detail.

I believe there’s some truth in those research: my clients complemented that they are impressed I am forever hopeful and optimistic, even when I had to face truck loadful of shit, I kept going like an rabbit on an energizer battery; when things got me down, I bounced back quickly; I am always giving my boss potential ideas, to the point I think I wore him down a bit; I am very adaptive to my surroundings, I blend in almost any company culture; I like taking detours and always notice my surroundings when I am new to the area, even though I would be rushing to an appointment; I never plan my life in minute details, my life paints in very board strokes; I have been told a few times I am jovial and energetic.

In short, according to research, my being late is nothing but a result of my personality. That itself is truly reassuring. But I still need to work to improve on my coming into office late. Frankly it’s embarrassing.

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Why We Chose To Love People Who Never Love Us Back

Don’t stay where you are not appreciated, it’ll be the place where you lose yourself. – unknown.

It took me more than one full year before I could tell another soul of my last disastrous crush. Since then I was unable to open up to anyone nor form any meaningful relationship with any guy. Not because what I felt was morally wrong or bad. Nor was it an affair with a married man. It was because I was shamed into silence and the humiliation was too great for me to bear. And so I closed up, unable to speak about it for more than a year. It was until two weeks ago, when I decided to visit a friend whom I hadn’t seen for a year. Over lunch, I confessed my secret to her.

He felt that we should no longer be friends. His reasoning:we are of different status; he was going to be promoted to be a boss, and yet I was just an ordinary employee. It was a hard slap on my face.

I wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with him. Never did. But somehow we clicked very well. I felt very comfortable with him to be able to totally open myself up to him. Before him, I had never trusted anyone that much. And he helped built up my confidence.

I was in a bad shape when I first met him. My father died suddenly of cancer; with his passing, my dreams of going back to study Psychology died together with him. I had ran away from an abusive marriage, totally traumatized by the emotional and physically abuse of my ex husband; I was fighting for my right to stay in Turkey; I had spoken to more than 5 lawyers and was on the verge of begging any lawyer willing to take my case so I can get my divorce and move on with my life, when my original lawyer repeatedly ignored my calls and promptly dropped out of earth. I was denied any inheritance left by my father and estranged from my biological family. I had emotionally shut down so much somehow I got myself involved in a meaningless and loveless long distance relationship with a French businessman. My confidence was rock bottom.

Image result for teddy bear longing images When he came along, he helped me see another side of me. No longer was I a worthless, single mother, with no prospects of any meaningful relationships with anyone. He helped me see the kind of father figure I should pick out for my son and the kind of unconditional support for my life goals. He helped me see that it is possible for me to, not only dream, but to reach for my goals. We connected on a level I had never experienced before with anyone in my life.

Until the day he decided that I am beneath him and that we should no longer be friends. With just one sentence, I was banished to being worthless in his eyes. His words forever etched in my mind.

Needless to say, I quit and left his company.

Image result for teddy bear longing images It took me one full year after my quitting to be able to open up to anyone. It’s a good thing that then I still had retained some cow sense that I should value myself more than how he valued me, and I realized that the longer I stayed in his company, the more I will lose myself and my self esteem. A year is long but nevertheless, it’s worth the time to find myself and regain the balance back into my life.

So exactly one year later, there I was, sitting stone faced while I reiterated my friend, as a matter-of-factly, what he said. A look of disgust swept across my friend’s face. And she was furious.

“There is only one unique you and nobody, listen carefully, nobody can replace who you are. You are a good mother and a strong woman. Nobody should look down on you and you shouldn’t look down on yourself.”

And she is right.

Image result for broken heart images It made me realized that we chose to love people who cannot love us back to teach ourselves that we are, in fact, worthy of being loved back. We chose these people because they represent the parts of us that we don’t love. We chose to love these people because they are the only ones with whom we share an intimate connection, deep enough to awaken and illuminate the darkest corners of ourselves. Strangely, they are the only ones who can leave and let us do what we supposed to do: resolve  and actualize who we really are and heal our grievances and hurt on our own. That’s how I know I have moved on. In fact, he stopped appearing in my dreams two months ago.

I read that our life partners are the people who come after the love that opens us. Our big loves are the ones that emerge after we think we’ve lost them. Love will come after we are ready, after we have cleared out the damage and debris, after we have learned what it means to love ourselves. It is in this unrequited love we realized that love is actually sharing what we already have, not relying on someone else to bestow unto us. Love is not a supplement. It is in this unrequited love that we realized how crucial it was to love the people who could never love us back. It is in this unrequited love that we find our true soul. Just know that they were never meant to be, and the rest only depends on how long it takes us to realize this.

I was lucky to know this early. That’s how I know I am ready to leap to my next chapter.