Time for a change

You may have noticed that the face of my blog has changed from Sunrise, Sunset: Matters of Perspective, to All Things Bright & Beautiful: Delighting in Our World.

AllThings1
Sharing the pavement with a Malayan Water Monitor

It began with an encounter with Lizzie on a morning run. I was squatting on the ground, attempting to photograph him without scaring him off. Two fellow-pavement users walked by, balked at the sight of Lizzie & I (I’m not really sure who created a greater sensation) and exclaimed: “You’re not scared of it?!!!”

Up till then, it didn’t even occur to me that I should be frightened. Sometimes, ignorance is really bliss! Inevitably, my thoughts turned to the year that has gone by; June 2017 was spent

  • recovering so I could leave the hospital (after almost a month)
  • relearning to breathe, walk and perform an assortment of other mundane tasks so I could reclaim a semblance of my life
  • rehabilitating so that I could become independent again
AllThings2
I run past this bench at the Saraca Stream Walk, Singapore Botanic Gardens pretty often. Every time I do, I remember my first month of rehabilitation when I had to stop often to catch my breath, even on slow, short walks. I spent much time sitting here.

Memories of my ICU experience continue to elude me. The 12 days of the coma are completely lost save what is recounted by my loved ones. Even after I regained consciousness, my few weeks in the hospital remain fragmented and surreal. I was repeatedly reassured that I am the miracle of the ICU pneumonia patient who survived. Oblivious to the ramifications of my situation, I focused and worked hard on getting myself out of the hospital and back home. I chose to think on what I needed to do, as opposed to what I could not. Only now, I find out that my Loving Husband (and others) were watching & waiting to see how much I had lost, in brain & physical function. Their gift to me was to keep their doubts and worries to themselves, and to allow me to heal on my own time & terms.

Are you back to normal? is the most frequently asked question I’ve received since then. I’d like to think that I am better than normal, or at least, better than before this episode, since I am not quite sure I know what normal is.

I don’t think too hard before I try new things, I seek for Beauty & the Bright side of things, and I don’t apologise when I to do things for myself, like taking singing and piano lessons, choosing alone-time to scribble or nap, or to hold court with anyone who will listen about poetry, music, books and the less pragmatic aspects of living.

This year has been a reflective time of introspection & rediscovery. Of all the resolutions I apparently made while I was in a drug haze, I have cantored the Psalm in church, embraced new experiences rather enthusiastically (photography, healthier food, music-making), and though far from being written, continue to work towards that elusive book.

After meeting Lizzie in the gardens, I am inspired to move away from introspection to venture outwards; to look to this world I enjoy each day for the lessons Our World has in store for me.

Thank you for continuing to journey with me, to share in my Delights as I revel in the beauty of all things bright & beautiful, all creatures great & small.

Feature Photo is taken at Symphony Lake, Singapore Botanic Gardens.

 

 

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The Changing Seasons: May 2018

This feature photo is taken outside the The St Regis Singapore. The frontage of this hotel is a treasure trove of sculptures by Botero, Li Chen, and this one by Singapore’s own Anthony Poon, called Sense Surround. It captures for me the vibrance of life, the twists and turns of the startling red metal against the building and the shrubbery.

Despite living in a fast-paced city, I have spent much of May in contemplation. Time spent in the nature parks have given me ample time & space to think on the cycle of life, how beginnings are so very exciting, but endings tend to fizzle out and lack lustre. Fairy-tales end with “They lived happily ever after”, but never quite tells us what happens at the real end;  there is a reason most sequels don’t often do well – we don’t tend to like to get into the nitty-grittys of our heroes living their lives out. Continue reading “The Changing Seasons: May 2018”

Searching Our Archives #4: Appreciating the Little Things

Breakfast with a friend from high school: precious couple of hours catching up.

Younger Daughter read her poetry last night at Playeum: our Butterfly flexes her wings: a poet & advocate has emerged.

Explored Chestnut Nature Park: the joy of re-discovery!

Sitting on the sofa, just musing: appreciating the little, and not so little, things!

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This is written in response to Searching My Archives, which I have decided to do once a month this year.  If you do decide to join me, pingback to this post so I can find you.

Feature Photo taken at Chestnut Nature Park, southern trail.

All things bright and beautiful

Loving Husband has a green thumb and has kept our balcony plants alive without a whole lot of effort.

The above is a Butterfly Plant (oxalis triangularis) which he grew from a cutting kindly given by a colleague.  It has since flourished and flowered many times over.

The flowers are quite small so you’d have to look rather closely to appreciate its beauty & details.

What little things have surprised you lately?

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Battling Dragons with Joy: 3-Day Quote Challenge #3

Challenges exist to be overcome!  Let us be realists, but without losing our joy, our boldness and our hope-filled commitment.

~Pope Francis, “The Joy of the Gospel”, 2014`

As May rolls along, I continue on the Ignatian Prayer Adventure.  Apart from prayer & reflection, I also spend time reading the writings & biographies of Jesuits past and present.  Since he was mentioned several times in this weekend on various occasions, I thought a quote from Pope Francis would be appropriate.

Battling dragons can become all-consuming, so much so that we become so focused on the task at hand that we forget all else. This quote reminds me not to forget why we battle them dragons in the first place, and to hold on to our humanity & the joy that comes with fighting for a cause. Continue reading “Battling Dragons with Joy: 3-Day Quote Challenge #3”

Walking the Talk: 3-Day Quote Challenge #2

“Love is shown more in deeds than in words.”    ~Ignatius of Loyola~

I’ve thought on Walking the Talk for a long while now.  It became especially poignant when the girls started asking those interesting questions that children are prone to do.  We were challenged to think about how we felt on many issues, then had to find ways to explain it to them, and finally, we had to determine how we would Walk the Talk as an example to them. Continue reading “Walking the Talk: 3-Day Quote Challenge #2”

I am a Work in Progress: 3-Day Quote Challenge #1

I am confident of this, that the One who began a good work in you will continue to complete it.  ~Philippians 1:6~

I reflect on these words today from the letter of St Paul to the Philippians, as part of my 30DayChallenge for May with Ignatian Spirituality.

We are each a work in progress.  On one hand, it is comforting to know that we are far done: after all, there is still so much to learn, so much of the world to experience!  On the other hand, to wonder wistfully what completion would feel like; the feeling that we indeed have so very far to go! How does this make me feel? How do these thought affect how I treat others when I remember that they, too, are works in progress?  What do you think about being a Work in Progress? Continue reading “I am a Work in Progress: 3-Day Quote Challenge #1”

Changing Seasons March 2018: the Son is Risen!

March has been a time of preparation, of waiting, a time of Lent.  It has been a time of self-examination (not a pleasant endeavour) & a time of mindful charity (to give in ways which are often uncomfortable).  It was a time of growing pains (sigh!  even at 50!), of the realisation that one can have a great deal more patience & compassion (sobering). Continue reading “Changing Seasons March 2018: the Son is Risen!”

Searching Our Archives #3: I will keep on running

Running is a metaphor for how I want to tackle life: the odds may be against me, but I will try anyway.

I was chatting some years ago with a Runner Friend, back before I ran regularly. She was extolling the joys of running and my excuse: I am so short & stout (contrasting with her tall & lanky build), how on earth am I supposed to be running?  She said soothingly to me that her running friends were of different sizes and physiques. I was somewhat mollified by our conversation, although somewhat incredulous.

I still wouldn’t consider myself a serious runner:  I don’t run far, I don’t run long, I don’t compete.  But I am serious about my running.  I made a start when I was approaching 30 because I was struggling with the mortality of my life (my mid-life crisis came early).  I figured if I was ever struck down by a debilitating illness, being healthy would be an advantage.  I also thought the discipline of pushing myself one more step would be helpful if I ever needed to fight for my life.

Just about 20 years later, this was all called to test. The Hospitalisation and The Subsequent Rehabilitation called up all the fitness reserve and determination I had built up. Having to re-learn how to walk in the hospital on account of deteriorated muscles, and then rebuilding the stamina which pneumonia had depleted.  The promise of running again became my life line.

It has been almost 9 months since I left the hospital.  My runs are no longer frenetic goal-driven outings.  I am enjoying my rambles and zen moments again.  For peace of mind and a sense of freedom, there is no where I’d rather be than out on a run, wherever that takes me.

I am not so naive to think I that I can do this indefinitely; both my athletic parents have had to exchange their sporting passions for less vigorous cardiopulmonary, muscle-maintaining pursuits.  But for as long as I can, I will hit that pavement.

Notes:

  • The Feature Photo was taken in Bangkok on the Cycle/Pedestrian Overpass linking Lumpini & Benjakitti Parks in January 2018.
  • This post is written in response to my searching through my archives – something which I have decided to do once a month this year.

All things bright and beautiful

I am a “later-in-life” runner.  There, I have taken a risk and said that out loud; in cyberspace no less.

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Searching our Archives #2: the Beauty of Music

I have enjoyed visiting & revisiting re-posted posts on Blogs I follow.  They are reposted typically because they have a significance to the Writer, and having the opportunity to read it (again) is a privilege.

I am inspired to do the same; repost something from my archives, once each month this year. Care to join me and celebrate our Pasts together?  If you decide to join in, ping back to this post so I can find you.

Last month, I revisited the idea of Seasons in our lives.  This month, in line with my conversations about Beauty, I relook the role of music in my Life.

After the brush with pneumonia & the long ICU stay in May last year, it took a while to recover the ability to talk.  And sing.  As I struggled to regain control over my vocal chords, I promised myself that once I was better, I would do something more with my voice.  I have since begun singing lessons (with Mom & Dad).  Funnily & happily, the singing exercises have helped my running; using the breathing techniques I learn in our singing sessions, I can control my breathing better which translates into running faster & longer.  Once again, I am reminded of how precious music is.

All things bright and beautiful

This is written in response to Daily Post’s Daily Prompt, Longing

There are times in my life when I feel an inexplicable sense that something isn’t quite right in the universe, a longing for something that I can’t articulate; this is a feeling that Loving Husband has termed my “existential loneliness”.  In these instances, the one thing that I turn to which helps soothe the persistent ache is music.

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Searching our Archives #1: Celebrating What We Have Done

One of my favourite blogs, Miss Gentileschi at Art Expedition, reposted some posts from her archives.  I thought it was such a fabulous idea, that those of us who have not had a chance to see them would get to do so.

I am inspired to do the same; repost something from my archives, perhaps once each month this year.  To my delight, I discovered that my 1st WP posts were made in February 2016, so this is just about my 2nd Year Anniversary Month!  What fun!

Care to join me and share something with from your Archives to celebrate our Pasts together?  Once a month, for the year of 2018.

I picked this post Seasons Come, Seasons Go, as we enjoyed an extremely cool breezy few weeks – extremely unusual for Singapore.  It almost felt like we had a Winter!  I am reminded that as we go through different seasons in our lives, each one good or bad will eventually pass.  My challenge is to live in the moment, whether good and ill, embracing the seasons’ joys and challenges.

All things bright and beautiful

Contrary to popular belief, Singapore does have seasons.  Perhaps not the traditional Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, but we certainly have Hot & Humid, Very Hot & Humid, Rainy, Hazy.

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