Live Deliberately

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Time spent with good company will always be time well spent. It is almost cannibal-like, the way we scamper to devour each other’s thoughts. There is only one mouth and too many words fighting to escape.

Ended the year charting milestones and crossing items off my bucket list. Embarked on a roadtrip with no firm destination in mind.

I once read that,

A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

We spent nights on the road. Darkness ahead with the occasional street lights flashing by. And when dawn arrived we welcomed her like an old friend.

No past, no future – mind body and soul exists only in the now.

It was quite the moment; watching the sun rise against Penang’s horizon as we arrived at the doorstep of our friend’s.

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Many a times people are quick to shoot down ideas as impossible. Like how we were met with skepticism and ridicule from the people around us for attempting this trip.

It can be disheartening at times. But if we listened to every voice of advice, we would wind up with pieces of others and none of our own.

A great idea does not happen with a snap of a finger. It is through trial and error. There is the risk of failure but if one owns the persistence and determination to hone it till perfection, achieving success is only a matter of time.

Success is the sum of effort and pure hard work. It comes to those who take one extra step after they feel like they cannot walk anymore.

We can do anything if we believe and put our heart to it. So listen to your voice and go. Let not fear be the reason for treason. We are all creative individuals and must have faith in our craft and abilities.

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Confined within the body of our vehicle, we had each other and also time to recluse back into our thoughts.

With just hours into the new year, I spent some time evaluating 2015. Looking back on the year, I marvel at how far I have come yet find myself lamenting for the things I should have but did not set out to accomplish.

It gets frustrating when you have dreams of the person you hope to be but find that you’d spent the last 365 days walking around in circles achieving nothing.

Or rather, it is not that I have produced zero results but rather, the outcome gained lays far from what I had hope to attain.

I have stopped setting resolutions for the year because I rarely keep to them. It is all nonsense, to me at least. Instead I set “themes” for the year which I intend to focus on.

2015’s theme was “self-love and personal growth” which has been pretty much my theme for the last 3 years.

The initial years were tough. I felt that I was not blossoming to be the person I’d focused on becoming. But last year I think I’ve hit a breakthrough, or rather, the years of hard work has finally paved way for a better today.

In a way my progress though not excellent, has turned out somewhat satisfactory. I guess personally we can never be a perfect person? It is an ongoing process we should continuously strive for each day.

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For 2016, I’m moving on to a slightly different theme for the year. There is still personal growth but it is focused towards “contributing value and compassion“.

Maybe if you had to give it a proper name, it is more like a mission statement, like a daily mantra – except this is a yearly mantra.

The year will still find me focusing on personal development but towards a different aspect of life.

It is about pushing boundaries and redefining the new normal. It is about tearing down old habits to develop better ones. It is about redesigning the world by building new structures. It is about reigniting the passion and following the heart.

Most of all, it is about loving others because I have learnt how to love myself. And through love, help shape the world into a better place for us to live.

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Ibn Battuta once said,

Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

I could not have agreed more.

2015 has blessed me with sporadic trips. These sudden bursts of spontaneity to travel is viewed as reckless to many but the experiences taught me how to lead a more grounded, and fulfilling life.

Travelling humbles you. You observe, understand and appreciate what you have back home. You never come back the same person – just a tad stronger, more determined and wiser than who you were before you left.

And if there is any thing I learnt over the last 1 year it is this:

Go where maps cannot lead. Find who you are in the process of travel. The only way you will get anywhere at all is by going. Venture onward.

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Like life, travelling is a cycle of highs and lows. There are moments of discomfort, while others bring out the sweetness in life.

We started 2016 on a highway with a bunch of strangers we will never meet again. It was so strange and wild but what a way to countdown to a new year.

Later in the night as our car sped out of the jam, we travelled in hushed silence; our bodies weary from the eventful day we had.

The light sticks we’d broken illuminated the car in an iridescent glow. And when “Sometimes When We Touch” eased its way into the silence, it felt surreal.

There was an awareness of existence. Like the way we work with puzzles and in the end how everything fits. As if time ran on a different wavelength and for a moment did not exist. It was peaceful and I sat there savouring the moment.

And then that moment passed, and time started again. As they say,

Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

That was my high of the trip. It was a sweet way to start the year.

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Why are we embarrassed by silence? What comfort do we find in all the noise?

I enjoy solitary moments. It is through silence that I best hear my thoughts. If sitting in silence with someone is insufferable to you, how are you to seek contented silence within yourself?

Sadly, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We are often so quick to judge and speak without thought like – hey you’ve gained weight, you look fat – and fail to ask the important questions like

+what makes you happy?
+who are you in love with?
+what are your dreams?

Understanding is deeper than knowledge. There are many people who know you, but few who understands you.

It is important to listen with the intention of understanding and not judgement, and be open to differing opinions without taking offence.

One of the little things in life is being able to talk to anyone about something they love. That is when they are their most beautiful; their soul is alive. It is a cool gift to get to talk to people about what they love.

I am tired of careless words and mindless chatter. Give me meaningful silences and honest conversations.

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As I look back on my life, I realise that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better. There’s always a silver lining to each cloud, big or small.

Life is a map. You pick a destination and work your way towards it. There is no hard or fast rule on how one should get there – by bus, train, plane, bicycle, or even foot.

And how like the earth is round, it is NEVER too late to turn around and start again. There are no straight roads, just courageous hearts.

It is important to surround yourself with people who get you and push you to work harder than you did yesterday. So thankful for those special ones in my life.

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It is easy to get swept up in all the madness of life. Easy to be critical and point fingers at others. Easy to laugh at someone else’s flaws and judge them for who we think they are. Easy to view their actions in a one-dimensional perception.

But what good comes out of it all? Do the flaws of others make us feel better of our own? Is there a heightened sense of a elation in knowing that someone is “beneath us” and we are so much more than them?

I have encountered many people in my life who have told me who I should be, who I should work hard to be. Where I should go, what’s best for me.

But really, aren’t we the only ones who know ourselves best?

I am thankful for the people in my life who wants what’s best for me. But I am a firm believer that words affect us so much more than we admit to.

It is one thing to be straight-forward, and another to be downright rude. Honesty is a virtue but we should speak with an open mind and most importantly, a graceful heart.

This is an aspect I am still working on. Elegance is not something I am good with. But by setting my mind to it, great things can be accomplished.

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I know I’ve said this countless times but:

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

In 2016, learn to live deliberately and love authentically. Write it on your heart that everyday is the best day of the year.

We only get to live life once. And time ticking away can never return.

One day when our bodies return back to the earth, we will only have these precious memories to hold onto.

Collect moments, not things.

And most of all, love and love and love with all that you’ve got.

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