“Balance – harmony – is when you discover something about yourself that is stable at all times. It is there when you wake up. It is there when you go to bed. It is there if this world has COVID. It is there when this world does not have COVID. If you have money, if you don’t have money. There is something stable about you – something remains the same. That means, it feels like you’re unshakeable. It feels like you found your place. You cannot be disturbed. And I personally think that it’s something really really great, not just to practise it, but also to share these ideas and concepts until they become reality. Harmony is ultimate.”
Shi Heng Yi


After eight years of doing photography for a living and spending some of that time cynical and almost giving it up, today I found myself filled to the brim with gratitude and, even more importantly, a feeling of interest and curiosity. I still wanna learn things. I still wanna grow. I still am at the edge of becoming the photographer I wanna be. The story is just getting started. I’m excited. And I know how lucky I am to be feeling this way.

more than words

Haven’t written here for awhile because I just went through a season where I didn’t feel like words were necessary. But of course they are, just not all the time.

I’ve been saved by words. I’ve also found words to be entirely useless. It’s a paradox.

Two days ago I came back to words again. I felt a thirst in me to read fiction again. I’m back to reading 1Q84 – started a few years ago and stopped a couple of chapters in. And I’m writing again and blogging for the first time in a month.

Feels good to be back!

The power of cutting off and letting go

Really enjoyed this one!

Some notes from the talk worth sharing:

  • Clean dishes mindfully – ordinarily but mindfully. Try not to see it as something to be quickly finished so we can quickly move on to the “real thing”.
  • Spiritual practice is about releasing and eliminating, not accumulating.
  • The more you crave, the more you lose your freedom.
  • Society doesn’t teach the danger of hooks like wealth, power, desire etc, but instead put them on high ground. Mindfulness helps us to stop and look at what these are doing to us and how’re they’re making us lose our freedom.
  • Look at the things you don’t want to look at. Cultivate a kind of fearlessness in front of suffering and obstacles.
  • Our views about other people become an obstacle to us because we’re not able to let them go.
  • To cut off is to practise recognising things as they are, looking deeply and calmly, and letting go. Do it with a quality of love, a feeling of equanimity.
  • Identity is very interesting – we identify so much with ourselves, that when people say something about us we don’t like, we get hurt.
  • When you’re on the path, everything is fun. Don’t make it too serious.
  • Train yourself to breathe and watch in front of a craving or habit.
  • Be mindful of both the input from the world and our output to the world.
  • The only thing that continues after we die is the energy we give out.
  • Thought is an energy too.
  • If something feels restless inside your body, examine your thoughts.
  • A tree just needs to be a tree. A human can also just be a human. But society always asks more of us.
  • Most important thing to do: Transform ourselves and then gather others, so you can create a positive environment where other people can transform themselves in.
  • Sit with your suffering but also nourish yourself with joy. It’s not all about suffering. Suffering is not enough.
  • Train yourself to reset your habit of looking for big happiness, but simply acknowledge – my eyes are in good conditions, I have the time to wash dishes, to take a walk slowly. Look at the ordinary, simple things that you’d forgotten.
  • “We have a diamond in our pocket but we don’t know it. We think we’re very poor and we’re always running, always in need. But we’re the richest person on earth and we don’t know it.”
  • Nourish yourself with nature, your breath, with stillness, with quiet. This will give you the energy to be with your pain and challenges.
  • Put your heart into the practice.

RSS reader

Annoyed that I spent $$$ paying for Reeder 5 and the iCloud syncing between Mac and iOS simply doesn’t work. Does anyone know of a good RSS/news reader app that allows for iCloud syncing and that doesn’t cost a leg and an arm in subscription fees?

In other news… I just bought an 11” iPad Pro because I have fantasies of using it to read (with Kindle and Libby), to write all my French language notes and learn how to urban-sketch (the Apple Pencil is very attractive to me), and use it as a separate screen for when I want to type up notes from Youtube videos or online courses. And also because I’m an incorrigible Apple (hardware) fangirl.

what do you care about?

“In life we don’t have to strive to be hardworking. We just have to strive to care. Because it is only when we care about something that we are driven and motivated to put in the work needed to make it amazing… If you don’t care, you will feel very pressured and stressed, like you have to work hard but you don’t even know why, you just feel like you have to… George Bernard Shaw said, “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.” It is not about being hardworking, but that the true joy in life is when we are being thoroughly used for a purpose we believe in and care about.”
– Xandria Ooi