Dear Frank,

Firstly, let’s introduce you to the world. World, meet Frank — Frank is my part of my committee that resides upstairs. If you’re wondering, there are also Pablo (my Muse), Harper (my cowardness) and the Universe (needs no intro) in this committee, but more about them another time.

Frank gives voice to my fears, my doubts; he is the nagging voice creeping in when I’m doubtful. Frank is the manifestation of my Resistance. Why not make it fun, give it a name and converse with it regularly?

Frank, meet the World. Now, I’m sure each and every one of you out there has a Frank in some way, shape or form. I’m not pretending my Frank is unique here. I am, however, inviting him to the conversation, wining and dining him, and giving him the space he needs.

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I’ve noticed you haven’t really behaved this past couple of weeks. I mean, I’ve been a super busy bee, from attending an improv training to delivering edits on a few articles for a client, planning for this quarter and publishing a few musings of myself. I’ve also read two books, planned for the upcoming podcast and had multiple joyful conversations around it.

So, what is it with you, that you keep nagging me what I’m doing is not enough? Oh, and I also had a coaching session about time management. How’s that, eh?

You know what, Frank? Not today. Really, no time for you today. I’ve got a bunch of things to go through, so I’ll be ignoring you for the rest of the week. No, I’m not busy, I’m working. Mind your own business, Frank 😉

If oats can become milk, you can become anything

Saw this on Mantra Mag, on Instagram. As amusing as it may seem, it’s true. It’s one of those things we don’t think about, nor do we realise the true power behind these words.

A couple of years ago, I went on a trip to Thailand, in which I had the pleasure of spending a day at a Thai cooking school. [Shoutout to Let <3, defo stop by if you’re in the area, or consider booking a class in advance if you’re planning a trip to Samui] Among other delicious things, we were thought how to make our own coconut milk.

Newsflash: it’s a lot of work and the result are the more so rewarding. I mean, you can make your own milk. From coconuts. Using your very own hands, strength and patience.

You’ve guessed it right – the secret is in the patience side of things. Quite a lot we can learn from a process as simple as making your own non-dairy milk.

In this day and age, patience seems more like a luxury than an asset, and we need to change that. Having patience IS an asset and we should behave accordingly. Hurry slowly the saying goes, and it couldn’t be truer. Try this: check your emails twice a day – once in the morning and once in the late afternoon; skip social media, or only check it if necessary (i.e. is your job to do so).

You’d be amazed to find out that the world hasn’t gone anywhere, you haven’t imploded because of FOMO, and on top of that, you might actually not know what to do with all this free time you have, all of a sudden. Hint: do some work, stop being busy ? Good luck!

It’s all invented

We’re really good at inventing rules and setting boundaries. We’ve spent years and years perfecting these, and they’re usually aimed at the other(s). The thing is, once we’ve worked so hard and for so long setting rules and establishing boundaries, it’s kind of hard not to apply them to ourselves.

The irony here is that we don’t even realise it. We’re not aware of how contained some of our remarks are and can be taken aback when someone’s frank to us. It’s outrageous. When did we start saying more no than yes? How is it that we forgot to have fun? And why?!

I’m an artist, your rules don’t apply to me. Please read this in your own voice until you get, it until it hits home. Read it as many times as you need to, and think deeply about the rules you’ve set for yourself. And now go be awesome, do something, share it with the world. I’m rooting for you <3

The struggle is real

I wonder why we shy away from talking about our fears. Are we afraid of being ridiculed? Our fears being too small? What is it exactly that it makes us so reluctant in showing up with that side of ourselves, too? After all, it is an integral part of our psyche, and we come to the party with both the good and the bad. What I find ironic and a tad interesting is that we’re not that shy in sharing our dreams and expectations, our hopes and ambitions. We bring them to the table with a grin, we’re proud of them, we carry them like riches, and we want to show them off to people.

I’ve noticed that, when we share the hopeful side of us, there’s a twofold reaction we’ll get: Oh my god, so cool, glad you want this, go get it, I’m cheering for you and Oh, wow, that’s a bit crazy, why would you want this, what’s wrong with what you have now? One could be so lucky and only get the cheering, though I cannot stop wondering whether we need the pessimists, the detractors, just as much we need the cheerleaders. It’s a game of balance, of course, although I would say that it’s the no’s that kind of push us further and ambition us to turn that dream into a reality if we want it bad enough.

My question is: why don’t we share our fears, too? What’s keeping us from not showing that so-called dark side of ourselves? I’ve been doing a lot of fear-sharing lately, as part of an organized exercise (more of this another time). And I’ve realised that people don’t frown, and they don’t think you’re crazy, au contraire, they see and accept you. And they share their own fears, too, not because of the need for reciprocation – it’s their generosity that commends them to do that. And you want to know something else? Once we talk about our fears, put them out in the open, either in writing or in a conversation, we acknowledge them. Which means they become something palpable, they upgrade from the in-our-head status to in-the-present. And suddenly, they become manageable, they become actionable, we can see the possibilities that lie ahead, because we’re not stuck in the conversations happening upstairs.

Here’s my a-ha moment regarding fear. This whole fear aspect of the conversation doesn’t last long, you move to the next thing, conversation flows, as it happens when you’re in dialogue. What’s more, if you’re not comfortable in sharing this with another human being, in a verbal conversation, put it in writing, talk to your dog or your fish. It still works, and once you voice it out, the pen on paper will move on, you’ll find yourself telling your dog another story, and you’ll also feel relief. Try it out and see for yourself, observe your own change in motion. It’s magic <3

How to be a cutie pie

– a 10-step guide to cuteness –

Step 1. Smile to random people; 90% will smile back.

Step 2. Avoid frowning.

Step 3. Embrace your inner weirdness.

Step 4. Talk to strangers (without being creepy or stalkerish, though).

Step 5. Remember: it’s just air coming out some people’s mouth, so let them breathe.

Step 6. Dance like no one is watching.

Step 7. Enjoy lightness, even when it rains; look at the clouds.

Step 8. The middle finger: it’s a no-no.

Step 9. Drink water.

Step 10. Get your swag on.

I wrote this guide together with Becca, in a moment of quietness in-between what was a hectic couple of weeks. We had a lot of fun in the 5 or so minutes it took us to write it, and I just came across it whilst looking for something else on my laptop. And it made me smile, so much so, that I’m putting it here 🙂

If the guide seems too complicated, in a nutshell:

  • Accept & embrace your self
  • Hydrate your body and nurture your mind
  • Be present and kind

same-same but different

Empathy is a handful. Its difficulty resides in its simplicity, and we usually shy away from too simple tasks — they scare us.

Here’s a thought: we should think intently and write more about happiness. Take a moment to be grateful for something or someone, or think about something that makes you happy. Practising empathy is one road towards this path — did you know there’s no angry way to say bubbles? I dare you, try it for a few times and laugh at the silliness of it 🙂

Practice openness and acceptance through the eyes of empathy, not because it’s a must-do. More like a feel-do. And then, practice seeing the others and thinking really, really hard if they’re actually the others and us, us.

What if we’re same-same but different? What if we take this limited perspective of us vs others and shift the angle; and let ourselves be amazed by the possibilities that lie ahead.

Empathy is not a button we press to activate a state, neither it’s something we can do only when we feel like it. Empathy is our mind in motion, acting as if and constantly challenging us to be more. More understanding, more forgiving, more present. And since it’s a balance exercise, it’s also challenging us to be less judgemental, less fisty, less absorbed in vacuum activities like mindlessly browsing social media or checking our emails whilst somebody is talking to us.

Next time you find yourself in a difficult situation with someone you see as the other, try and find the similarities that can bring you closer, and focus less on what can distance you more. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.