Pace Yourself

  

A couple of months back, I was in the Standard Chartered Marathon, running a 10k. There were thousands running their marathon, their half marathon or like me, their 10k. Each runner runs at a different speed, a different pace from the rest. Unless you are running in a pair or with a group, which just annoys people who are trying to overtake the pack.

Many may know that I’m currently overseas in Japan for a week for an impromptu vacation. This is the fourth day of the trip and as I sit across the popular Shibuya Crossing at the Starbucks in Shibuya Tsutaya, I can’t help but think of the thousands of people rushing across this busy street everyday. It seems like everyone is rushing somewhere, to meet a person, to reach a destination. Some are running, some are walking and some, you could say, should be walking faster than they are.

One question that kept coming back to me the past week as I walk the streets of Japan is “how do we want to pace our life?” Are we walking fast because everyone else is walking fast? Or are we keeping our own pace of life?

It is easy to walk and keep walking without stopping to think how fast or slow we walk. There are seasons in our life that we have to run, seasons in our life that we have to walk, and seasons in our life that we just have to stop. Whichever season that is, we need to choose the pace ourselves, if not we get caught up in the current.

How do we PACE ourselves in life? Four simple things to look out for:

1. Productivity

Productivity is an interesting concept because we become productivity when we work on something. When we work on something, we eventually become engrossed in it. Eventually, we come to a point when our productivity drops even after putting in the same effort. 

When that happens, we need to look at our pace, whether it matches our optimum productivity. Sometimes it is good to just stop and review before going off again. 

2. Attention

Someone once said that nothing could stop mankind if we were to put our mind into it. That holds true especially when it comes to life. Our focus determines our results. When we attend to a matter, we put much attention into it, sometimes to the point that we forget everything around.

In my trip to Japan, one thing that had been interesting to me is the opportunity to just slow down and start changing my attention to what’s going around me. There are so many thing that we can be taking in that we would miss out if we only focus on that one thing.

3. Connection

When we are running too fast or walking too slow, we may miss out on the connections we can make around us. That brought me to the Standard Chartered Marathon couple of months back. Funny thing that happened – I signed up for the run with another friend, but we barely met each other during the run other than the start and the end of the run.

When we start to miss out on the connections that we could be making, we should look at the pace we are going whether we should speed up or slow down.

4. Enthusiasm

Remember the time when you were particularly excited about something? Give it a month or two, what happened? Let’s say a year or two, what happened? Where is the same enthusiasm you used to have about that something? Could it be that we have outpaced ourselves? Maybe slowing down could help us see and get back to why we were so excited about it in the first place.

Enthusiasm is often a litmus test for our pace. When we are unable to be enthusiastic about what we are doing, maybe we are in the wrong pace and need to calibrate again? Once we calibrated our step, we can get back into the excitement and enthusiasm.

The lesson is simply… Pace Yourself! 

Food for thought… If we spend so much money on wearables that track our heart rate, our steps, our speed, etc, why aren’t we spending enough time on the pace that really matters?

Pace Yourself

The Day When Everything Starts To Click Again

  

Seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become days, days become weeks and weeks become months. That’s how a rut happens when you get into one, going through the same thing over and over again. Then it happens – all it takes is for something to click! A moment when the motion starts to revolve, the day when everything starts to click again.

The conclusion to the weekend sermon in church – ENJOY… at the end of LIFE as a friend of mine said it, became the turning point when everything starts to get into perspective. Five easy points – Engage, Nurture, Jesus, Others and You. For me, the context is simply to Engage Life, Nurture Life, have Jesus, Others and You in Life. To enjoy life would be the main ending point in the LIFE series. *starting to chuckle with the two “enjoy life” groups I know*

Incidentally, this week became the first object lesson to ENJOY LIFE, as I spend time in Japan for a week, all thanks to my sister. Walking the streets of Tokyo has been a surreal experience as I visited some of the same places I’d been years ago… Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Osaka to name a few the past few days.

One of the first things I got reminded of during the past two days was a lesson I had learnt and am still learning. A lesson on travel but also a lesson on LIFE. 

Yesterday I was walking and shopping around Shibuya, one of the busiest places in Japan. I wasn’t expecting to buy too many things, since I don’t usually like to shop too much in these trips. Sadly, I’m not a shopaholic when it comes to traveling overseas. Still, I managed to nab a few t-shirts along the way and some snacks to bring back. At the end of the day, my bag was full and I had several bags on hand, which means I had to go back to the hotel to unload before heading out again.

First lesson in travel – Always Travel Light! As we go for holidays, we are bound to shop and buy things along the way. People may stuff us with freebies and things we may or may not need eventually. If we are walking for the whole day, a light baggage would help us travel longer and faster. At the end of the day, you may need to unload your baggages before heading out again, so you can pick up more along the way.

First lesson in life – Always Travel Light! As we go through the hustles and bustles of life, we are sure to pick many things up along the way. Things will happen whether we like it or not and we can get affected eventually. We are walking in life for the long haul, so a light baggage would help us travel longer and faster. At the end of the day, always learn to unload your baggages somehow before you head out again, because you know you are going to pick up more things along the way.

The lesson is simply… Always Travel Light!

Food for thought… Why do we go for vacations? Simply to vacate (to leave a place that one previously occupied). Are there things we should leave behind and vacate in life? Things we should not be carrying anymore?

The Day When Everything Starts To Click Again

The Road is Long, Valley’s Deep, Ocean’s Wide in Front of Me

http://www.strangenotions.com/wp-content/uploads/Meaning-600x402.jpg
http://www.strangenotions.com/wp-content/uploads/Meaning-600×402.jpg

Now that the March and April madness have fizzled out, it is time to get back to reflections and writing, something that I missed so much over the past few months. As I got in and out of writing the past year, I realised that my best times and seasons often happen when I learn to pause and write. Not that I don’t go through challenges when I write, but my challenges take on a different meaning when I do write. I guess now is the time to make writing a habit and a practice again before embarking on anything else.

April has been a significant month for many of us. Two weeks ago we mourned for the death of a great man – the founding father of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Last week we celebrate the resurrection of a great Man – the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. For many, it was an emotional period and till now, many are still reminiscing the impact of those two events. For me personally, the season had been trying and still is, as the engine gets turned up for my work. Three more months to the big event and we are miles away from getting anything done. Once again, we are up against the impossible as time is not in our favor.

I’ve entitled this post “The Road is Long, Valley’s Deep, Ocean’s Wide in Front of Me”, taken from the song “But God” by C3 Church. This line resonated a whole lot with me the past few months as I battled the challenges of life, work and ministry. There are many things I am still battling both in and out of me, but what I love about this song is the line “But God saved the day”, taken from Pst Phil Pringle’s sermon – But God.

Just to share a couple of my favorite But God verses in the bible:

Genesis 50:20 (NKJV) But as for you, you meant evil against me; BUT GOD meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Psalm 73:21-26 (NKJV) Thus my heart was grieved, And I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; BUT GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

1 Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV) BUT GOD has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

Any my all time favorite:

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; BUT GOD is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG) No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

I’ll leave this post with a clip of the song “But God” and its lyrics. Hope this blesses you as much as it blesses me.

BUT GOD

Don’t wanna walk this road alone
‘Cause I know You are The best of me
And I won’t do it on my own
Cause in You I found my destiny
The road is long
The valley’s deep
The ocean’s wide
In front of me
But God saved the day
Jesus You’re the way
The truth, the light, the hope for all mankind (yeah!)
But God saves the day
The Road is Long, Valley’s Deep, Ocean’s Wide in Front of Me

Pretty much nothing much

http://889yoga.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/change_of_seasons1.jpg
http://889yoga.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/change_of_seasons1.jpg

Last week during the weekend church service, we learnt about the transition generation where we are constantly moving in between various seasons of our life – from summer to autumn to winter and to spring. We also learned about the 5th season that many of us may not recognise – the transition season, which is why I love this picture because the season is just like the empty space right in between each season.

What is the transition season like? It is probably the most confusing and frustrating season that we have to go through in life, because very often it is marked by simply… nothing much. We are neither here nor there. We are not in summer season where we have lots to do nor autumn season where we are enjoying the fruits of our labor. We are not in winter season when circumstances are cold and down nor spring season when life picks up with many new things. Basically there’s really nothing much and we are just waiting for things to happen. To top it off, people in this season are very often neglected because we are not doing so bad that others would take notice and at the same time, not doing so good that many others want to celebrate with us.

Recently, I have been pondering… Many times we are asked “how are you doing?” and the answer we are expected and socially attuned to give are statements like “I’m fine”, “Not so well” or my favourite “Okay”. But social expectations aside, truth be told, many of us are probably in the region of not doing so fantastic where butterflies and rainbows are singing for us everyday and at the same time, not doing so horribly that we are dragging ourselves through the mud and the whole world is against us. So, for a period of time, I decided that I would go with just “So-So” for the question, which is also kinda like “50-50”.

That said, when we talk about the transition season, the one story that came to me was the story of Joshua who crossed over into the Promised Land but just before he conquered Jericho.

Joshua 6:1-5
Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 
And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”

Joshua came out of the Wilderness and into the Promised Land. That is like going from winter into spring, where God is going to do something new in our life. But right smack before his first conquest, God spoke to Joshua to march around Jericho for six days and on the seventh day to march around seven times, leading to the triumph. What we may not be aware is that the walls of Jericho were probably less than 1km in distance, which meant that Joshua had to lead an entire army to walk less than 1km around Jericho once a day for six days. Imagine what they would have been like –  They make preparations early in the morning, set out to Jericho, walk for probably about 15 minutes and that’s it for the day. Talk about simply nothing much.

The six days around Jericho were pretty much nothing much, just like a transition season. But yet, that transition season laid the foundation for the seventh day when they had to multiply their efforts seven times. That transition season taught them to trust in the faithfulness of God. That transition season allowed God to test them right before the greatest victory they had ever seen before for an entire generation.

So, what do we do in our transition season? The Huffington Post gave 5 Tips For Getting Through A Major Period Of Transition:

1. Accept the change

2. Find time for reflection

3. Take it one day at a time

4. Find a mentor

5. Learn to be an optimist

(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/11/life-changes-5-tips-for-g_n_2272378.html)

To add on the list, as a Christian, how do we go through a transition season?

1. Find time to seek the Lord

Matthew 6:33
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

2. Connect with people who matters

Hebrews 10:24-25
Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

3. Take time to reflect on God’s goodness

Psalm 63:6-8
If I’m sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection. Because you’ve always stood up for me, I’m free to run and play. I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post

4. Encourage someone in need

Isaiah 50:4
The Master, God, has given me a well-taught tongue, So I know how to encourage tired people. He wakes me up in the morning, Wakes me up, opens my ears to listen as one ready to take orders.

5. Exercise patiences in everything, and I mean EVERYTHING

Romans 5:3-5
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

We must realise at the end of the day, in all transition seasons, Romans 5:3 will always hold true – THERE’S MORE TO COME even when there’s pretty much nothing much.

Pretty much nothing much

3 E’s to start your 2015 well

http://fr.yoyowall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Chaton-chat-embrasser-Hannah.jpg
http://fr.yoyowall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Chaton-chat-embrasser-Hannah.jpg

We started December with the 3 D’s to end 2014 right and here we are at the last day of the year 2014. To end off the year, I’ll have 3 E’s to start your 2015 well. If you’ve noticed, the past few posts had been with alphabets and if you put all four together, our December has been a month to DARE. As we end of the year, I would like to DARE you… to move, to change and to step into the new year! Before we get to the last post, just to dedicate something to everyone out there…

Actually I’ve cheated a little, because the 3 E’s of this post is in fact 3 “Embrace” that we need to adopt in the new year in order to start it well.

1. Embrace the moment

As we start off the year, take time to smell the roses. When we step into office the next day, don’t forget to pause as the busyness set in. Before we get caught up by people’s expectations or the load of work awaiting you, know that everyday brings new experiences for us to appreciate and acknowledge.

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
Eleanor Roosevelt

2. Embrace the change

We often hear the phrase “the only constant in life is change”, but many of us would probably like that phrase apply to everyone else but ourselves. We would like other people to change, our circumstances be change, the cards dealt by life be changed. We need to realise that the only way people, circumstances or chances can only be changed when we change.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw

3. Embrace the possible

The only way for 2015 to be the best year yet is to expect the unexpected, which means that anything is possible. Even things that we think are impossible, more often than not, life will prove us wrong. So rather than being proven wrong, we might as well embrace that anything is possible. When we do so, we will grow to the capacity of doing anything we set out to do.

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.
Mahatma Gandhi

May the coming year be  the best year of your life!!! Yet!!!

Live Out!

3 E’s to start your 2015 well

3 R’s to Reboot for 2015

http://www.ragmag.co/uploads/relationship%20oct%202012%2022.jpg
http://www.ragmag.co/uploads/relationship%20oct%202012%2022.jpg

As we come to the end of 2014, most of us are rounding up the year with the Christmas busyness of shopping, feasting and gatherings. In the midst of such busyness, at the back of our minds, we know that the year is coming to an end and we may be thinking about the coming year ahead. Those who are more mindful would probably be doing reflections of the year and planning for the coming one.

This week, I have 3 R’s on how to reboot and restart in preparation of 2015.

1. Refresh

In the coming few weeks, take time out to refresh yourself in the midst of the busyness. Take a couple of days off for some “me” time to refresh your mind and spirit.

Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.
Ralph Marston 

2. Recharge

Instead of taking time to retire, take time to refire and recharge your passions and dreams. As we come to the end of the year, don’t forget to take time to think about the why of the what. We are called human “beings” and not human “doings” for a good reason. It is in the being that creates the reason for the season.

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat. When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.
Napoleon Hill

3. Renew

Before we get into the rut of doing up New Year Resolutions for 2015, maybe it is time to take up our old ones and see which ones we can “re-new”. Sometimes it is tough to take a look at our past, but ain’t we all a sum of all our past decisions and relationships? Maybe the way ahead is by looking back first before looking ahead.

If you want a new tomorrow, then make new choices today. Starting a new way is never easy so… keep starting until the start sticks.
Tim Fargo

Live Out!

3 R’s to Reboot for 2015

3 A’s you can control in any uncontrollable circumstances

http://1080presolution.com/night-high-speed-car-driving-hd-desktop-wallpaper/
http://1080presolution.com/night-high-speed-car-driving-hd-desktop-wallpaper/

Almost a year ago, I started on my GroupX journey and began to shadow/team-teach Les Mills BodyCombat in a local gym.  The journey was exhilarating as I was doing something I love and I was able to share it with many other people.  Also, my health and fitness were at a level that I could work out for many hours and get back at it the next day.

While that was going on, it was also the annual Christmas drama production and I was cast as the Giant in the show.  As a Giant, I had to train myself to wear stilts throughout the show.  Stilt walking isn’t exactly the easiest craft and I had less than a month to master the art, at least to last me for three days.

Because of the many rehearsals and shows, by the end of December, I had over-strained my knees and as a result I had to drop out of team-teaching for many months.  To have to sacrifice one passion because of another is always a tough thing to do.  To top things off, during that season, I had practically little or no support and I had to tide through the season.

The saving grace of the story was that six months after I recovered, I was finally able to get back to shadow and team-teach once again in the same gym.  This time, however, I had lost much strength and stamina over the few months of recovery and I had to start building my fitness all over again, in order to get back to the level I once was.  The thought of giving up often haunted me over and over, and anyone who were in the journey before know it is always an uphill battle.

Over the past 12 months, I had learnt that there are many uncontrollable circumstances in our lives, some of which we put ourselves into by choice unfortunately.  However, no matter how many uncontrollable circumstances we may be in, there are certainly things we are able to control.  I have 3 A’s that we can control in any uncontrollable circumstances.

1. Attention

Have you ever wondered why we have two eyes instead of one?  Each eye sees the world from a different angle, creating slightly different pictures.  The brain combines these two pictures into a single, three-dimensional image called binocular vision.  What does this got to do with “attention”?  Everything!

When we focus both our vision in both eyes into one, we get a single-focused, 3D image.  If our attention is divided, our vision will always be confused and different from reality.  Also, what we get is always a 2D image which is often misperceived and inaccurate.  As such, when we put our attention together as one, we control what we see of the uncontrollable and we decide how we want to perceive that circumstance.

Your attention is the door and solution to any problems you might face.  When it is divided, we are always presented with two doors and we will always be in a fixed which door to choose.  When it is focused on the right vision, the door to our solution is always clear with our positive instincts.

I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.
Marla Gibbs 

2. Attitude

Businessdictionary.com describes “attitude” as a predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation.  Attitude influences an individual’s influences, an individual’s choice of action, and responses to challenges, incentives, and rewards.  In short, when we say attitude is everything, attitude is really everything in our life.

I don’t know about you, but I have found that when I’m faced with uncontrollable circumstances, the easiest default attitude is to be negative over what is happening.  Things are beyond me and there is little or nothing I can do.  What’s worse is when the circumstances turn every worse no matter what decisions I make.  Everything seems to spiral downwards just like a speeding car that had lost its control over the steering wheel.

When we are in that situation, the only thing to do is to reboot your attitude.  In motorsports, a pit stop is where a racing vehicle stops in the pits during a race for refuelling, new tires, repairs, mechanical adjustments, a driver change, or any combination of the above.  When we find ourselves in that rut where our attitude sours, it is time to turn into our pit stop and change tune up our attitude.

A bad attitude is like a flat tire. If you don’t change it, you’ll never go anywhere.
Unknown 

3. Approach

Alongside a river, an oak tree and a patch of reeds grew side-by-side.  The oak tree was strong and proud; its enormous trunk and branches reaching far above the tops of the slender reeds below.  One day, a great storm came from across the river, and the strong winds blew with all their might.  The oak tree, as strong as it was, was toppled over by the winds, but much to the dismay of the oak tree, the reeds were still standing.  The reeds replied calmly, “We were not blown over because we were flexible and moved with the wind. Although you are strong, you fought against the wind and lost.”

The first thing we feel when we are in an uncontrollable circumstances is the inability to change or make decisions.  That may be true of the conditions and considerations in the circumstances, but we are never left without the ability to change and be flexible in our approach.  Just because the river is flowing in one direction doesn’t mean we cannot steer the boat.  Whichever decisions we make, no matter how small, will always make a significant difference in time.  The 1 degree of change will result in a totally different direction, if we were to stay committed to our decisions and flexible to our approach.

New ideas stir from every corner. They show up disguised innocently as interruptions, contradictions and embarrasing dilemmas. Beware of total strangers and friends alike who shower you with comfortable sameness, and remain open to those who make you uneasy, for they are the true messengers of the future.

Rob Lebow

Live Out!

3 A’s you can control in any uncontrollable circumstances