Wilderness Explorers

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If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.
Walter Isaacson

Last weekend was spent in ECP for YB Adventure Camp 2016, and I’m finally having the time to document my experience/journey down properly.

I’ll admit that it didn’t go as smoothly as I intended/expected. I’ll attribute it partially to my fatigue … it was difficult for me to get into the camp mode. And because of the significance that YB AC has to me, I’ll admit that I have very high expectations of it. When we first got into our teams & as I facilitated the creation of our group name/identity, it was so so challenging. But I’m glad. Team Fire really grew a lot, from the first moments together as a team, to when I had to leave on the second night 🙂

This camp taught me a lot, it opened my eyes to many different things & perspectives that I never considered before. This camp, I realised I was interacting with my youths from a somewhat social work-ish perspective; don’t get me wrong – I didn’t view them as Clients. But I realised how intentional I was in balancing the group dynamics, & the kind of words that I used. Call this yet another form of experiential learning? 🙂

Stayed up for the entire first night doing sentry duty, must have been insane but genuinely wanted the rest to get more sleep since I was only staying for 2 days only. It’s so therapeutic to lay on the groundsheet out in the open, staring up into the star-filled sky 🙂 And when dawn was nearing, I went to sit at the shore with 2 of my youths, and we just sat there looking at the sky light up. In that moment, everything in life felt like it fell into place, everything felt right, nothing else really mattered or bothered me anymore. There’s something so addictively calming about the sky, be it sunrise or sunset 🙂 Sitting in silence, pondering over my life and thinking through so many things, I would say that I cleared my mind. Not by a lot, but at least it’s something. We even witnessed a rainbow, how lucky are we? 🙂 Haven’t felt such peace & calm in a long while.

On the second morning, there was a crazy thunderstorm. Our pegged down tents started to   fly away (almost), we braved the thunderstorm to save the items in the tents. And this, marked the start of the turning point of the camp for our youths. This, somehow made our youths get their act together, they were not as idle as before, they started to be even more appreciative. I wasn’t hoping for any of such effects – I genuinely wanted everyone (& their belongings) to be safe & sound, because what’s more important than that right? 🙂

At the beach, I stood by the sea alone, while my team was building a sandcastle for one of the activities. I allowed the waves crash into my feet & I just pondered over how the past two days have been in the camp. Could I have done anything differently to make the experience better for my team? Were there any instances where I should have picked something up but failed to notice? Was it my fault that the youths just seemed disinterested at times during the camp? I was honestly upset then. Upset at myself, confused at the entire situation, and I was on the brink of giving up any hope. And in that moment, marked the turning point of the camp for me. Team Fire was supposed to explain & test out their sandcastle, and they called me to listen to their description. Which really touched me a lot, because at the core of their sandcastle stood a castle that represented me, and they expressed their thankfulness & how they so willingly considered me as part of Team Fire. I was really, really touched then. As cliché as it may sound, it was like the light at the end of the tunnel, when I was being so down & all, they gave me the strength to carry on 🙂

Team Fire isn’t one that’s keen for debriefing/reflections. And I found it a struggle throughout, to try to get them to share properly. & this struggle continued till the last debrief I conducted with them on the second night. They took it seriously albeit it being filled with laughter, and in that moment as we laid on the groundsheet in the semi-darkness, everything felt right again for me 🙂

Many things happened in this camp, I wouldn’t deny it. We had youth falling sick, getting injured/hurt till the point of crying, we had youths feeling angry/upset and caused tension to be present in the camp. This camp might not have been perfect, but it’s these little imperfections that made our youths learn & grow together. What’s the point of a camp that’s smooth sailing anyway? I’m so honoured, and more than glad, to have been participating in this camp alongside my youths.

Pretty bittersweet now that it’s over, hoping to be able to attend my 4th YB Camp next year, but who knows? Nothing is certain. Nevertheless … Thank you for such a memorable YB Adventure Camp 2016. And happy 2-year anniversary to me with ’em YR youths hehe 🙂

 

Till the next time x

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L’espoir

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There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. -William Shakespeare 

So tempted to just abandon all commitments for a day & just embrace books after books (and no I’m not talking about textbooks), haven’t read from a physical book in a pretty long while and that greatly upsets me because reading is (one of) my form(s) of escapism from reality. Caught myself drifting to Times/Popular Bookstores everytime I’m out & about, just to browse through the books displayed. Holding back (self-control gosh) not to read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes yet till the movie hits the big screen – the extended trailer looks so, so good, I’m a sucker for movies of this genre, almost sure I’ll bawl at some point in time during the movie *o*

Life hasn’t been the best yet in the past week but I’m starting to pick up the pieces of me that I left behind along the way. Heightened self-awareness leads to more probing of oneself, which in some sense is beneficial, but definitely tiring. Still trying to come to terms & rationalise certain emotions that I’m feeling, but it’s easier said than done & I’m honestly drained. Tired of how thoughts inevitably start going in circles & coming to no conclusion ultimately; could this possibly mean that I actually have a conclusion in mind that I refuse to accept, thus I’ll just choose to ignore it?

The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves, until one day there are none.
No hopes. Nothing remains.
– Arthur Golden

I learnt that ambiguity is a dangerous thing. Ambiguity leaves room for imagination, and with imagination comes the glimmer of hope. With hope comes expectations, and when expectations aren’t met, things start spiralling down. Who’s there to blame ultimately? Is it the people who failed to meet your expectations? Or should the blame be directed towards nobody but yourself, for having the audacity to hope? I’m in desperate need of some clarity in my life now.

On a lighter note, amidst my crazy busy hectic insane schedule, I managed to head down to different RVPs to volunteer yay 🙂 Not a stranger to most of these places as I’ve headed down previously, but volunteering makes my heart feel so, so full every single time ❤ Gaining new insights with every interaction I have with the beneficiaries, understanding them better, and through them, I understand myself a little more each time. The hours spent volunteering each week are the hours where I get to temporarily put down whatever baggage I have, leave my worries aside, and really enjoy myself in that short time span. And for that, I’m beyond grateful for the breather. Skeptical about how much impact I could have left in their lives from a mere visit or two, but thankful for such opportunities, albeit acknowledging that there’s more I could do for them. Hope they enjoyed my presence as much as I loved their accompaniment 🙂

Food for thought – if we are introducing adhoc into regularity for somewhat personal reasons of growth & learning, are we actually doing more harm than good to those involved? For one, my heart really, really broke when I witnessed a particular scene recently hmm.

Another food for thought – I’m starting to recognise the importance of passion in tiding one through difficulties & issues. I used to acknowledge this truth, but only till recent did I truly embrace the significance of passion.

Week 12 isn’t going to be easy, but as with all tough times previously, we’ll tide through it. The severe lack of sleep from the past few days is starting to take its toll on me, wonder how long it’ll be before I reach my breaking point. So much for testing boundaries and limits haha.

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P.S. I finally got my hands on new calligraphy nibs hehe, time to practice more English calligraphy when I’m free 🙂

x

Baby’s Breath

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Find balance in your life. Work hard but don’t let work take over your life, you will lose yourself. Love, but love for the right reasons. Life is too short for anything mediocre. Know who you are and know that you are worthy of reaching your dreams and that it is never too late to start creating that life you have always dreamed of. Do not compare yourself to others, that’s just deadly. No two souls are the same. You are your own person, you are beautiful and you are unique. Put your trust in the universe. Some things are just meant to happen, and some are not. Let go of whatever is stealing your happiness, it’s hard but it is worth it. Embrace change. Embrace life. Everything happens for a reason, sometimes you just need to breathe, trust and let go.

With half a month down, one word to sum up the first seventeen days would have to be: eventful. Eventful figuratively, and eventful literally.

Started the year with high hopes & expectations of how 2016 would unravel, and yet reality doesn’t prove to be as kind as I hoped it would be. Starting to pick up my pace, starting to learn how to deal with adversities in life. It has definitely been a rough start, but the reassurance would be that things can only get better from this point onwards, wouldn’t it? 🙂

So excited for what’s in place for me in this year, finally on the right track & actually knowing what I want to achieve in the future. Many plans lined up this year, it’ll get overwhelming at times, but it’ll be worth it – & hence I should give my all and enjoy the process while I’m at it 🙂

I really appreciate people who spend the time to check in with me, people who care about the things I’m going through & reassuring me that I’ll get through them. It means a lot to me. & thankful for those who remember the little things that affect me greatly, and ensuring that I don’t feel too uncomfortable when I have to step out of my comfort zone to do things that I would otherwise avoid at all costs. I’m trying hard to overcome certain challenges, but then again it’s easier said than done. It has been so long since then, but the memories still come back to haunt occasionally. This is getting frustrating.

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We need people in our lives whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage & risk.

But until you find these people, there are some walks, you’d have to take alone.

x

Empire

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And isn’t the point of things – beautiful things – that they connect you to some larger beauty? Those first images that crack your heart wide open & you spend the rest of your life chasing, or trying to recapture, in one way or another?

*clears cobwebs away* Hellooooo endlessparadigm we meet again after a relatively long hiatus.

It has been an interesting & fulfilling (though hectic) December holidays so far. Midway through the month already, mixed feelings about having to head back to school when January creeps closer till it arrives. Many events have happened in this hiatus, and (regrettably) undocumented on endlessparadigm, but definitely etched in my memories 🙂

It has been (and will continue to be) a month of giving, totally embracing the spirit of giving haha. Each volunteering session has concluded with positive takeaways, and the recent volunteering experiences in YB & GAW was no different. The immediate gratification received upon witnessing the happiness & enjoyment of ’em beneficiaries really warms the heart, and continues to affirm how volunteering is not just us giving, but we are on the receiving end as well. I’ve been reminded to enjoy/appreciate the little things in life, the happiness derived from accompaniment of friends, and not take them for granted. More often than not, it’s how you perceive a situation that ultimately determines if you end up happy or otherwise.

I truly believe that everything that we do & 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 & not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.

Today didn’t exactly start off on a good note, honestly don’t remember when was the previous time I cried this badly till I hyperventilated haha. But I’m thankful it became much better along the way, had so much fun exploring an area that I’d rarely venture into. Finally tried watermelon soju, but it wasn’t as nice as I hoped it’d be – might be because of my high expectations prior to trying it though!

Alright time to wrap up this post, hopefully my frequency of posting will be higher from now on whoops. So glad for December holidays, because I finally get to play the piano & read more books, two things that I really, really enjoy. Perhaps it’s my form of escapism, perhaps it provides an alternative reality.

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And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.

x

Heartbeat

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We’re all scared most of the time. Life would be lifeless if we weren’t. Be scared, and then jump into that fear. Again and again. Just remember to hold on to yourself while you do it.

Had a fun time with (part of) 14MC for MC Photoshoot earlier today 🙂 Really excited and hopeful for the term ahead with 14MC, it won’t be an easy path, but at the end of our term, hopefully we will all be able to look back and have many fond memories etched in our minds/hearts for the rest of our lives 🙂 Glad that I’m given the platform to pursue something that I’m passionate about, hoping that everything will work out eventually. Things have been made easier with a bunch of fun people to work with, I’ll definitely be at a loss without all of their guidance & advice. May 14MC be more bonded, serve CSC well in our various positions, be more active as a volunteer on-the-ground, and have fun while we’re at it 🙂

Received the results of my (one & only) midterms, glad I didn’t screw it up despite studying for it only the night before. Perks of it being a psychology-related social work module, and that it was an MCQ test haha. Need to start mugging for finals soon after all the submissions are over; 3 submissions this week + 1 next week, can’t wait to have the time to fully concentrate on finals! Rather determined to do well (or at least decent) this semester, especially since it’s my first semester taking social work modules hee. Social work studies have been really insightful thus far, and it opened my eyes to many details that I’ve overlooked in the past. May the subsequent modules of social work in upcoming semesters be as fulfilling as this semester has been 🙂

Normality is subjective – it’s a social construct, and it’s perceived in different ways, from different point of views, depending on how you define it to be. What constitutes actions/thoughts that are supposedly normal anyway? Been doing quite a bit of soul searching amidst the busy days, trying to understand what I truly want and what matters more. It’s unhealthy to harp onto things/thoughts that don’t deserve any attention, or even contributing to the sadness faced for that matter. Sometimes it’s inevitable to clutch onto those memories in hope for a reoccurrence even though we know it’s not going to happen. And over-reliance is a big no-no.

But then I realised – you can’t find someone who will fix you. That’s not how it works. You’re supposed to find someone who inspires you to fix yourself. Not someone who thinks all your flaws are perfect, but someone who challenges them; someone who can tell you that you can rise above the past and learn to love & trust again. No one will show up in your life with the magic words to chase the demons away. But one day you will meet someone who will make you want to fight them off yourself, because they deserve nothing less than your best.

Being positive doesn’t mean pretending everything is okay all the time. It means acknowledging your feelings & realising that you have the power to overcome any obstacle. It means realising that although you can’t control your circumstances, you can always see the silver lining. There is always a silver lining.

Late nights serve as an apt time to craft such thought-provoking posts, enjoying the peace & tranquility that only nights can provide. Alright back to socio-cultural theories in social work assignment, hoping to complete it before sunrise haha. Productivity level needs to increaseee haha.

P.S. Really a sucker for flowers & helium balloons, so pretty omg hahah okay till the next time x

Goodbye Lullaby

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It was real. Somewhere between the stars, the lights, I discovered that what we had was real. For a long time I wondered if, while walking by my side, you ever saw it that way, that we had every chance to make it. I saw each footstep we left behind being absorbed, disappearing instantly into collecting pools of water that erased all evidence of us being there. I wondered if the words I spoke to you were more like our footsteps, or the rain; if they covered up the scar of words that foot stepped across your heart, left by those who tried to walk the same uncertain path before me, or if they joined them. I stepped, I spoke, I stopped, and your words fell like rain.

It’s midway through week 8 of school and it has been really, really tiring. Staying up till almost sunrise just to complete assignments, prepare for tutorials, finalise materials for presentations. I really need better time management, and to learn to take things in stride, for currently I just feel so overwhelmed with everything on hand. Typing this post at 3am, as a midway break before I continue trudging through my assignment (yet again).

And recently, I keep getting the question of how I’m coping in my new major, whether I’m regretting the switch, etc etc. I don’t regret I really don’t 🙂 In fact, I’m so appreciative of the many chances for experiential learning, be it NHS or just mere social agency visits. It allows for a step into the sphere of reality in this field, something that theories will never be able to compensate for. And yet it gets upsetting hearing the stories/cases shared, to know that there are so many people out there who require help and assistance – but at least by having a case opened for them, there’s that glimmer of hope. And there are those who fall through the cracks, which results in the inability to receive as much help as they actually need. Hopefully policies will be improved to be more inclusive hmm, but then again there are the pros & cons attached to every decision made.

Increasingly I start feeling the sense of helplessness, the muffled cries of despair; things that you’d have comforted me for in the past, but no longer the present. I hate it whenever I catch myself thinking that I could turn to you to share the details of my life that I used to share – it used to be so natural, and now all that’s left is the sense of void. It’s like this wall built up even higher than before, I don’t even dare to let my thoughts wander there anymore – the hurt’s real. I guess the closure will never be there, because all I’d really want to ask is, “What happened to us?” but I’m afraid of knowing the answer. It’ll forever remain a mystery that’s unsolved, which is a pity because of … well many reasons. I’m just naive to think that promises hold.

On a happier note, I’m glad to be bale to spend time with our youths again today 🙂 They really are my happy little pills – when I was sharing about the programme with a fellow Social Work major, she commented “you must really enjoy your sessions, I can hear the happiness when you’re talking about your youths”; nothing can be more true than that. Our youths will always hold a special spot in my heart – and I hope they will all grow up to pursue their dreams that they shared with us, to be able to attain the freedom and happiness that they’ve always yearned for.

& thank you A for meeting up for lunch earlier this week, it was a much needed break from the insanity faced throughout the weeks (although we aren’t exactly very sane whenever we meet up haha); & thanks Y for the frequent random topics in our chat that always helps to make the long train rides seem much more tolerable. & most importantly, sorry to anyone who felt a certain hostility from me in chats – trust me the fault is entirely on me, the past few weeks haven’t been easy to get by and it’s really getting to me. The last thing I’d want is for any misunderstandings to occur because of my lack of replies (again), or the fact that I don’t sound as “enthusiastic” these days haha.

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Sometimes I can’t help but to wonder, all these trade-offs, are they worth it? x

Atelophobia

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I can feel it through your empty eyes & I can hear all the screaming thoughts in that chaotic mind of yours. One day you will realise that this moment and the ones before & after, will shape you into who you are and will be. Feelings are not permanent. Life is temporary. But you, you can take it & make it worthwhile.

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The past weeks have been hectic & hence the lack of updates on endlessparadigm. It’ll be ridiculous to say that I’m burnt out since it’s only week 6 and I’ve barely started studying. Thank goodness for only one mid-terms this sem, although the tradeoff meant that more social agency visits & assignments are in place. Not complaining or regretting though, for those experiential learning will definitely serve as a good platform to gain more insights into the sphere of social work 🙂

On a sidenote, really miss the times when it was actually possible to have frequent meetups with friends. Really missing those two enjoying life in Korea currently, but thanks (especially Y!!) for always listening to the stuff I have to say and really promoting the free expression & freedom of speech in our conversations heh. Can’t wait to Skype you guys soon, and glad that nothing’s changed despite being a million miles away.

Not sure if it’s time to move on & attempt to close this certain chapter of my life – and yet I catch myself being unwilling/unable to bring myself to do so. After all, this still means a lot to me & I am still in the phase where I’m not willing to forgo it. Shall see how things progress along the way, and let things unfold naturally.

I don’t exactly know why I’m letting certain matters affect me more than they should, but through these I guess it reflects the importance of matters/people in my life? It’s the little things in life that mean the most, and it’s exactly these things that keep you motivated & keep going on. And yet it’s always those little things that defines you; and can either make or break you.

Honestly the transition isn’t easy, and I’m still trying to come to terms with everything that’s going on, the responsibilities, & dispelling the worries & what-nots, but it’s really harder than it seems. And I’m still trying, it’s tiring but I’m really, really, still trying. Muffled appeals for help will serve no purpose at all any longer anyway. Perhaps given the circumstances, it’s time to be truly independent. Let’s just hope I’m up for it.

Till the next time, for a breather x

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