It’s a quarantine thing

What’s currently helping me get through my sick days under quarantine?

I drink a lot of warm Korean barley tea sweetened with coco sugar, almost drown on drinking water, order soups and meals for the family via Grab Food (feel slightly guilty not being able to cook for more than a week), listen to sentimental love songs* (Bread and James Taylor are both medicine for the weary soul), watch a lot of Crime Scene Kitchen (Joel McHale is a ham!), Hudson & Rex, ice skating tournaments** (2022 ISU European Figure Skating Championships at Tallinn, Estonia) and discovered I enjoy watching rhythmic ice dance skaters more than the soloists–there’s more fun choreographed dancing and more upbeat music (Who would’ve thought disco music and ice skating go well together. Apparently, they’re a perfect combination.). I watched Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts (20th anniversary special) twice and cried over it. And now I want to re-read the series and relive the magic. Also, I read a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction. Before we got sick, mom and I would religiously watch reruns of Buffy on Hits channel during weeknights. Sadly, they stopped at Season 2 finale when Buffy averted an apocalypse brought about by her vampire ex-boyfriend Angel/Angelus. I coped with the sudden loss by turning to fanfic and then I discovered I could binge-watch the series online for free…yes! (Let the binge-watching commence!) It’s my current guilty pleasure–re-watching Buffy and reading fanfic.

Admitting this led me back to a specific memory of reading Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept in 4th year high school–when a classmate who was also reading the same book for her English book report asked me whether I already got to the good part.

Me: Huh? What good part?
Classmate: The sex, of course.

Ooooh…that “good part”. I must’ve blushed automatically, but she needn’t know that she was talking to a pro who’s really good at finding out where the “good parts” are in novels. It was a secret pastime. Now, at this point in time, I’ve already read so many “good parts” that I know which ones were written well. And as a reader with omnivorous tastes, my verdict is still this: Women writers write the most satisfying love scenes with emotional impact.

*P.S. They don’t make sappy-but-feel-good love songs like they used to in the ’70s-’90s.

**My current favorite pair skaters are Charlene Guignard + Marco Fabbri from Italy and Olivia Smart + Adrian Diaz from Spain. They’re a pleasure to watch. The Russians are kinda over-the-top in technique–their skating is flawless but lack the emotion and entertainment factor.

Charlene Guignard + Marco Fabbri at the Italian Nationals 2022
Olivia Smart + Adrian Diaz at the Spanish Nationals 2022

For soloists, Ekaterina Kurakova from Poland recently caught my eye. She shines in every performance, plus she’s got a natural charm and infectious joy that makes me smile when I watch her skate. I would love to see more of her. But for perfection + flawless technique + grace, Russia’s Kamila Valieva is currently the darling of the skating world.

Ekaterina Kurakova at the Polish Nationals 2022
World’s #1: Kamila Valieva at the 2022 ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia

***P.P.S. If you don’t know it yet, I am a huge Spuffy (Spike + Buffy) shipper. As in “I will go down with this ship” level. But definitely not a huge fan of Angel. If anyone’s interested, I’m your go-to girl for Buffy talk.

20+ years after this aired and I watched this on TV, I am still in love with these two! πŸ’•

A beginning of something wonderful

#1212 #1221

A channelled writing and soul offering for 12/12 – 12/21. If you are guided to this, take what resonates. It’s the season for aligning with everything that your soul longs for, a season to close out anything that is ripe for an ending, a season to step up and allow yourself to prepare for and embrace new beginnings. Say yes to a beginning of something wonderful. πŸŒˆπŸ’•πŸŒ»βœ¨

“The more I’m with you
The more it feels like
This could be a beginning of something wonderful”

How sweet it is to have someone who thinks of you instantly when this song comes on, but I also think of it as my song for the Divine. The more I am at peace with myself at the moment, the more I anchor in my connection with the Divine. The more in tune I am with the Divine plan in Divine timing, the more open I am for blessings, beginnings, and something wonderful. The more grateful I am, the more I come into alignment and embrace my gifts and purpose.

“Your gentle means
And all seems to commence
A brand new pace in me
Hope it’s not a blunder
Especially when I uncover
Dig deeper
And I wonder”

Alignment is hearing and feeling the click signaling that everything is in place at the right time. The soul always yearns for alignment the same way the heart desires a beloved, or the anticipation for a lover’s caress. Alignment is the ultimate union of heart, mind, body, and soul. Every time you come close enough to kiss the Divine is a step closer towards alignment.

“When I get near you
I feel something deep within me
You know you bring me to new heights
I’m like a big balloon
Filled with hot air
Ready to explode
Each and every time I kiss you”

Now more than ever, we are being asked to come into alignment with what our heart and soul longs for. We are being called to rise up and embrace our personal callings as artists, healers, empaths, messengers, teachers, nurturers, conscious creatives, lightworkers, change makers, world builders. And when we do so, it’s not just for ourselves. When we are in alignment and we love what we do, our collective energies and actions contribute to a kinder, more conscious world.

Song: A Beginning of Something Wonderful (Orange and Lemons) 🍊 πŸ‹

The New Moon’s Clarity

There was a night like this after Cine Europa years ago,
when I went home on a taxi
and knew I was in love.
But before all that we were trying
to keep a straight face,
avoiding each other’s personal space
with a love scene playing out on the screen.
But ended up arms brushing
against each other,
locked in a starry-eyed gaze
that lasted an eternity,
an extended heartbeat,
it didn’t matter.
It happened.
And suddenly,
it was the closest we have ever been.

And if you had taken my hand in the dark,
it would’ve been different.
You knew it. I knew it.
Maybe we would’ve talked more after Kimono Ken.
But it never happened.
All you left me was a napkin with an I O U.

We didn’t talk about feelings because
we were too scared,
we were too young.
We didn’t know what we wanted.
And after,
all I could say was how cruel it was
to feel something close to love,
only for it to be snatched from you.
I spent years
searching for that spark again in others
and found something infinitely better.
I found love in me that was always there all along–
a love in flames that will never die.
Love that will continue to burn
long after all traces of me are gone.

Thank you for being the first to teach me
to be true to myself–
to not keep my love under lock and key,
to be brave to love big and open,
to do all that and not be ashamed,
no matter what happens.
I wish you the same.

5th post in the series:Β Music / Film + Writing Heals πŸ’–

Image credit: Alex Iby @ Unsplash

Accompanying song: “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today” by She & Him (Volume One)

September

I’ve been wanting to dance lately, mostly in my room and whenever I bake late at night and have the kitchen and living room all to myself. Heaven for an introvert who hasn’t had a day alone at home in over a year. I play my “Happy Day Playlist” and somehow, my cakes turn out the best ever when I dance (and sing) while baking. No kidding.

But it’s not rocket science. Dancing is one of those things that makes me happy and instantly raises my vibration. And when good vibes + good juju abound, anything is possible. My instant happy dance song is “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. Whenever it’s on, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing (even when I’m in the middle of a grocery run), I can’t help but bop my head, tap my feet, and sway my hips–trying to be a bit discreet at the same time, to contain the rhythm and joy bubbling from within, but it never lasts long. It is pure electric energy that needs to be expressed in movement.

September always unlocks happy memories. The best one in 1999, the last year of my golden ’90s childhood–hearing this song being played over and over again from a boombox in the school podium, juniors in their P.E. class dancing the swing. I was a freshman passing by, and to me, they looked like they were all having fun. I wanted to dance too, and not just any dance. I wanted to dance the swing to September. When I heard their music play, I would pull a friend aside and tell her, “Tara, sayaw tayo!” Kudos to her for indulging me even though we looked clumsy mimicking the steps. I was always the more enthusiastic one. I remember being so excited for the time to come when I can finally learn the swing. But third year came and we got folk dance instead. My group got Chinese fan dance. As with everything I did back then, I gave it my best–all-smiles in my red cheongsam top, waving my fan to a rhythm in foreign language. But the truth was, I was disappointed I didn’t get to dance what I wanted.

Then college came and on the very first term as a freshman, I got Social Dance for my P.E. class. We didn’t just learn how to dance the swing, we got the whole package–boogie, cha-cha, waltz. It was a wish fulfillment for this frustrated dancer. We didn’t dance to September, but we did to another Disco Fiasco song on my playlist–Alicia Bridges’ “I Love the Nightlife”. I was secretly happy I wasn’t partnered with any of the guys in class because my dance partner was just what I needed. She was sweet and patient and made me feel at ease. She never laughed or got annoyed at me when I made mistakes or couldn’t keep up. Her palms weren’t sweaty. And most important of all, we were almost the same height. We didn’t have to worry about adjusting to each other’s level. I felt safe to feel the rhythm and just dance with less self-consciousness and inhibitions. I wanted to get it all right even if I didn’t look like a natural dancer, so whenever everyone else was out of the dorm or cooped up in their own rooms, I would practice by the shower rooms where the mirrors were so I could see myself dancing. It was precious alone time savoring something that made me happy.

On practical exam day, we danced an entire medley of all the dances we learned including modern, and passed with flying colors. I was never so blissfully happy getting a 4.0 in a subject that wasn’t academic. And I learned not just 1 but 4 dances! That more than made up for my junior high school self’s yearning to dance the swing to September. To this day, I still remember the basic steps. And I still dance just like that classic Billy Idol song goes…

“When there’s nothing to lose and there’s nothing to prove,
well I’m dancing with myself”

What is your happy dance song? What makes your heart want to dance–what makes you happy regardless of what everyone else says or everything else going around you? I hope you can find the time to dance–to let your heart just dance and do things that make you happy, whatever they are. πŸ’ƒ

***

4th post in the series: Music / Film + Writing Heals πŸ’–

My Cherie Amour

Almost Famous (2000) | William sees Penny

Scene commentary: Kate Hudson as Penny Lane was golden in this scene. No doubt about it, in this film, she was Penny Lane. Patrick Fugit as William (the underage journalist/music-lover writer) translated all the awkwardness of telling the truth to someone you love even though it hurts. And we get a very powerful moment that transcends film and tugs at something inside us in reality.

William may look sweet and naΓ―ve, but he can see beyond the illusions of the Penny Lane persona. And that’s what scares her. To have someone who can be brutally honest with you even if it hurts you, who sees the real you and loves you for it can be unbearable for someone who desperately wants to stick with her illusions. Clearly, “Penny Lane” has a lot of growing up to do. William knows that and loves her enough to want her to shatter her own illusions. πŸ’–
~~~

“You are worthy of the deepest kind of love.”

Since I first watched this film, I wasn’t immune to Penny Lane’s charms. Her beauty, sensuality, confidence, daring, and childlike wonder drew me in to her depths. Penny Lane was a mystery I wanted to get to the bottom of. She was a siren calling out to me with her song. At the end, I got to know her like every wounded sacred woman: looking for love in everyone and everything else but herself.

There is a Penny Lane in all of us at some point. She is also the inner child yearning to be heard, seen, and set free. She reminds me of my younger self who still had a long way to go before her own awakening and healing journey. She is in parts of me that I have yet to embrace and express. She is me every time I belt out to that Queen song, “I want to break free”.

Penny Lane is so real, raw, and vulnerable. I just want to love her. And as I write this, I realize that the deepest kind of love I will ever know and commit to is the love I find in myself. The highest form of unconditional love can only come from yourself, not from others. Unconditional love’s only requirement is to love the whole. And most especially, the parts you rejected and have kept hidden for years–parts that triggered chaos, pain, and shame in you. When you’re ready to fully open up to that kind of love, only then can you accept it from another and nurture it. Because no matter the depths someone else is capable of loving you, when you haven’t explored your own depths and learned to love yourself whole, you will always reject love that’s being offered to you freely.

I embrace all parts of me that I hid, especially those I was ashamed of–the bits that used to make me feel inferior, unworthy, unloved. I set myself free from all poisonous thoughts, limiting beliefs, and all the barriers to love I put up myself. I will not put up with them any longer. I reclaim my power that’s rooted in unconditional love of self. I am open to more opportunities for growth and abundance. I desire and attract the kind of love that matches and nurtures my own.

P.S. I recommend listening to the song, My Cherie Amour (the long soul version) by Stevie Wonder to accompany this piece.

***

Second post in the series: Music / Film + Writing Heals πŸ’–

Almost Famous (2000) | Penny Lane / Lady Goodman