Writing 101: Commit to a Writing Practice

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Unlike the previous two days, this question made me reflect for a good two hours before I could bring myself to write.

Thinking back, I realised I had never worked very hard for anything. I pick up skills relatively fast, be it music, cooking or dancing and I’m usually quite satisfied with the my competency at those levels, good enough not to fail, but generally passable, but not great. So I became abit of a Jane at all trades.

This question had me thought very hard about what I really do work on over the years and it came down to 3 things.

1. Cultivating good food choices.

I was an impulsive eater and had an enormous sweet tooth in my teens. Because of the weight gain, I tried to cut down on meat and eat more vegetables. But nothing much happened, partially because I couldn’t resist food and my body type was heavy to begin with. But over two decades of gradually observing the effects different food had on my moods, mental clarity and physical sense of well being, I gradually leaned towards pescatarian and eventually vegetarian – almost vegan now. And my sweet tooth had diminished very much as I let go of emotional baggages over the last few years. The emotional letting go accelerated when I switched to vegetarianism. It wasn’t a conscious decision to eat or not eat certain foods, but rather being attentive to how my body feels after eating , that lead to a point where I don’t feel like eating meat at all. And recently, I feel that I don’t want to have cheese, it felt like my body – at a deep level, rejecting some cheese I had even though it was a small quantity. The change in my food choices is beneficial. I hardly fall sick. I have sniffles, but I had not fell sick for awhile. I look fairly youngish for my age, and I feel more energetic. My energy levels are fairly constant through the day, even slumps are not as deep and dark as they were before.

2. Mindfulness.

I watched an Eckhart Tolle video on Youtube a few years ago on breathing and it taught me that mediation doesn’t have to be sitting down in lotus position. So I had been practising that ever since, just taking conscious breaths through out the day, whether I’m teaching, having a conversation or just shopping or doing nothing. One conscious breath may not be much but as it became a habit, it became tremendously significant especially in times of stress. During times of difficult communication, or heated moments, taking a moment to breathe consciously changes my mental perspective in those moments and I was able to handle those events much better, conscious responding instead of reactiveness. And during traumatic flashbacks, it was my life saver. I used to be caught up in despair and depression, but now I’m more able to observe them and understanding what mental beliefs I held on to that kept these emotions there. For this, I’m truly grateful.

3. World of Warcraft / Dota

I was a world of warcraft player for 4 years and Dota for 7 years. I love both games tremendously although I had bidded WoW goodbye. Both games taught me teamwork and synchronicity with other people and getting my mind and responses used to adrenaline stressors; as in to be able to respond within that moment instead of over thinking about my response during stress. And oh God, I love the strategy thinking involved in both games where you have to understand your team and opponents’ abilities, weaknesses to even out the odds in combat. Especially the synchronicity involved in a good gank! It takes trust and an intuitive working together, when so little verbal communication is involved. (It goes to show in Dota, exclamation marks say a crazy lot!). I miss the camaraderie in WoW, where you come together with 24 other people who are but little pixels in your screen but somehow through bringing down a boss together, from the things they say online, conveyed a sense of who they are and you realise that you care for them. So that was the habit I unintentionally sustained for a good many years which brought me alot of joy and growth. Am I a game addict? I may be. But for now, I’ll just play and see where it takes me.

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