Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Introducing Sol Elixir

Finally, I’ve got a custom-blended essential oil specially created for Sun Goddess Tarot which is an uplifting elixir that promises to enhance vitality, optimism, self-love and general well-being. I have named it Sol Elixir.

Sol was hand-blended by the very talented alchemist, Helena from Earth Magic Potions, based on ancient Lemurian knowledge and years of personal practice in essential oils, crystals and healing techniques.

Sol was created by custom-blending the highest quality, certified organic therapeutic grade essential oils of Jasmine, Lavender, Rose, Bergamot, Orange, Lemon, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Ginger, Cinnamon, Basil, Rosemary, Clary Sage, Vetiver, and Benzoin.

It was also infused with the following crystals, Tiger’s Eye, Red Aventurine, Carnelian, Citrine, Sunstone, Lemurian Jade, Charoite, Sugilite, Adamite, Moldavite, Snowflake Obsidian, Malachite, Labradorite, Pyrite, Kyanite, Kunzite, Clear Calcite, and Peridot. These were added into the bottle, to continuously charge the elixir with powerful crystal vibrations.

Colors from high energy flower and gem oils were then blended in and the elixir was nestled on a cluster of high vibration crystals with “Solfeggio Sound Frequencies”* directed at them for several days. The bottle was then transferred to a crystal cave and finally, the elixir was charged in a crystal singing bowl for greater sound and vibrational healing energies.

The development process and synergy of these elements, in harmony, with the specific intentions to energize and recharge one with confidence, positivity and self-love is what makes Sol Elixir magical. I remembered reading somewhere that aromatherapy is so powerful because of the positive effects it has on one's limbic brain when the oil is dabbed on one's pulse and chakra points.

So why have I named it Sol?

Sol or Sunna is the mythological Norse Goddess of the Sun who rode a chariot drawn on two horses called Allsvinn (Very Fast) and Arvak (Early Rising). I fell in love with this romantic mythological story of Sol and her brother, the Moon God, Mani.

In many ways, the birth of Sol Elixir marks a milestone in the transformational journey I took with the creation of Sun Goddess Tarot. When I started reading the tarot cards for clients, I went through an unbelievable process of self-healing and awareness, the way I hoped to have had provided the same for my clients.

Co-creating Sol Elixir with Helena has been a wonderful experience. She’s been an inspiration and I am very grateful for her time spent listening to ramblings about my dreams and my hopes, my thoughts about my past and my future in her bid to capture my vision of Sol Elixir.

This experience has just opened another door for me to explore my work on tarot cards combined with the energies of Sol which I believe will take Sun Goddess Tarot to a whole new level.


*What are Solfeggio Sound Frequencies?

In ancient times , these frequencies were sung in Gregorian chants during religious ceremonies in churches of that time. But mysteriously, around 1050 AD, they vanished and were presumed lost. These chants held special tones or frequencies which, when sung in harmony, and in Latin, were believed to impart tremendous spiritual blessings during religious masses. Apparently, the combination of these sacred tones and the Latin intonation had the power to penetrate deep into the recesses of the subconscious mind and promote greater healing and transformation.

The Solfeggio Frequencies contain the six pure tonal notes that were once used to make up the ancient musical scale. For instance, middle C is related to the 528 hz frequency tone, which is associated to the color green, which, in turn, is related to the heart chakra. (extracted from www.miraclesandinspiration.com)

Sol Elixir, like every potion that Helena concocts, contains 2 or more of these 6 frequencies to effect the highest transformational vibration of healing.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Dealing with skepticism

Yesterday, I completed tarot card readings for 42 colleagues as part of my contribution to the Children's Cancer Foundation at my company's charity bazaar.

Most of the colleagues with whom I was familiar with, who gamely stepped forward to have their tarot cards read, were the same ones who had such fantastic enthusiasm in their day-to-day work and had displayed absolutely no fear of challenges. My working experience with some of them had bore similarities to what the cards had uncovered about them - their dare-to-do personalities and their determination to ride any rough times with persistence and plenty of courage. I was also particularly glad that some of these colleagues had initially viewed my tarot cards with skepticism and even fear. Yet, they put on a brave front when they sat through a session with me, some looking like a deer in headlights. The courage to open their hearts and minds to my cards and me, was definitely deserving of my respect.

Even my CEO, surprisingly, had a reading with me. I thought that was a career-limiting move for me but I loved him for being so sporting and feeling so comfortable with it. I think I still have a job waiting for me on Monday, thank goodness.

For the enthusiastic 42 that had stepped forward, I also had 420 skeptics who thought my tarot card reading was a "hocus pocus" party trick wheeled in to entertain the lot. One of them vehemently said to me, " No, no, I only believe in God, I don't believe in this", in spite of my protests that it had absolutely no bearing on religion and no reference to spirituality. At that point, I just thought to help myself understand their fears a little better.

So this morning, I visited a "modern day alchemist" by the name of Yvette Sitten. She runs her company Aurora Alchemy which specialized in healing and activating the chakras using hand-blended essential oils, each with beautiful names like Joyful Surrender and Queen of the Night. Each of these oil blends had specific purposes of healing, providing a sense of calmness, dispelling negativity and increasing alertness and confidence.

Like many who thought my tarot card reading was a complete joke, I had initially thought Yvette had fallen straight into the looney bin one day and got out of it only to be hit by a looney truck. A session with Yvette involved tarot and oracle cards as well as healing with crystals, essential oils, hypnosis and meditation. Frankly, even I couldn't quite explain the details of her session because I only had two words in my simple mind about it - Trust and Rest. I just trusted myself in the magical hands of Yvette in that hour and a half and I came out feeling very rested. In fact when I went home, I was so exhausted that I slept all afternoon. It felt like I had never slept for a long time, with my brain actively working overtime each night racing through dreams after dreams that I could never remember when I woke up. Yet, when I went into that deep sleep this afternoon, I swear I did not have a single dream. My mind was a complete blank. And I woke up truly refreshed. Whatever Yvette did that was unexplainable and beyond the comprehension of my simple mind, I honestly didn't care. It gave me a chance to rest my mind and heal my heart so that I can take on the world again.

More importantly, I had visited Yvette with a purpose to better understand and manage the skepticism that I had faced with my tarot cards. However, I came out of my session with Yvette, unconcerned about my skeptics and more fueled with enthusiasm to help those who were opened to my tarot cards and I. Yvette herself, had to confront skepticism when she first started on her own journey. She had never looked back since.

Yvette had a great career at CNBC as a journalist and documentary film producer only to leave it all behind to pursue this new path off the beaten track after many years of research and studies. Like me, she had faced initial skepticism from family and friends and had to " do her stuff undercover" whilst at CNBC. I was luckier. I have very supportive colleagues in the company. I was invited to do tarot card reading for charity events and I got invited to more upcoming client and partner events organized by different departments too. That's why I stepped out of my visit with Yvette realizing how fortunate I was, to be able to pursue a career in marketing that I loved and enjoyed, while helping people around me with my tarot cards. What more could I ask for?

It was humbling for me to realize that with or without the skeptics, I was putting my skills to good use. The skeptics only made me stronger in my resolve to hone my skills better and build better confidence in myself.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Staring mortality in the face

When it was reported in the news that theatre actress, Emma Yong had finally succumbed to stomach cancer after a 16 month battle, it left very little impact on me. Even with well-loved hits like Boeing Boeing and Dim Sum Dollies, I felt nothing. Unlike my fellow grieving Singaporeans who were familiar with Emma and her work, I was shamefully more of a "guns, aliens and preferably sex at movies" girl and not a "theatre" girl.

When I switched on the TV sometimes, I might come across an episode of Bill and Giuliana whereby Giuliana would be whining about her inability to have a baby and her battle with breast cancer. Again, it left little impact on me apart from the annoying fact that Giuliana's whiny voice had taken up an hour of quality TV time from me. I even thought it laughable that a double mastectomy later, she could still appear on the panel of Fashion Police with the only obvious scar as her lack of classy style.

More importantly, while I understood what it was, I was not remotely acquainted with cancer as I have not had family or close friends that had been through the illness.

Oddly enough, I hear the terms critical illness, hospitalization and disability on a daily basis because I worked at an insurance company that prided itself for its continuous education of consumers about the need to get adequately protected from high medical costs, and the need for them to take full responsibility over their own health and wellness. Yet, I thought I was the infallible Joanna. I did not have a family history of cancer and apart from the very common condition of high blood pressure, and the occasional cranky and erratic temperament, I considered myself a healthy 42 year old woman with lots more healthier years ahead of her.

Yet, here are the facts.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore. Of all cancers diagnosed among women in Singapore, almost 30% are breast cancers. More than 1400 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and more than 300 die as a result of breast cancer each year(www.hpb.gov.sg; Singapore Cancer Registry Interim Report 2005-2009). Even with these statistics that I had gleaned from the web and the news articles that I had read about cancer victims, I was not prepared for this experience of going through the pain, anxiety and fear of my own breast cancer scare.

If my colleague did not forcefully shove me up the "Mammobus" sent by the good people from National Healthcare Group, I wouldn't have found out about the issue I had. That, was my first mammogram experience. Unpleasant as it may have been, that mammogram was practically my life-saver.

Multiple mammograms, ultrasound scans, and a biopsy followed by an agonizing wait one week later, I finally found out what the issue was.

The doctor diagnosed the condition as a Flat Epithelial Atypia in the right breast. These are abnormal cells which may present itself as a precursor to Ductal Carsinoma InSitu which was described to me as " pre-cancerous" or " pre-invasive".

I have only heard some of these terms used in my insurance product brochures. But I was gripped with fear and was about to burst into tears until the doctor told me not to worry as they were benign now. However as the abnormal cells are changing, there is risks that they may turn malignant later. So he advised that the affected breast tissue be surgically excised as soon as possible. I could not agree more. I am scheduled for surgery on 20 June. And I can't wait to "zap the beegeezus" out of these cells.

I chose to live many more healthy years of my life with my wonderful family and friends. And I have so many plans ahead to live life to the fullest, embracing everything that the universe has put at my feet. So I am sure as hell, not allowing any semblance of breast cancer, at a pre-cancerous stage or otherwise to ruin my plans.

I have been supporting my favorite charity, the Children's Cancer Foundation for awhile now and I have been doing tarot readings for clients in support of the cause. I am doing this in the belief that while adults like me had led a life full of love and rich experiences, some of these kids may not have that opportunity.

As I was forced to stare at mortality in the face today, I made a promise to myself, my family, my friends and my wonderful staff at work that I am going to start taking good care of myself and will learn to live each moment to the fullest and smell the roses.

Also, I want to remind all my women friends out there to get a mammogram done regularly. It was my life-saver and it could be yours.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The other Mom

I have had my fair share of insecurities as a mother so I shall not start the waffling about how I stumble through 18 years of motherhood like a bumbling fool in search of a Motherhood for Idiots guide at the bookstore.

However, I am going to dedicate this blog post to the person who have actually helped support me as a mother and perhaps been my "4 poles" when I tried very hard to be a good mother, the way I parallel parked my car.

Since I was expecting Joel, I had always wanted to be an unconventional mother. I wanted to be able to raise Joel like an adult on equal footing with me. I wanted to be able to have "adult" conversations with him. I wanted to raise him as a strong, independent and self-assured young man with an ambitious streak, and a go-getter attitude who is not afraid of any challenges life may throw at him.

In other words, I wanted him to be like me.

Now here's the joke. He's not like me.
Thank goodness. That's because, I am not that embodiment of strength I thought I was. And I certainly am not an independent and self-confident person who is not afraid of challenges life throws at me regularly. I am the exact opposite.

Unlike me, Joel grew up to be a self-assured young man full of love for life and absolutely no fear for the bumps along the road of life. Unlike me, he does not over-plan his day to day in a bid to preempt issues that may unexpectedly crop up. Unlike me, he doesn't bear grudges and look back in anger, unforgiving of tribulations.

And the person who contributed to this, was definitely not his crazy, erratic, temperamental, melodramatic and highly emotional mother. It was because of the man who took on the mantle as a father figure and his best friend for the last 11 years.

When Joel was merely 7 years old and just started to go to school, I meandered through the dark and frightening forest of divorce often with my head buried in the pillow and my spirit quashed by the strong grip of depression. David was standing beside me, holding not just my hand but Joel's too. He made it a point to take the both of us out to the beach or the parks, bent on getting the 3 of us to spend quality time together as a normal family and not a dysfunctional one.

He was aware that Joel's friends had moms and dads picking them up at the school gates, so we did too. He was aware that Joel will be seeing a lot of kids playing normally with their moms and dads, and we made it a point to do the same every Sunday.

He bought Joel his first bicycle. And like a great dad, he taught Joel to ride his shiny new bike, first with training wheels, then unscrewing the training wheels months later and confidently pushing him down the slope. Never mind that he landed in a mangled heap by the bin at the end of that slope because Pops was there to pick him up, brush the bits of grass, leaves and twigs off his backside, soothed the bruise on his knee with his finger moistened with that "cure-all" saliva and propped him back on that bike.

As Joel grew into a strapping teenager, David bought the both of them mountain bikes so that they could take to the roads together pretending to be Lance Armstrong.

When Joel grew up with the usual pubescent issues of a voice change, girlfriends and his first shave, David was the one who did that dreaded discussion about sex and taught him how to shave.

David was the father and the mother when I was busy chasing a high-flying career, trying to shake off any residual perceptions of myself as "the housewife from Brunei".

Today, they both still have the frequent "man to man" talks and Joel knows that even when his loopy mother flew into her melodramatic display of hormonal fits, there was always Pops he could retreat to, to have a sensible conversation with.

I am successful in juggling career and family because of David. Joel has grown up to be a well-balanced, level-headed gentleman that any mother would be proud of because of David.

I remembered teasing David for picking us up as waifs and strays more than 11 years ago. However, I could never fathom how Joel and my life would be like without the one man who is the best Dad, Mom and best friend all rolled into 1. I can only be the mother that I can be only because of David.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

I am grateful for not just living, but living well

Every evening when I arrive home after a hard day's work, there is a cacophony of happy noises ranging from Joel talking about the girls at school, David grumbling about an obnoxious client, Evelyn recounting her culinary adventures or misadventures in the kitchen and the dogs barking. I always find it comforting to hear these happy noises as I eat my dinner in front of a tv program, often emanating even more noises of its own. These noises are comforting to me. It's like coming home to the familiarity and warmth of barnyard activity at a cottage farmhouse. And it helps drown out the stress from the usual work day.

Every morning when I go to work, I hear the incessant chatter and comical bantering amongst the girls, in between countless meetings and numerous phone calls. It is very comforting to me to know that the day to day work is managed by a wonderfully tight team of staff who keep their heads above the heavy workload and embrace daily work challenges with enthusiasm and the spirit of great team work.

I look forward to our daily lunches when we saunter around Raffles Place looking for a lunch venue that allows us to tuck into food that fit whatever diet I am on at that particular time.... never mind the girls. And I absolutely love my daily coffee with the girls especially when they get the barista to personalize my coffee cup by drawing something pretty on it and signing it off with my name.

Every time a friend or stranger contacts me to discuss a personal issue he or she is facing and requests for a tarot card reading, I am happy for the opportunity to be of help and even more thankful for that trust placed on me. Whatever the outcome I had read from the cards I picked, at the end of the day, if I could provide some comfort with a listening ear, I know I have done something right for someone.

Every weekend when I visit Mom and Dad, I enjoy being doted on like a 10 year old again. I get fed with whatever Mom whips out from her fridge, I get to amuse Dad with stories of Joel's antics at school, he gets to amuse me with his old jokes re-told 117 times and I do enjoy ploughing through old photographs with them. I am thankful Mom and Dad are always there for me albeit, one snapping at me from the mahjong table, and the other barking orders at me from his wheelchair.

So when I received a letter last night from National Health Group after my mammogram, requesting that I make an appointment with the hospital to do another series of tests due to an anomaly found in the previous test results, I went into a panic. I was gripped with fear and my mind was completely filled with negativity.

I was consoled by a tiny fine print on the letter which said that the re-test was needed to ascertain cause of the anomaly and may be nothing to worry about. I couldn't help it though and I spent a sleepless night thinking about everything and everyone around me.

I was so angry with how the letter was written and the unnecessary stress it caused me last night and possibly will be causing me for the next two weeks.

I am praying the tests outcome will come up negative. However, if I am looking for any outcome at all, that letter had certainly done its job of making me feel grateful for not just living, but living very well.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Special K Diet vs The Paleo Diet

1 month had come and gone since I had embarked on my commitment to lose some weight. Years of see-saw dieting and subsequent weight loss and weight gains in equal measure obviously hadn't caused my enthusiasm to attempt even more diet fads, to wane.

I chose to go on the Special K diet for the first 2 weeks. The diet was quite simple. I had a cup of Special K cereal for breakfast and a cup of Special K cereal for lunch. Dinner was a normal sensible meal and didn't require much culinary fanfare. I lost 1.5kg after 1 week, and my weight hit a plateau on the 2nd week. More importantly, I was extremely miserable for the 2 weeks that required my replacing 2 meals a day with what tasted like the shavings at the bottom of a gerbil's cage. I was irritable most of the time, became anti-social at the otherwise highly enjoyable lunches with the girls at the office everyday and by 3.30pm each day, the witching hour hit me. By witching hour, I meant the hour at which I start to display a semblance of "bimbotic" behavior. My colleagues' questions at meetings would be met with either taciturn replies or a blank stare from me.

After the 2 weeks of that Special K challenge were up, my personal trainer rejoiced, and secretly, so did I. He then put me on the Paleo diet. A Paleolithic diet is apparently the world’s healthiest diet, based on the simple understanding that the best human diet is the one to which we are best genetically adapted. It consists of balancing an active life of exercise with a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and grain-fed meat. I could eat as much as I wanted too for 3 meals a day as long as I didn't have bad carbohydrates like white rice, pasta, bread and noodles. I could have sweet potatoes though. They were apparently good for me and helped to break down protein.

Now, I could do this diet. It was simple, I need not have to be anti-social and I need not give up on my favorite foods, other than breads which I loved. After 2 weeks, I lost a paltry 300grams. However, the percentage of fat loss was quite high, and the percentage of muscle gained was high as well. Most importantly, I am no longer irritable and I feel fabulous each day. I realized this diet was one that required a long-term change of lifestyle and not a 2 week commitment to what was written on a cereal box.

Perhaps, my personal trainer was right after all, but I was too stubborn to admit it and let's face it, I do enjoy giving that Hitler of a trainer a hard time.

So I am encouraged by the results of the Paleo diet to continue with it for another few months. I had after all, made a pledge through my company's social pledge campaign, to lose 8kg by end July.

I do miss my Marble Slab ice cream though. A walk to the Marble Slab ice cream parlour was always a moment of joy for me. However, a very meaningful chat with my CEO at the office one day, changed my entire outlook about my trip to Marble Slab. He said it's not about the ice cream and it's more about my need to take a break from the office and have a walk to clear my mind from the daily stress. He said that next time when I am highly stressed and am short of hitting someone in the office with my shoe, I should just head out for a walk and back again without stopping by Marble Slab. He was right. I don't know when that actuary turned into a shrink but he was so right! Bless him. I have not had ice cream for a month now.

David is not falling by the wayside too. He had signed up for the Sundown race and the Jurong Lake Run, hell-bent on beating his best timing for the 10km category. He had started training twice a week too. I will just need to convince him now that beer, jelly babies and licorice all-sorts are not part of the approved list of foods in the Paleo diet.

Honestly I think the best thing I can do for my body is 1) get as much exercise as I can, 2) get as much rest as I can, 3) ensure my meals are healthy and balanced, and 4) add healthy doses of positivity and plenty of laughter into my life each day.

Oh, I forgot to add that as of last month, the doctor has lowered the dosage for my high blood pressure pills, congratulating me on having gradually put that high blood pressure under control.