‘Take a deep breath,’ Maria instructed firmly.

I tried to focus.

‘Now place your hands to heart centre… and set your intentions.’

I was at the last yoga session of the inter-semester break. Semester II was to start the very next day and it came with a sense of uncertainty. Maria’s question prompted me to think – so, what are my hopes for the new semester really?


this photo perfectly encapsulates how I feel about Sem II;

I know this may sound selfish but I hope to love myself more. I had spent almost every weekend in Semester I rushing around, trying to achieve something. I had thoroughly enjoyed every tramp I undertook and social event I attended, but I was left breathless at the end of it all. I had some pet projects I wanted to pursue and some issues that I want to think deeper about, but I had robbed myself of the time to do so. Loving myself, I feel, would mean knowing when to give myself a break.


The never ending list of things to do!

I had recently returned from a WWOOFing experience, which entailed two weeks of hard farm work. Besides returning with an aching back, I also returned with a greater peace of mind. Every day, I was given the same tasks, some of which appear to be mundane – scrubbing potatoes, washing dishes, digging the soil… But they had given me great pleasure. And I realized that this was because I was enjoying the present moment as I went about them. I tend to underestimate the richness of the present.


Cleaning the pig shed. Photo credits: Sakuya Mori

Most importantly, I want to love the people around me even more. Watching familiar faces trickle back into the hall, I realized how much I missed everyone while they were away. I comfortably relaxed into the warmth of dining hall chatter. I had perhaps been pining for the company of friends far away, without realizing that the people right here are the ones who give me great cheer. Only four months remain till we would part from Whitaker.


Sakuya and I reunited! Photo credits: Eugene Goh

These may sound like simple goals, but seriously, it is the simplest things that are sometimes the most difficult to accomplish. I write them here in hope that I would hold myself accountable.



Yoga pose; palms pressed. Namaste means thank you 🙂