Thursday, 28 December 2017

A time to grief and mourn.

A time to grief and mourn.

When tragedy struck, how long do we need to recover?

Or do we ever fully recovered from a major and permanent loss? Loss of a loved one or a shattered dream of having a child?

Given a certain amount of time after the tragedy, can we rejoice even when there are some good news around us? We probably do not have the heart to feel any joy. 

I  believe that the grieving and mourning process has an unknown time limit. Even if the rational mind chooses to accept the truth and realities of life, the emotions may refuse to “ let go” or “move on”.  Why is it so? How can this happen to us?

It is as though the spirit/mind is willing but the flesh/emotions is weak.

I believe that one of the reasons could be due to our mental fixations or attachments to certain emotional securities,  desires,  wishes, hopes and expectations from life and our fantasized future. So unless, we gradually give up these deeply rooted dreams and replace it with a new reality, we may remain in a state of mental fixations and prolong mourning. 

For example, a wife eagerly wishes to see that she could grow old with her loving and caring husband, travel the world together and spend happy days with their grandchildren. She was devastated when her husband died due to a sudden heart attack because she suddenly suffered not a loss but multiple losses of her sense of emotional security, hopes, dreams, desires and plans. She has to nurse her wounds of losses and gradually gather her courage rewrite her plans, hopes and dreams. She needs to redefine her sense of security. 

Hence, we need to mourn over our losses. We need to undergo emotional work. We need to digest, process and let time heal our wounds, hurts, disappointments, insecurities and probably guilt. 

We need time. 

So, to those who are out there mourning, give yourself time to grief, mourn and heal. Give yourself time to realign your desires, hopes and dreams with the Truth and Realities of life.  

And hopefully, we will all be healed and be able to find the courage to continue to embrace life on earth with all its peace, wonder, meaning, good pleasures as well as its challenges and growing pains.

Let us not walk alone but journey together with our fellow brothers and sisters.  


Tuesday, 21 November 2017


Today, I would like to share my personal experiences with grief.

It is such a heavy and intense feeling in the chest.

It takes away all the the joy and pleasure of things right in front of you. There is no mood to do anything during the intense moment of grief.

It is an emotional pain which is so difficult to describe

There is sadness, sorrow,  inner crying and sometimes the need to scream out the bottled up emotions. 

Recently, i have loss a precious personal item which is quite important to me.  At first, i do not believe it and went on an intense search.  After days of intense and frantic searching, reality begin to sink in that i have really lost it and it is gone forever.

Even tough my rational voice tells me that " It is okay " and that " there are other more important things is life". My heart desperately needed to mourn and grief over the loss.

Days  and weeks passed by and I have been gradually recovering from my loss. I realized that life is more than the material things which we often attached to so very closely.

I also discovered that there is such concept such as the "role of a grieving person". If I become fixated and preoccupied with this role , like a hat which i am wearing, it will utterly consume and distract me from my daily meaningful activities. Simply because the strong waves of grieving emotions may overwhelm me.  So, I need to remove the " grieving hat " and put on other "hats" (roles) in my life such as a father, husband, son, mental health professional, friend, teacher, leader, servant,  etc. 

I talked to a few of my close friends and it is such a joy to be able to have someone journeying with my grieving.

As I looked back into my life, i realized that it has been a series of moment of thanksgiving as well as painful losses. When i looked around and list down those who has experiences losses, be it loss of health,  loss of relationships ( family and friends ) or financial loss, the list went on and on.

So, folks, I came to this conclusion that nothing is permanent in life. Everything will come to pass. So if we hold on dearly to impermanent material things in this earthly life, we are bound to suffer more material griefs

So, I shall seek out those things that will last for eternity such as Love and Hope for the Heaven.

You can't take your money to heaven but you can surely take your children to heaven with you.

Lou Holtz
(American football coach )

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Expressing our feelings

All of us have feelings because we are human beings.

Dr Daniel Goleman wrote a best seller called  Emotional Intelligence

Today, I am just looking at a particular aspect of feelings. The question is : Is it right for us to categorize feelings into positive or negative?

Can we say that positives emotions includes happiness, excitement, hopeful  while negative feelings includes sadness, disappointment, guilt, anger, disgust, fear etc ?

The answer is a big big NO. We cannot and must not classify our feelings into these 2 category in a “all or none”  manner.

Emotions or feelings is simply a human response to situations or circumstances around us. It is essential for our survival !  Imagine if we bump into a king cobra snake  and we do not have feelings!

Feelings are complex. We may have not only a single emotion at a time but a mixture of it. Feelings are influence by our genetic ( biological makeup ) as well as environmental ( upbringing and present circumstances ).

It is biological because certain brain structures such amygdala or hypothalamus regulate the emotional traffic in our brains.  It is environmental because early childhood experiences affects the child’s personality and how he or she perceives the world, as secure place or a highly dangerous zone .

So is fear a negative or positive feelings?  Excessive fears to social situations may be disabling. However, the Singaporean mountain climber, Khoo Swee Chiow who scaled Everest for three times, relies heavily on his fears to assess the amount of danger to help him managed the degree of risk he need to take during his climb

By labeling feelings as positive as negative, we will automatically create an unhealthy label towards a child who are experiencing sadness or disappointment due to school bullies.  Responses such as “ you should not feel this way “ or “ Just ignore them” , " stop behaving negatively" happens all too often.  Hence the child may experience shame and embarrassment and prevented from healthy expression of their feelings. The feelings will be push down for years until it explodes like a volcano on an unexpected day.

In short, feelings are real and they are simply feelings.  It is a signal which tells us about how someone is coping or dealing with his or her present situation.  Feelings must be allowed to be expressed and not to be labelled as positive or negative.

Feelings need to be listened to with patience and understanding. When feelings are handled carefully and wisely,  every child will grow up with emotional maturity and intelligence.

Here a great video entitled “Man Up” which featured Gus Worland, radio star from Australia helping us (especially men) to express our feelings.

The Right Dose of Pain in Life

I am sure most of us are familiar with the term " No pain , no gain ".  But how much pain can we actually handle or cope with?

Early this year, I have my first experience with a severe toothache. It was a severe pain during a long public holiday. As such, my regular dentist was closed for a week long holiday.

The intense pain was severe, throbbing and excruciating, to say the least.  It was persistent too.   After 2 days of enduring the pain, it became some unbearable and disabling and I finally surrender!  I resorted to pain killers which gave me some degree of relief and respite. After about week of physical and mental torment, my dentist save my day and repaired my tooth.

My second experience of pain was  rather brief but enlightening.  A week ago, after two hours of jogging with my son, I developed severe muscular pain over my leg muscles and both my knees. Every step i took was painful. It was painful when i climbed the stairs too and i was literally limping when i walked down the stair.  At last, i have a glimpse of how it felt like for senior citizens who need to cope with severe joint pains due to degenerative diseases.

Pain can be a good or a bad thing. Depending on the degree and how long it lasted.

Pain sensations helps us to detect danger such as  a hot kettle or a nail on the ground A headache or stomach ache may be a signal to something wrong in the brain or the digestive system and may prompt us to seek the help of a doctor.

Emotional pain or distress such as severe and prolong anxiety, panic attack, depressed feelings should prompt us to find out what is wrong with our daily life, coping style, stress level at work or our relationships and re-evaluate our social support system.

However,  severe and intense pain is not something that we would really welcome. Severe and prolong pain causes huge suffering to any human being. And everyone who are in such pain, be it physical or emotional should be given due concern and understanding. 

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Guilt : The powerful emotion


Healthy sense of guilt help us to reflect on our mistakes.  We could then rectify it and move on in life.

Unhealthy guilt or excessive guilt could wreck our emotions leading to excessive self blame, painful regrets or even severe depressive state.

Many a times, the feelings of guilt is so strong and overwhelming even though there is no evidence of wrong doing !!  This is called irrational or illogical guilt.

Some of us may have certain temperament or higher tendency to feel guilty.  It may be due to a harsh self-critical tendency or high expectations of self. It could be due to difficult childhood experiences.

However, the absence of guilt feelings may spell danger too. It may result in extreme self-righteousness  with no regards for what is right or wrong!

So what is the key element ?

1) Seek and understand the Truth about what is right and wrong.

2) Understand that none of us is perfect. We all make mistakes and learn from it daily.

3) Knowing that we only need to do the right thing and not to please anyone's expectations.

4) Knowing that we just need to try.  And do what we CAN DO. Not what we cannot do.

So folks, I shall leave you with my favourite quote by Mother Teresa.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Letter from Father series

My beloved children, this video clip is meaningful for Daddy. Please view it with an open mind and heart. :)


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Rules for Pleasure

Letter to my children series : Rules for pleasure.

Experiencing pleasures in life is like walking through a hotel corridor. I am heading towards a destination to attend a meeting. However, there are many rooms along the corridor. Imagine that these hotels rooms are not occupied and I am free to explore these rooms, from the Presidential suite to the junior suites.

And there are gyms, sauna and a relaxing swimming in the hotel. I may take a refreshing swim before I proceed for my meeting. Besides, I need to be mindful of the feelings of my loved ones and that some rooms are strictly prohibited. And I should not indulge in my swim or sauna, otherwise I may not reach my meeting venue on time.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias, a renowned philosopher and apologist shared that there is indeed a guiding principles on experiencing pleasures in life.

He quoted from F.W. Boreham , 3 rules for experiencing pleasure.

1) Whatever that refreshes us but does not compromise our final goal/purpose in life is a legitimate pleasure.

2) Any pleasure that jeopardize the sacred rights of another person is an illegitimate pleasure.

3) Experience pleasures in moderate amounts and do not indulge.

Rule No. 1 : 

Simple pleasures which help us to relax and gives us joy are legitimate needs. However, it should not compromise our value system or lead us away from our desired purpose in life.

So what’s the catch here? We need to discover “What is our final goal or purpose in life?”

Rule No. 2 : 

We need to experience pleasures within the boundaries of mutual respect and observing the  dignity of our loved ones as well as our fellow human beings.

Rule No. 3 : 

We need to enjoy pleasures in reasonable and moderate degree and amount to avoid  indulgence or addiction.  

Pleasures without conscience are illegitimate pleasures 
                                                                                                             Mahatma Gandhi