Monday, March 20, 2017

The story of "Heartfelt Gratitude"

Heartfelt Gratitude

To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived -
This is to have succeeded

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fast forward time to December 2016. I was at a Lindwall Releasing retreat that was titled "The Power of Releasing River Retreat". The organizers and trainers, Heiko and Selina, shared about a Sponsorship Fund which sponsors beneficiaries who need financial support either partially or completely with the fees involved to receive healing through the various Lindwall Releasing programmes that they conduct. I learnt that Heiko and Selina will carefully screen their recipients to ensure that the sponsorship fund goes to people who are genuinely motivated and deserving.

Near the venue of the retreat. Dec 2016.

I practice as a Social Worker in a voluntary welfare organization based Singapore. After three and a half days at the retreat organized and facilitated by Heiko and Selina, I could appreciate the value and power of their work in the area of Lindwall Releasing, and how their work could benefit humanity. I could appreciate that there could be people who have gone through trials and tribulations in their lives who would greatly like to and will benefit from receiving healing via Lindwall Releasing, yet would need some support financially.

I felt a heartfelt sense of compassion for the people who could benefit from Heiko and Selina's work, and decided to contribute to the Sponsorship Fund.

I went privately to Selina, and passed her my humble contributions to the Sponsorship Fund. What I did not expect to receive was, I felt the essence of gratitude radiating from Selina. I felt very thankful that I was in a financially adequate position to give and to contribute. The unexpected gift was the gift of gratitude radiating out for me to receive. A beautiful gift so precious that money could not even buy.

A couple of days after that retreat in December 2016, I went for an art jamming session and painted the painting "Abstract Landscape". I felt I could use the painting to contribute to one of my preferred charities in Singapore, so I made an appeal via my Facebook account to sell "Abstract Landscape" and pledge that all the sales proceeds shall go to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. This Fund supports school-going children from low-income families to better meet their school-going needs, for example, be able to buy a meal for themselves during the school recess period.

After weeks of no positive response, I started to wonder if there would be anyone who would believe in the same cause as I do. Thankfully and eventually, I found a loving owner who bought "Abstract Landscape" and donated generously to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund through the purchase of the painting.

I felt very grateful that I could, through the sale of my artwork, contribute to the cause of supporting school-going children from low-income families better meet their school-going needs, for example, be able to buy a meal for themselves during the school recess period.

When I decided to attend yet another "Power of Releasing River Retreat" in Feb 2017, I felt it would be a great idea to schedule for an art-jamming session the day after I return from the retreat.

An art-jamming session I went, on 6 Feb 2017. It was held at Artefakts at Block 3007 Ubi Road 1, #06-444. I had a relaxing and pleasant time playing with the paints and the brushes, and completing "Heartfelt Gratitude".


After completing "Heartfelt Gratitude", an idea came. How about donating 90% of the sales proceeds to a worthy cause? The remaining 10% from the sales proceeds shall be used to cover the cost of painting the artwork and to sustain future art-projects of similar nature.

Which worthy cause to donate to? The compelling desire was to donate to the private Sponsorship Fund set up by Heiko and Selina. The sponsorship fund sponsors the carefully screened beneficiaries either partially or completely with the fees involved to receive healing through Lindwall Releasing.

Turning the time back to the 5 Feb 2017, the last day of the second retreat that I had attended. As I was seated with the rest of the retreat participants in a circular formation, Selina shared about the private Sponsorship Fund. She went on to share how the donations I had contributed shortly after the first retreat that I had attended had contributed to fund part of the fees for a gentleman in another part of Eurasia to benefit from Lindwall Releasing. As she shared the story of this gentleman and how his life have been positively transformed from Lindwall Releasing, I felt very moved and touched. I felt grateful for the opportunity for an ordinary person like myself to contribute in my humble way to improving the life of a person whom I have never met, in another part of the world. A honour and a privilege, indeed.

A glimpse of the river near the venue of the retreat.

After the very last day of that very retreat, my heart was radiating with gratitude. I felt grateful for the opportunity to contribute!

After I have completed the painting, "Heartfelt Gratitude", I decided that the painting shall be made available for sale to a loving buyer who would like to receive an opportunity to contribute to the worthy cause of improving lives, at least one at a time.

When the painting was put up for a silent auction, there was no valid bid by the closing date. Every unsuccessful endeavour can serve as a learning opportunity to be better and to do better.

I have decided to share the story of "Heartfelt Gratitude". May this story touches your heart with heartfelt gratitude that we each have at least a gift to contribute to humanity. In our own individual ways, we are each significant. We each can be a significant contribution, no matter how small our gift may seem.

To enquire about "Heartfelt Gratitude", please email me at

So I end this post with the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that was at the start of this blog post.

To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived -
This is to have succeeded

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Read: Mycoskie's Start Something That Matters

Title: Start Something That Matters
Author: Blake Mycoskie
Publisher: The Random House Publishing Group.

When I was at Booktique looking for a book as a gift to one of my friends, Anthony of Booktique gave me several recommendations. Out of which, Mycoskie's "Start Something That Matters" stood out as the perfect gift. Anthony of Booktique shared with me that this was the book that had inspired him very much. To find out more, visit Booktique and read about the story of how Booktique started out.

Back to the book, after deciding to get the book for my friend, I felt I could get a copy too for myself. So I did.

An accessible read. Blake Mycoskie has a great gift of communicating his ideas and life experiences in simple and clear fashion. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to start something that matters, no matter how small or huge this 'something' could be.

The book weaves in Blake Mycokie's TOMS story and I could not help but want to buy a pair of TOMS from my local store if I could find out soon enough.

The book is weaved together by eight different chapters:
1) The TOMS story
2) Find your story
3) Face your fears
4) Be resourceful without resources
5) Keep it simple
6) Build trust
7) Giving is good business
8) The final step

While I was about to share which would be my favourite chapters, I realized that each chapter was a gift for me to deepen my understanding of how to start something that matters. I have enjoyed each chapter. A book to read and to keep.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Places: Good OH' Holland Village 2017

Holland Village. the HDB flats.

Please join me to explore one of Singapore's Oldest Bohemian Enclave, Holland Village, at the Good OH' Holland Village event. To find out more, please visit: Places: Good OH' Holland Village 2017

OH! Holland Village

Saturdays and Sundays

4 - 19 Mar 2017

Tours run from 4 p.m.

$25 for three 45-minutes tour

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Read: Sonia Choquette's Soul Lessons and Soul Purpose

Title: Soul Lessons and Soul Purpose: A Channeled guide to Why You Are Here
Author: Sonia Choquette
Publisher: Hay House (2008)

An accessible and clear book to read. This book is a book channeled by Sonia Choquette's spirit guides, The Three Bishops, as well as Joachim and the Emissaries of the Third Ray.

A loving book to read. The guides state that Earth is "soul school" and that we are here to master the basic 22 soul lessons in order to fulfill our purpose.

The soul lessons are as follow:
Learning to Use Your Creative Power
Soul Lesson #1: You are a Divine Immortal Being
Soul Lesson #2: You are a Co-creator with the Divine
Soul Lesson #3: Creation Begins with Thought
Soul Lesson #4: Engage Your Feelings
Soul Lesson #5: You Create in Pictures
Soul Lesson #6: Live in the Present
Soul Lesson #7: Divine Energy Flows Through You, Not from You.
Soul Lesson #8: Refine Your Reason
Soul Lesson 9: Follow Your Inner Voice
Soul Lesson #10: Open Your Heart
Soul Lesson #11: Detach

Working with Divine Law
Soul Lesson #12: All Is in Divine Order
Soul Lesson #13: Reverse Your Perceptions
Soul Lesson #14: Accept Death
Soul Lesson #15: Embrace Life's Tests
Soul Lesson #16: Temper Your Ego
Soul Lesson #17: Address Your Mistakes
Soul Lesson #18: Actively Meditate
Soul Lesson #19: Love Your Body
Soul Lesson #20: Regenerate Your Soul
Soul Lesson #21: Shatter Negative Patterns
Soul Lesson #22: Waste No Time

This is a book that I will be pleased to read again or to receive as a gift.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Read: Mel & Joe: I play and Sing

Title: Mel & Joe: I Play & Sing
Authors: Mel & Joe Ferdinands
Publisher: Candid Creation Publishing, 2011

This was a thoughtful gift of a book from a friend. In essence, the book celebrates a musical journey of Mel & Joe Ferdinands in Singapore spanning 40 years.

The book began with narrating the humble beginnings of Mel & Joe. Music has been a major part of the Ferdinands' family. A book is about Mel & Ferdinands' love for music, and simply, Love.

For a copy of a book, please visit:

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Read: Sonia Choquette's Trust Your Vibes At Work, and Let Them Work for You

Title: Trust Your Vibes At Work, and Let Them Work for You
Author: Sonia Choquette
Publisher: Hay House, Inc.

This is an interesting and inspiring book to read. I had borrowed a copy of the book from the local library. I will love to receive a gift of this book one day.

One of the ideas that stood out was that on broadcasting our love, and we will attract our heart's desire.

For more information on books by Sonia Choquette, please check out:

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Read: Arianna Huffington's Thrive

Title: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder
Author: Arianna Huffington
Publisher: Harmony, New York

I was recommended to read this book. In this book, Huffington shared her observations that the third measure of success goes beyond the two metrics of money and power. What exactly did she identify as the third measure of success?

The third metric consists of four pillars:
Wonder and

The author outlined how paying greater attention to our well-being enables us to connect with parts of ourselves and be whole being successful at work and thriving in life. In the chapter on well-being, many pages were dedicated to discuss how getting adequate sleep can improve so many aspects of our lives. This sub-chapter encouraged and reminded me to be more mindful to sleep before midnight as often as possible.

The chapter on wisdom weaved in the author's growing up years in Athen and Greek myths. One major source of wisdom is intuition, our inner knowing. The author stated that "Our intuition is like a tuning fork that keeps us in harmony - if we learn to listen".

Huffington also made three suggestions to cultivate the ability to not be disturbed by our lives' circumstances. These are:
1) Listening to our inner wisdom to let go of something that we no longer need. (e.g. resentment, self-talk or a project that we are not really going to complete.)
2) A gratitude list.
3) A specific time to disconnect from the digital world.

Being present enough could awaken in us the almost constant state of wonder that countless things in our daily lives present. In this chapter, the author spends a fair length to discuss how coincidences are life's secret door to wonder.

Concluding the chapter on wonder, the author shared three simple practices that has helped her live more in the moment, the place from which we can experience wonder:
1) Focus on the rising and falling of our breath for ten seconds whenever we feel tensed, rushed or distracted. This will allow us to become fully present in our life.
2) Pick an image that ignites the joy in us.
3) Forgive ourselves for any judgments that we are holding against ourselves, and then forgive our judgement of others. Then look at our life and the day ahead with newness and wonder.

The chapter on giving was comparatively shorter than the other chapters. It outlined how service is so powerful. The author shared her own memories of her mother whereby giving was a way of being. That was a moving chapter on how the gesture of giving and service was an offering, not a trade.

Ending the chapter on giving were simple suggestions such as:
1) Make small gestures of kindness and giving a habit. Pay attention to how this affects our mind, our emotions and our body.
2) During our day, make a personal connection with people we might normally tend to pass by and take for granted.
3) Use a skill or talent - cooking, accounting, decorating - we have to help someone who could benefit from it.

This book ends with an insightful epilogue, which quoted Archimedes: "Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world".

There are appendices at the end of the book to provide a series of resources for the readers.

While this isn't a book I would have normally pick up and read, I am pleased that I have read the book. A book that has shifted me towards redefining what it means to thrive in today's world.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Read: Clarity

Title: Clarity
Author: Jamie Smart
Publisher: Capstone (2013)

This is a book that I had chanced upon. I borrowed the book from a local library, and had a pretty good read on this book. I like the way that this book was written in an accessible fashion. Instead of giving instructions on the things to do, the author id written in a way that is closely aligned with how the mind and life really works so that the reader can "catch an understanding" of the "symptoms" of increasing clarity, resilience and peace of mind.

A book that I will recommend.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Read: Venice: A New History

Image credit:

Title: Venice: A New History
Author: Thomas F. Madden
Publisher: Penguin Books (2012)

Someone I know recommended this book. Coincidentally, in July 2016, I visited Venice for my second time, and it was very appealing to read the book. The first chapter was still enticing. By the second chapter, I realized I had limited knowledge of European history. Nevertheless, eager to learn something new, I set myself the challenge to complete the reading of the book.

While I cannot claim that I am a master of Venice's history, I could at least claim that I have read this book and have a sense of how Venice has changed over the ages. The rise and the fall of Venice is an intriguing story.

This book reveals the Origins of Venice. Essentially, the earliest Venetians were Romans. Venice was built from refugees fleeing from the fall of the Roman Empire. Perhaps the next time that I would reread this book again would be when I next visit Venice. By that time, I would have a deeper understanding of Venice.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Read: The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality

Read: The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality
Author: W. Edwards Deming
Edited by Joyce Nilsson Orsini
Publisher: McGraw Hill (2013)

Eager to learn more about Edwards Deming's concepts of Quality assurance, I borrowed the book from the library. This book lends insights to the ideas and thoughts of Edwards Deming. One of the ideas presented was that "dependability of service is an important quality characteristic." "Reliable service reduces cost."

This book outlines and discusses Deming's 14 points for management.

After reading this book, I felt curious to learn more about the statistical techniques that were discussed in the book. I felt curious how statistical techniques could be applied as an aid to solution of problems and as aids to knowledge and creativity.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Read: Leveraging the Universe

Title: Leveraging the Universe: 7 Steps to Engaging Life's Magic
Author: Mike Dooley
Publisher: First Atria Book/ Beyond Words (2011)

I was browsing the library book shelves and came across this book. Accessible in its writing, reading this book felt like I was on a journey of life adventurers on the quest to make the best of it.

The seven simple steps to engage life's magic were laid out in each chapter of the book. The seven steps are:

1) Understand Your Power.
2) Chart Your Chart
3) Take Action and Delegate
4) Leverage the Universe
5) Align Your Beliefs
6) Engage the Magic
7) Adjust Your Sails.

It is worth a good read for anyone who wishes to learn more. I learnt that this book is based on the audio book, Leveraging the Universe and Engaging the Magic, published in 2008.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

USA 2015

Charles River

Better late than never. This post recapitulates the links to the various posts that I have written on my trip to Boston, Nahant and New York City last year, in 2015. It was a trip that was beyond my imagination. I had not thought of visiting Boston until early 2015. I am thankful for the opportunity to visit a part of USA to learn about song-writing and to learn about a different culture.

Ambivalence and resolution: The journey to the United States, 20 Jun - 5 Jul 2015
Travelling tips: From Singapore to Boston
21 Jun 2015: Arriving in Boston on Summer Solstice
22 Jun 2015: Breakfast at Hostelling International Boston
22 Jun 2015 and etc: Thinking Cup
22 Jun 2015: Faneuil Hall and beyond
22 Jun 2015: Old North Church
22 Jun 2015: The Daily Catch
22 Jun 2015: Along the Freedom Trail
22 Jun 2015: Dinner at Giacomo's
22 Jun 2015: Mike's Pastry, possibly Boston's most popular pastry shop
22 Jun 2015: Boston Common and Boston Public Garden
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
23 Jun 2015: German food at Jacob Wirth
24 Jun 2015: Breakfast from Mac Donalds
24 Jun 2015: The search for Algiers Coffee House
24 Jun 2015: Official Harvard Tour
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a guided tour of it
24 Jun 2015: Hatch Shell and the Charles River
24 Jun 2015: One of the Super Duck Tours
24 Jun 2015: Dinner at the Union Oyster House
24 Jun 2015: My final night in Boston for the month of June 2015
25 Jun 2015: A visit to Boston Public Library and beyond
25 Jun 2015: Boston Pizza Kitchen
25 Jun 2015: The journey to Lynn and Oceanview Bed and Breakfast
25 Jun 2015: A visit to Rockport
25 Jun 2015: Fresh seafood dinner from Roy Moore Lobster Company
25 Jun 2015: A quick stopover at Salem
26 Jun 2015: A morning in Lynn
26 - 28 Jun 2015: A weekend learning songwriting
26 - 28 Jun 2016: Beautiful Nahant
Lincoln's Landing at Swampscott
29 Jun 2015: Express bus to Boston and James Hook and Co
Leaving Boston for New York
29 Jun 2015: Reached New York City
Getting around New York City with a MetroCard
29 Jun 2015: HI New York City
30 Jun 2015: Jerry's Grand Tour
1 Jul 2015: Metropolitan Museum of Art
1 Jul 2015: Gimme Coffee
2 Jul 2015: abraco
2 Jul 2015: Washington Square Park and more
2 Jul 2015: A Visit to United Nations Headquarters
2 Jul 2015: Carnegie Hall and a missed chance
2 Jul 2015: The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
2 Jul 2015: Dinner at Fluffy's Cafe
2 Jul 2015: A stroll about Columbia University
3 Jul 2015: Plowshares Coffee Bloomingdale
3 Jul 2015: Absolute Bagels and Lox
3 Jul 2015: A short visit to The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine
3 Jul 2015: Top of the Rock Observation Deck and Rockefeller Centre
3 Jul 2015: Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
3 Jul 2015: Bye New York City

At Boston. Giacomo's

Ferry ride to Staten Island.

Read: Silent Voices of the Soul

Title: Silent Voices of the Soul: How to Recognize the Spiritual Messages in Everyday Life.
Author: Robin Leigh Vella

I was looking for a book by another author and gladly picked this book up. The author used a number of real-life examples to illustrate her ideas and concept. This book is a reminder to listen to the silent voices of the soul to recognize and receive the messages meant for us.

The book is readable and provides a gentle guidance on how we can listen to our inner voice.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Places: Inventions and Innovation. Singapore Night Festival 2016

One of the installations of Singapore Night Festival 2016.
#showerthoughts. National Design Centre.
Image Credit: Photo used with permission from Belinda Tan.
©Belinda Tan
This year, the festival's theme is that of Innovations and Innovation. Find out what are the interesting highlights of Singapore Night Festival 2016 here: Places: Inventions and Innovation. Singapore Night Festival 2016.

Singapore Night Festival 2016 

19 and 20 August 2016, Fri and Sat 

26 and 27 Aug 2016, Fri and Sat 

Bras Basah Bugis 

Free Admission 

7.30 p.m. to 2.00 a.m.