Category Archives: psychology

My Four Years After Opting Out

In mid-2013, after 15 years of working in the Information Technology (IT) Industry, I decided to cool off from my solutions advisor role and take a much-needed break from the corporate world. Like the majority of  working adult population, I was working non-stop right after I achieved my Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering degree last 1997. It was my belief back then that having a full-time job is what I need in order to support my family, paying my rent, and settle my debts and bills. I can’t stop working and I have to climb the corporate ladder and that includes dealing with office politics.

And so it was, until 2012.

After I settled down and got married in September of 2012, like many high-achieving women in the workforce, family care was placed in my top priority. A month after my wedding, I was contemplating of “opting out”. If I continue my corporate role involving frequent travels, I believe my marriage may not work out. It is my personal conviction that the first year of marriage is highly critical as it’s the era of adjustments, understanding, compromise, and acceptance. I’ve learned it from my past failed relationships due to my lack of “quantity” of time. My ex-manager Ashok was surprised when I handed my resignation letter; I was saddened too, as he was a good and caring boss.

Leaving the corporate world especially when it’s your dream company is considerably heart-breaking. But weighing the situation, facing a failed marriage will be more traumatic.

I am considered blessed as after leaving SAP, I was offered to be a flexible delivery consultant by Claylogixtech Malaysia. I didn’t realize that it’s the kind of flexible time focused on project implementations and customer’s maintenance with a little of presales role is the type of  spur I needed at that point.

Me and my husband tried to conceive. However, factoring the age and realizing blood RH incompatibilities lead us to the practical decision that having kids on our own will be dependent on God’s will unto our marriage. Somehow rather, it lessened the marriage stress and just be ready to respond to family relatives questions during gatherings. We belong to the norm of Asian culture that having our own children (meaning, own flesh and blood) is a must during the marriage.

Now, here are some of my practical derivatives of life lessons learned in the last four years:

  • Time management

Time is the most precious commodity that we shouldn’t afford to waste. As I was surrounded by humongous amount of choices,  I saw myself doing all things at once since you know, my own time is in my hands. I had a hard time finishing the projects that I started. It’s definite that some trusts were broken due to failing to deliver. I realized that when you are working for yourself, it is utmost critical to learn to prioritize, delegate minor tasks that I feel isn’t worth my time, and of course, learn to say no to those requests or business opportunities that isn’t my expertise or I’m lacking of knowledge. When you’re in your 40s, it’s best to focus on those activities that will value your time and self.

  • Every penny counts

Being prudent is one of key factors that will determine a person’s success. When I was paid every month and bonuses coming in, I put in savings for the rainy days. Though at times there’s that want to overspend to satisfy the thirst for shopping branded items, I still make it a point to have some money in the bank. Well, that attitude came handy in the last four years. I had the courage to leave the corporate world as I didn’t have home mortgage to pay, we decided to rent room instead of whole flat, personal and credit card loans were manageable.

So, being prudent served me well in the long run. The only change I had to do is to shop less and not to be mindful of the fashion trend. I slowly changed my wardrobe to less clothes but quality pieces.

  • More Friends

It is normal to disconnect with corporate friends when you’re no longer working full time. I realized my circle of friends have increased. As you venture entrepreneurship, you will be surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs just the same. I still keep in touch with ex-colleagues through Whatsapp and social media; having coffee and dinner from time to time. Basically, you will have mixture of friends, from ex-colleagues to new found friendships and connections.

  • Be grateful

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  ~Matthew 5: 3 NIV

My spirituality deepened during the last four years. I’ve finally ventured to one thing I’ve been wanting to do since I was 26 years old. That is, to serve God. Every year, me and husband conducts outreach program(s) to Philippines. We’re privileged enough to be supported by our church, Moriah Assembly of God, to be missionaries for a month to the northern part of Thailand. It’s not an easy journey but God is truly awesome! So we’ve named our business EL Hannora (which means Awesome God).

Serving God has been my most rewarding decision.

I will always be grateful to God, my hubby Gnex, my family and in laws, friends, biz partners, customers and Mr. Hew Keng Woon, and the staff of Claylogixtech Malaysia and Positive Domain.

Jumping out of the corporate band wagon is scary to death. There’s a gigantic worries and uncertainties because it is a make it or break it moment. With the binge of time, we cannot deny the unspoken norm that you have a slim chance of getting back your position and compensation when you hit 40s and above. The workforce competition is higher and employers prefer the older millennials due to focus, energy, and drive.

Opting out from the corporate and workforce isn’t easy. You will need tons of courage and faith to get by. However, if you survive the adversities, it’s one of the unforgettable milestones in your journey of life. I do not know what the future holds. However, one thing I can say is when you serve God, everything is uncertain. That’s where your FAITH kicks in. If God can feed the birds in the sky, why not us? It only takes us our humility and obedience.

Here are some of the motivational songs that helped me get by for all the ups and downs of life.

‘Til next time. Au revoir.

The Indifferences In The Brotherhood of Christ

It all started even during the dawn of Christianity.

The various religious leaders of Orthodox, Catholics, Coptics, Arians, Syriacs, among others who led the early Christianity years have already differences in their teachings.

Emperor Constantine created the Council of Nicea with the goal of settling disputes in terms of claims and create uniform teachings and doctrines among all Christian bishops; the east and west Christians. The very first issue of which, is the settlement of the question pertaining on the relationship between God The Father and The Son (Jesus Christ). After many years of arguments, the one-ness of God The Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost being one has been accepted by the members of the council. We now called it the Trinity and it is recited in the Nicean Creed.

Emperor Constantine wants unity among Christian brethren.

And he did. Or at least he succeeded in creating the Nicean Creed and Christianity has the Trinity.

Hundred years later, another dispute broke in Christian churches. This time around, the conflict wasn’t resolved leading to the separation between the Eastern and the Western Christian. The Eastern Christianity (Mediterranean ) retain their traditional and conservative prayers, worships, and teachings while the Western Christian evolved. Without the backup of the Roman Emperor, the Eastern Christians have to live on their own along with other non-Christian religions.

Western Christianity became dominated with Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholics flourished and expanded to other continents across the globe. Roman Catholicism introduced many doctrines (the original sin, St. Francis’ humility, etc) and one of the most controversial is the doctrine of purgatory. When a Roman Catholic passed on, and if he or she is destined to go heaven, the soul will first enter the purgatory so to be “purified” before going to heaven. It became very controversial and debatable as Catholicism has been viewed as the means for salvation and that reliance to the Roman Catholics clergy are of great value for after-life.

 

1/500 sec. F4.5 ISO 640 @ 17mm. Cathedral of Cologne Germany. 209

Until the reformist came in the 16th century when a German monk Martin Luther disagree with the Catholicism way and differentiate his view on after life that an individual him/herself is accountable to God. And the Protestantism movement begun.

Lutheran Church, Gutersloh Germany. 2009. 

Protestantism was followed by other reformist such as John Calvin, the global Pentecostalism (Pentecostal), charismatic movements, and the worldwide independent churches.

The indifferences among Christian churches today are still at large. The sad part of about it is, we Christians are very good in pointing out the “heretic” teachings of another church without even understanding how it came about. We have this mentality that our church is the true church and the rest of the Christian churches are nothing but heretics. We oftentimes forget to look into history. Christianity has thrived over the centuries and overcome empires. Mistakes are made along the way.

Always remember, there is no perfect church.

While writing this article, I’ve asked my husband;

“So when do you think all these indifferences started?”

“It started when Jesus Christ ascended into heaven leaving the 11 apostles to continue His teachings”, he replied.

At least both of us agreed.

Jesus Christ knows that conflict among His followers will arise. In Luke 9:49-50 NIV,

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Me and my husband, like many Christians, wants to see that one day these indifferences in Christian churches will eventually be gone.

That instead of fighting for what is the truth, that we Christians instead focused on the two commandments left by Jesus Christ:

  1. Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
  2. Love your neighbor like yourself.

Christianity’s teaching is focused on love. The New Testament reminds us that we have to love our brothers and sisters including the unlovable.

Where is love when you allow your prejudice mind to over rule your heart and think that your church is the true Christian church?

Our Eastern Christian brothers and sisters are now undergoing the persecution in the name of Jesus Christ. No one knows how long this persecution will continue. This is the time when we, Christians need each other.

Why not remove the wall in your heart, offer prayers, lend a hand and love your Christian brethren regardless of his/her church?

After all, being a Christian, is becoming Christ-like which is all about love and compassion.

The change has to come from individual Christians; being the church of Christ.

Christian unity is what we need right now. 

This is a call from God.

This is a call from Christ.

This is a call from the Holy Spirit.

The Trinity.

 

Photoblog: The bushes of God’s revelation, Dhofar Oman

Exposure: 1/500 sec. F/11. Focal 70mm. ISO 400. Title: “The bushes of God’s revelation.” Dhofar, Oman. December 2010.

While growing up back home, I always watch the Ten Commandments movie during the Lenten season whilst there’s no TV channel broadcast – no shows, except for the Ten Commandments and the Life of Jesus of Nazareth.

The story of Ten Commandments always starts with Moses and God’s revelation. In this time, God revealed and spoken to Moses through the burning bush.

“I AM THAT I AM.”

Such powerful words that have always been taught during my religion and theology classes in school – from primary school until my university days. However one thing I won’t forget is that bush – that variety of plant imprinted in my mind and prayed that one day I would see that.

Having lived in the slum of Cebu and the slum of Manila, I’d never imagined settling overseas with a wonderful Christian husband let alone travel to couple of continents including the Middle East. When I reached Oman in 2010, the first glimpse of the country made me felt I was in the movie. And the wind blows my hair and my cheeks relived my childhood days of watching the Ten Commandments, Exodus, and Jesus of Nazareth.

I never realized my prayer when I was a child would be answered. After almost 30 years it does. God, truly answers prayers.

My road trip experiences combined with watching the sunset beside the beach in Oman with my eldest brother together with friends made me appreciate to be at peace with nature, with life, and with God.

And the picture of the bushes above will keep as a reminder that the true and ever living God exists. Ask the 2 Billion Christians across the globe and you will hear different testimonies and acclamations about God and our Lord God Jesus Christ.

If you’re looking for a church in Singapore, me and husband cordially invite you to visit Moriah Assembly of God at Vivo City Cinema Hall every Sunday at 10AM. See you around brothers and sisters.

In Christ.

From A Dollar To Hundred Times Fold!

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 06:38 NIV

It is unknown to many that our third sibling battled cancer for the last two years. When our mother passed away last January, she casually told the rest of the siblings that she will will be next. It never occurred to my mind that her statement will happen. And so, be told.

In the hubris of our youth, death is a black mark that we don’t spoke of.  And to grieve is a parcel that all of us will receive. Death is part of life and the subject of grief normally caused numbness in the brain; a subject most people will deny.

As we succumb to the black hole with the passing of loved ones, hard as it may seem, God has always been there overseeing the process and ensuring that we will overcome the loneliness, anguish, and confusion.

It took a while before I realized and recall how God helped our family during the passing of our third sibling.

One benefit of compartmentalization is your ability not to cry nor show sadness to your customer as you receive the Facebook messages that your sibling passed away. I was in the middle of customer systems setup and testing when I learned about my sister’s passing. I hold on to my composure and waited few hours; burst my tears as soon as I reached the hotel.

A day after, I traveled back to Singapore. In the flight, I was seated with Caucasian married couple. There was a flight delayed due to one passenger who checked in with luggage and decided not to take the flight. The budget airline flight stewardess started to offer the drinks to us but it came with a fee.  The wife, who was having tough time understanding the Malaysian accent, mistakenly thought the drinks come free so she ordered coffee. The husband was asleep at that time. As the flight stewardess asked for payment, the wife was astounded. The husband awoke and started to look for Malaysian Ringgit only to find out that they were short of currency. Alternatively, the flight stewardess advised them that they can pay with Singapore Dollars. As they started to look for another set of currency, they started to panic. They were only a dollar short.

I spoke to the stewardess and handed her a dollar. The sheepish couple started their argument until I told them not to think about it. It’s part of traveling to foreign countries. Some practices we’re not used to; we will pick it up along the way.

The couple’s name was Dave and Misti, both Americans but relocated to Italy due to Dave’s work. As we’ve started our descend to Singapore, the three of us started to talk about so many topics. They wanted to treat me at Starbucks Coffee, but I have to declined as my husband will be waiting for me at Changi Airport. We had very good discussions and laughter; an experience I’m grateful as it let my mind off from grieving.

Couple of days later, we had our Moriah AG caregroup scheduled. I decided not to attend and have requested our caregroup to pray for my sister’s eternal repose. It’s better to isolate and seek God; a moment grieving people need the most. My sister’s passing was painful to us but the deep cut went to her family – her husband and her children some of them are still in primary school. My brother in law supported my sister all through out and battling cancer back home can immediately wipe out savings and assets if you’re not covered with proper insurance. My brother in law’s properties were mostly gone and our siblings can’t help much in the interment as we’re just recovering financially from our mother’s hospitalization and interment expenses.

The following day me and my husband Gnex attended our church service with Moriah AG. To my surprised, one of our caregroup brothers talked to me and handed me a white envelope with our caregroup’s condolence money for my sister’s family. Flabbergasted with teary eyes, I thanked my caregroup for being there. It meant so much for my sister’s family; not only for the interment finances but also to the kid’s allowances as they’re still schooling.

In the end, God proved His faithfulness and showed His mercy to our family during difficult times.

Ever grateful. Ever thine. Ever loved.

From a dollar to hundred times fold.

Til next time. Au revoir.

Sexaholics – Are You One Of Them?

Some of us has already come across the word “Sexaholic or Sexaholics”, a term that correlates to sexual fixation. A fix to addiction via sexual activities.

Like any other addiction, a sexaholic behaves the same; when the urge starts to kick in, the sexual fix needs to be satisfied.

Though the sexaholic statistics still remains a mystery, most of the known sexaholics are from the male gender. Yes. Men. I believe it boils down on how the male species are genetically wired and how men and women are being perceived by the society. Famous names who were rumored to be under the treatment of sex addictions were: Tiger Woods, David Duchovny, Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, among others.

How can a person become a sexaholic? 

The difference between sex addiction and the other variations of addictions (drugs and alcohols) is the method of acquisition. Drug and alcohol addiction would involve a certain threshold and a dependency to an object. It all starts with small amounts of drugs (cough syrup, heroin, etc) until the tolerance increases and addiction kicks in.

Sexual addiction on the other hand does not involve tolerance and no dependency either. Sexual desires emanates from the brain. A desire can lead to a strong sexual fantasy and the search for sexual partners kicks in. Sexual partners can be anyone, it can even lead to paying dominatrices. There is no object dependencies in this manner; for sexual addiction, it is all in the a person’s mind.

In this sense, there is a fine line between sexual addiction and the regular sexual desires. Sexual desires become sexaholism will all depend on the reasons why sexual activities satisfy the cravings or the fix. For a sexaholic, when the sexual cravings are satisfied, he/she becomes a better person, accepted, everything becomes a better world. The same cravings will happen again and the same satisfaction is justified.

Most common cause of sexaholism is depression, a struggle within a person’s internal self when a person feels rejection. Like any other addiction, the basic need of approval and acceptance is still the core of a sexaholic’s wants, needs, and desires.

Sexaholism is all about the person and the society. Unfortunately, there are norms, culture, and tradition that is being shaped by society and the judgement to sexaholics can become a downside to a sexaholic’s acceptance of the problem and the acceptance to undergo therapy or medication.

How can you tell if you’re a sexual addict?

There are various societal groups that are willing to help for sexaholics recovery. An alternative and probably the best way is to speak to a psychologist or your shrink.

Online quizzes are also available in order for a person to recognize if there’s a hint of sexual addiction:

http://www.addicted.com/addiction-resources/self-tests/sex-addiction-quiz

Everyone deserves second chances. Recovering from sexaholism is more challenging as it requires a mind and self control. However, it still begins with acceptance of the problem and moving on to recovery with a healthy and happy support system.

While most of us lives in accordance and acceptance by society, we must understand, accept and support those loved ones whom undergone a cop-out, or even a Freudian cop-out.

Til next time. Au revoir.

Citations:

– Various citations. Please contact the author.

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

We can’t manage the outside world if we don’t manage our inside self.

~ Chic Pencil

Dance has always been a part of human society. It’s a form of expression, a communication, aesthetics, and an art. To some, it is a form and part of religion, a ritual, and a healing process. The movement of the body in tune to the rhythm of the song constitutes the graceful effect of the dancer conveying the message of the performance.

Dancing as an expression has been portrayed since the earliest human civilizations. Archeologists already found traces of dance since the prehistoric times such as the 9000 year old Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka paintings of India and Egyptian tomb showing dancing figures from 3300 BC.

Different continents and countries have different dance movements, they are called their own ethnic or traditional dance. All dance movement portrays a story, a message that needs to be conveyed to the audience or the receiver.

Widely known as it is, dance is an art.

However, dance or dancing can also be a therapy, an outlet of an individual.

All of us suffered from stress and pressures which can be from work and even family. And as such, all of us need an outlet to regain focus and energy from what has been drained from mundane work and responsibilities.

Dance releases endorphins, the mood enhancer, which gives an individual the natural euphoria and good feeling after the physical movement of more than 20 minutes.

Nancy Cassman, a dance/movement therapist from Boulder Colorado believes that when you start moving your body you’ll start moving the energy in your life too. In dance movement therapy, especially the sensual, rhythmic response aroused by dance and music is used as a way of bypassing the conscious mind and making contact with the inner emotional world. Through dance, hidden emotions can be expressed in a nonverbal way and accepted by the conscious self.

Since I was a child one of my passions is dancing. After our afternoon siesta my dad would usually asked us to dance or to sing. I prefer dancing and I love dancing with my dad in the tune of salsa and cha-cha with the old Spanish tunes. Needless to say, dancing is but a part of Spanish culture.

I stopped dancing when I suffered from hypothyroidism last 2001. Such condition made me succumb to weight gain and water retention that I reached 100+ kilograms, twice the value from my original weight. Though my height is 163cm, having such weight made my body structure suffer from health problems not to mention the low morale and inferiority complex that I’ve been through.

After years of medication, I became free from my hypothyroidism. My doctor decided to put me in weight management program in early 2010. After one year of weight management, I reduced my weight to 65 – 67kgs. It’s very challenging but one’s motivation and faith is always the key to achieving results.

As part of my weight management, I went back to dancing and using it as part of therapy. Dancing not only as one of my passions but it also become my outlet, a stress reliever from the outside pressures.

Here’s an excerpt from Step Up Movie. The dance finale, a fusion of ballet and hip hop.

Here’s the ancient and ever popular belly dancing. My favorite of all dance routine.

We cannot escape the pressures and stress of the outside world. If we don’t take care of our internal self, no else will do it on our behalf.

So let’s dance.. like nobody’s watching… It always feels good.

After my belly dancing workout. 🙂

 

Here’s one wish that I will dance  as what Shakira (my fave artist) did in this video. 🙂

 

Til next time. Au revoir.

 

References:

  1. Wikipedia Online – Dance
  2. Laurel Kallenbach, Dance For Your Health, http://www.thrivingnow.com/dance-for-your-health/

 

What’s The Implicit You?

Culture plays big role in determining the association of individuals towards characteristics. A  group or population behaving the same specific manner to different criteria defines the cultural characteristics of such population.

The study of culture has been done by sociologists in order to differentiate the behavior of nationals from country to country. Different cultural models has been developed as the outcome of culture study. In this arena, we can always remember the names;

  1. Geert Hofstede on his cultural dimensions designating each country to have specific behavior based on the study he developed.
  2. Trompenaars 7D Cultural Model giving more differentiation and a wider behavioral approach to Hofstede’s cultural model.

Aside from cultural aspects, ethics does play a big role to culture. Bribing for example is a big no-no to other countries but to some countries it is accepted and is called ‘token’ or ‘gift’.

From culture and ethics influence of society, an individual does behave is also depending on his upbringing and his experiences.

All of us have our own bias in our personality. Out of this bias behavior comes our preferences in our choices. We have to acknowledge our personal bias and managed it as well in order to avoid being ‘stereotype’.

When we see colors, how do we associate them? Is white associated with good? Is black associated with bad?

In terms of gender, do we perceive men are career oriented? Do we perceive women to be family oriented?

At work when we asked a woman colleague for help and we got turn down, do we perceive that woman colleague to be unkind and not considerate? Do we perceive women to be more helpful at work compared to men? When a man colleague turn down our request for help, do we just accept it because he’s a man?

It’s due to these preferences and bias that studies conducted through surveys portray different results.

University of Chicago conducted the study and found based on responses that men and women react differently to jobs with wages based on competition with coworkers which can explain as to some extent the aspects of wage inequality between men and women.

Interestingly enough, I wonder if this study conducted by University of Chicago will give the same result if they expand the variables of study to not only gender but also include the race?

In such behavioral responses, it still attune to our personal bias.

Most often than not, we always wanted to be neutral and project to the world that we are not bias and we do not have preference. We wanted to be –> good. And politically correct.

Contemplate. Photo taken at Al Mugsail, Salalah Oman. December 2010.

Are you towards football? A close glimpse and shot of Lukas Podolski (German football player) in Cologne Germany, July 2009

However, our preference and prejudice are what defines us. Culture, ethics, politics and other aspects of society influence our behavior to some extent but we have our own individual preference which make us unique.

What’s the implicit you? When you tell someone you are not bias towards gender or race or color of skin, is it really true?

In order to know what’s the implicit you, I recommend for you to try the Implicit Association Test (IAT) developed by Harvard. The demonstration test would require approximately 15 minutes. There are various topics that you can take in order for you to identify your association to different subjects. Most of us defines explicitly that we associate women with family but surprisingly our implicit preference tells us that women are towards career. Now there’s the conflict between our implicit and explicit preferences. We have to know ourselves.

As such, after taking the IAT demo test, what’s really the implicit you?

Til next time. Au revoir.

Citations:

  1. Geert Hofstede Cultural studies
  2. Trompenar’s 7D Model
  3. The University of Chicago News
  4. Implicit Association Test (IAT)