Breakdown during the COVID-19 pandemic

It can be frustrating and even depressing for entrepreneurs to not making money during these times.
I am one of them.
Let me clarify that I earned most of my income by teaching women to swim.
The moment swimming pools were closed, the source of my income was gone too.

While some businesses manage to pivot, I could not see how I could teach swimming without a swimming pool.
As a result, I became depressed for about a month.
Throughout that month, I was battling my inner demons every day. I even broke down in tears several times because I couldn’t deal with the mean, nasty voices in my head.

While I struggled to maintain my mental health, I had flashes of my past in which I had successfully handled my demons without breaking down.
I asked myself, “What happen to me? How come I cannot deal with it this time?”

It turns out I was out of practice.
I forgot that I shouldn’t buy into whatever stories that the mean voices had said about me regarding not earning any income.
Stories such as I was a failure, worthless, and useless just because I was unable to make money, etc.
The moment I chose to stop buying into the stories, I took back my power.

I also realized it was pointless for me to mull over the fact that I was not earning any income from teaching swimming.
I decided to accept that I would not be earning any income during the pandemic.

At the time of writing this post, it is coming to 5 months that I haven’t earned any income from teaching swimming.

Do I feel restless for not earning any income?
Once in a while, yes.
Whenever I feel restless, I reminded myself to be patient. I understand that the situation is not permanent. All that I can do is wait until things are back to normal.

This week, the government has announced that public swimming pools will be open starting next week. I admit that is good news to hear but the government has imposed several restrictions.
The pools are only open three times a week, only 30% of capacity or less than 50 people are allowed in at one time, each person has only one hour, and the pools are not open at night.

With the current restrictions in place, I am not yet able to teach swimming. The biggest issue that I have is almost all of my clients are available at night only since they are working during the day.

I will have to wait a bit longer for the government to lift all the pools’ restrictions before I can start earning from teaching swimming again.

Are there lessons for me to learn from these experiences?
I would say yes.
I learned that when I am not conscious of the voices in my head, that is when I am most vulnerable mentally.
I learned that I need to practice being conscious every single day. When I don’t, that is when I easily succumb to the mean voices in my head.
I learned that I need to address what is it that bothers me right away instead of ignoring the issue so I could prevent it from escalating and causing pain later on.
I learned that when things are not working the way that I had expected, I need to shift my focus. Instead of focusing on I don’t make money, I focus my attention elsewhere.
I learned that I need to be patient when there is not that I could do to change my current situation.

The funny thing is I have learned all these lessons before.
I have encountered situations that had let me learned the exact lessons.
I guess all of these experiences is to test me whether I remember them or not.

The gift of COVID-19

Despite not earning any income, I was still able to remain productive throughout my days. While some days I managed to do a lot, some other days, I didn’t do much, I spent my time binge-watching tv series.

Since I am not teaching swimming, I have been focusing my energy on finishing my book and creating content for my other business.
I have spent two months on rewriting my old ebook and completed a developmental edit on it.
I also took the time to update my other website that had been begging for a facelift. I finally have a fully functioning business website for my healing services.
As I am not earning any income from teaching swimming, I decided to open up my schedules for private one-on-one healing sessions.

I have to say that I probably wouldn’t be working on my book and created new healing programs if there was no pandemic.

I am finally able to appreciate how the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked my old projects that needed to be birth into the world.

I am forever grateful.

“Things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.”

I think the pressure of the governments’ restrictions finally got to me.
I feel suffocated.
I’ve been feeling suffocated for weeks now.
A few days ago, I started to feel depressed.
I broke down in tears because of it.
I had pride myself on being able to shut down my chatterbox.
However, these last few days, I struggled to keep myself in check.
I failed.
I fell into the trap.
I unconsciously listened to the disempowering voices in my head and to make this worst, I believed them.
These voices in my head were mean.
They made me feel useless and worthless.
It was painful for me to go through my days feeling purposeless and unworthy.
It terrifies me whenever my thought goes to “I’m done”.

This morning, I made the conscious choice to see what was this depression all about.
I’m clear that I hate it when my movement is restricted.
I feel frustrated that I can’t do the simplest things like dine-in at my favorite restaurants, watch movies to the fun stuff like traveling.
I also realized something else.
In times of stress, I give away my power when I unconsciously choose to listen and believe the disempowering voices in my head.
What I had experienced the last few days reminded me of when I was depressed and suicidal a decade ago.

What has been brought to my attention is that I’ve got more work to do. I’ve got more healing to do for myself.
I need to grab the rein and reclaim my power instead of letting the disempowering voices ruling my mind and mess up my emotions.
Shutting down my chatterbox somehow doesn’t work as well as in the past.
I need to deal with the voices in my head head-on.
For someone who has the tools that had helped me get out of depression years ago, it got me thinking about the people who don’t.
How are they coping during these times?
What do they do to keep themselves sane?
Do they have support?
With what I have experienced these days, I hope and pray that they have all the support that they need to get through during these times.

My spiritual teacher has a quote, “Things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.”
I get it if some people cannot comprehend how things (especially “bad” things) that happened are “for” them.
When I first heard the quote, I didn’t resonate with the quote at all especially when I was looking from a victim’s perspective.
Often to victims, things happen to them.
When I finally took responsibility for my life, I got myself out of being a victim.
I reflected on what had happened in the past and along the way, I began to resonate with the quote.
Here’s what I believe, things happen for us so that we can transcend our fears, challenges, and limitations.

The depression that I have been feeling for days is showing me the area of my life where I need to work on and strengthen.
It shows me that the previous method that used to work has now become less effective.
It shows me how I can fall apart under continuous stress.
It shows me what happens when I let go of being responsible for my mental health.
Had I continue to let myself be depressed and think that all this happens to me, I wouldn’t have taken responsibility and have the clarity that it was me (or rather the voices in my head) that was making me miserable.

“Things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.”

When we are aware that things happen for us, and we dare to look deep within ourselves, we can discover the gems to expedite our personal growth to be a better human being.


Never meet your childhood heroes

I recently met my teacher at an event.

When I first saw her, I thought she looked familiar.

I searched in my brain and I finally recognized her.

I got so excited, I couldn’t believe that she stood in front of me and she was attending the event.

I waved my hand and after I got her attention, I sheepishly asked her if she remembered me.

She was probably shocked at first and after she got over it, she asked my name.

And she continued on saying, “Muamu ani macam kenal pulang.” (You do look familiar)

After I told her my full name, it took her a few seconds and then she remembered me.

Her demeanor changed instantly, she looked unbelievably happy to see me and she came forward to hug me.

She said, “Masa Muda Hashim.” (It was during Muda Hashim Secondary School)

And I agreed with her.

She asked me what year was it when she taught me.

I answered, “1997”.

Then she told me it was good to see me.

During the event, I got to reminisce how she was the teacher who told me upfront that I was smart and I shouldn’t waste it.

She also advised me to get myself glasses so I could see better in class (because at that time, I didn’t own a pair).

At that time I didn’t know that I need glasses.

I thought it was normal for me to not be able to see from far. (LOL right)

I guess she figured out that I needed them.

And so… I’m wearing glasses now because of her, because of her I saw the world clearly. Literally.

I’m grateful that she saw that I had potential when I was unsure of myself.

I love her for what she did for me.

Yesterday that warm fuzzy feeling that I have for my teacher was soon replaced by betrayal and disappointment.

Before I continue, I need to explain a bit further.

Earlier this year my youngest sister was posted as a teacher to a secondary school.

On her first day, she was informed by the ministry that she needed to report to the principal of the school which she did.

My sister shared that her first encounter with the principal was rather unpleasant.

The principal didn’t even bother to welcome my sister, she didn’t even look up to see my sister’s face and she was just busy doing her own thing while my sister sat in front of her and was trying to have a civil conversation with her.

When I heard my sister’s story, I was thinking that this is not the kind of behaviour to welcome someone new or otherwise into your organisation.

This is a fuck off, don’t bother me, I have nothing to say to you (un)welcome.

Enough to say that my sister didn’t feel welcome at all and she felt dishearten by the way the principal treated her.

She left with teary eyes and her heart broken.

When my sister shared her experience with us (me and my other 2 siblings), we were so fucking pissed at the principal.

I was like, how dare she treated my sister, another human being, the way she did!

She was being unprofessional, discourteous and blatantly rude.

I absolutely hate her for hurting my sister.

Days later we found out that the principal had a hidden agenda and she wanted some other teacher to be transferred to that school and she didn’t want my sister and she wanted my sister to be out so that the other teacher can come in instead.

In addition, It turned out that one of my cousin’s also had several negative experiences with this principal.

When my cousin had heard that my sister was posted to that secondary school, she discussed with my sister and shared her own personal experiences of that principal.

It was something along the line that my cousin was supposed to be promoted to a higher position but got demoted instead because of the principal.

If you haven’t guess it already, that principal whose disregard of other people’s feelings is my teacher. The teacher that I was fond of.

The moment it was confirmed it was her, I felt conflicted.

I remembered that she was kind, helpful and honest too.

It’s like you’re married to a wonderful man, he’s being the wonderful husband but the people around you told you that your husband is a rapist.

Because of this, I couldn’t focus on doing anything else let alone meditate this morning.

There is a part of me that still loves my teacher and the other part really hates for what she did.

It’s difficult for me to believe the one person who saw a potential in the younger me could do such things to other people.

I don’t know how many people that she has hurt in order for her to get her way and I personally hate people who hurt other people.

I don’t care who you are.

If you are in the business of hurting other people, you are so NOT WELCOME in my world.

It’s best you get the fuck out of my life.

I acknowledge that I’m only hearing one side of the story.

I don’t know her side of the story, why she behaved and did what she did.

There is however no excuse for being such a dick or a bitch to someone who you don’t know and whom you’ve never met before.

I guess it’s so fucking easier to disregard other people when you think that they are a stranger.

I’m writing this to let others know that I acknowledge their experience with/of her and I don’t make their experience wrong just because I had several wonderful experiences with her.

I don’t know why she became who she is now.

But what stays with me is that I’m grateful for what she did for me back then.

I understand if this is difficult for you to swallow.

Even my own sisters find it unbelievable that I knowing what she did to my own sister, can be grateful for her brief existence in my life.

Having said that, I don’t condone her methods and behaviors that negatively affect other people.

Like I said, I hate people who hurt other people.

And I guess, the honeymoon is finally over.


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We are on Keto Diet

Lemon Garlic Salmon

I’ve mentioned in my previous video that my husband and I were on an extended 7-day water fast.

Since that 7-day extended water fast, we did another 4-day extended water fast the following week from Monday to Thursday.

After we were done with the 4-day water fast, we decided to try keto diet.

In it’s simplicity, it’s a diet where we get most of our energy from fats and protein. It’s similar to the low carb diet that we adopted years ago.

Currently we’re doing keto diet with intermittent fasting.

Switching from the water fast to keto diet is roughly easy for us since we had tried low carb diet before.

When we tried the low card diet, we ate 3 meals a day.

When Bobby found intermittent fasting by Dr Jason Fung, we gave intermittent fasting a try.

We started off with skipping breakfast and only had lunch and dinner.

Then in a couple of weeks, we started to eat lunch much much later to the point we fasted for more than 16-18 hours a day and this eventually resulted us in having one meal a day which is dinner.

I also want to share that because I did the extended 7-day water fast and the 4-day water fast, I experienced the following goodness as a result!

    1. I don’t crave fast food anymore! Their smell has surprisingly turn me off.
      I remember when we used to visit at least 1 fast food restaurant a day.
      I was addicted to spicy chicken KFC, spicy chicken Jollibee and pancakes and breakfast meals from McD.
      Ever since the first day of the 7-day water fast, we have stopped eating fast food.
    2. What about pastry and baked goods? Same thing! M turned off.
      When I see baked goods sold at bakery, I’m reminded by the amount of sugar and flour that they contain.
      Since I bake cakes once in a while, seeing 10g of sugar is already freaking me out.
    3. I have zero interest in eating out in restaurants just because I don’t know if they add sugar/flour into their cooking.
      I found out that some people put sugar in their chicken curry!
    4. Having said that, I do eat out when I have my cheat days.
      These are the days when I allow myself to eat all the carbohydrates that I want and that includes my favourite pepperoni pizza.
    5. I used to be addicted to Oreos and cheese flavoured Twisties.
      I used to had to have them daily and after the extended water fast, I’m not addicted anymore.
      I stop buying them.
    6. What I learned about myself during the extended water fast was that I missed prepping and cooking food.
      I had forgotten how I love eating and cooking my own food.
      So because of that, I’m back cooking my own food.
      It helps a lot when my husband loves to eat my cooked food.
    7. Ever since we’re on keto diet, we eat more veggies daily when compared to when we were on low carb diet.
      I get to shop for fresh veggies weekly!
    8. I’m now more mindful when buying prepacked food.
      I looked at the nutritional content and checked whether they have artificial sweeteners, how much sugar, flour, fat content and carbohydrates they have.
      Because of this, we become very selective and we don’t buy most of the prepacked food that are advertised as “healthy”.
    9. I’ve learnt to love baking as well.
      I used to be put off by the ridiculous amount of ingredients that it takes to bake something.
      And with the Keto diet, there are quite a lot of easy ways to make keto desserts recipes out there and I’m willing to give a few of them a try.
    10. I’m losing weight slowly.
      The losing weight is from intermittent fasting couple with the keto diet.
      Last week, my weight was 67.8kg when I started the keto diet and on the 5th day in the morning, my weight was 64.7kg.
      This week, my weight started at 65.5kg and today is the 3rd day and I’m at 64.7kg.
      Currently my goal is to be at 60kg.
      And once I hit 60kg, my new weight goal would be 55kg.

I remember the time when I did intermittent fasting with one meal a day and I ate carbs with no veggies and not enough protein.

To be honest, I felt sluggish.

And I hate that feeling.

With the keto diet with plenty of veggies and protein, I can feel the difference.

I’m not sluggish anymore.

I’m awake.

And I love that!

Owh before I end this post, the picture above is a shot of lemon garlic Salmon that I cooked for our dinner.

It was surprisingly fulfilling!

It’s the perfect meal for keto.

If you’re interested in the recipe, click here.