Learn how to first be here. Here is zero. Here is grasping. Here is exhaustion and wanting to take a break but to not fall into insignificance. Here resents the ego’s need for recognition.
Here is wanting to make a difference and not knowing where to start. Here is not knowing that I’ll ever measure up. Here is not knowing what comes next. Here is wondering why it doesn’t come easier for me than it does for others.
Here is being reactive instead of being strategic. Here relies on external stimuli and market trends and competitive businesses to light a fire under you. Here doesn’t do anything and then wonders why others level up on your ideas.
Here wants to procrastinate because the mind is overwhelmed.
Here is my fear and un-centeredness.
I remember my first ever hot yoga class. I passed out from not breathing, and they had to drag me out, red-faced (literally) like a limp rag doll.
If there were ever a reminder of just how vital the breath is, this would be it. Which to me, is one of the reasons why I connect so deeply with aromatherapy.
We can get disconnect from our bodies and breath, becoming so hyper-aware of what’s going on around us, that we literally forget to take a moment to breathe. To nourish ourselves. To come back to our breath.
Lululemon Feelgood Giving
I’m fresh off the Lululemon retreat and I still can’t put into words how healing, (at times terrifying), and empowering the encounter was.
We learned about the magic of possibility on the first day, and our facilitators, Mohana, Cheryl and Stephanie helped us unlearn or rephrase ‘fixed language’ to overcome negative beliefs that you believe are immutable… ideas like, “I’ll always be broke” or “I don’t have enough time.”
It all begins with identifying what that fixed belief is, and writing down some proactive steps you can take to undo that mindset. So if you are always broke, you could ask your boss for a raise, take on a side hustle etc. You have the power to change, starting with your thoughts.
The Real Journey Inward Begins
The next day, we went into a silent meditation (which broke after breakfast) and allowed the silence to reveal and bring up things we would have otherwise overlooked in the busyness of daily life. We were told to put our phones aside, go inward, and not even make eye contact with anyone — not even our roommates who we were bunking in with. Not for anything, save a fire.
I didn’t realise how much of a gift silence would be to me. As I rose in the morning I found that I didn’t miss the not talking. It was a license to just Be. It was freeing to go about tasks in silence, marinating in your own thoughts instead of checking emails or catching up on social media. Isn’t it funny how we get anxious when we don’t check our phones, but similarly anxious when we do? There’s no happy medium. It was a gift to not even communicate with eye contact. The practice made me realise just how much we perform for the sake of it. How we exchange pleasantries because it’s polite, for face, for ego. How many times do we ask a cursory, “How are you?” and actually mean it? I kept my head down and walked to morning yoga by the pool, led by Stephanie.
During the practice, she talked about each of us having a light and shadow side. I tried hard as I could to keep up with all the incredible yogini, barre, fitness, and spinning experts around me.
We also spent a lot of time discovering our core values and pin-pointing our purpose or gift that we were here to share with the world. The values of freedom, compassion, integrity and legacy are intrinsic to who I am, which as an empath, explains why it pains me to see others suffering, being oppressed or forgotten.
Let Yourself Be Seen
We went deeper on the final day and were asked to project ourselves into the future. We had to imagine ourselves at our 100th birthday, with our loved one giving a toast for us. Even after meditation, it was hard for me to write my own toast – so much of life is unknown and I decided to pick the best case scenario and go for it.
Little did I know we were then to share our journals with each other and someone else would read our toast out loud, resulting in our group dissolving in tears. It was a revelatory experience, coming to terms with our heart’s desires whether we recognised it or not. Beyond fame and wealth, everyone wants to be appreciated, loved, and make a difference.
Was it absolutely embarrassing to have a stranger read your most innermost yearnings? Without a doubt. Did you have to be at your most raw and vulnerable for the exercise to work? Absolutely. But now that it’s out in the universe, you can lean into that.
You have allowed yourself to be seen and potentially judged as you truly are, and now there’s nothing to hide. There’s no downplaying dreams or fears. You are free to be.
Thank you to the truly inspiring team at Lululemon Singapore and its ambassadors for this incredible journey x Alli
“Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate.”
T-minus two hours till the Lululemon retreat in Sentosa begins. I am so excited (and honoured) to be invited and find a three day yoga-wellness retreat secretly thrilling.
As delighted as I am, I have to admit the idea of a getaway with hardcore fitness experts and yoga enthusiasts fills me with trepidation. If ever imposter syndrome were a real thing, I’m living it right now.
You see, it was only four months ago that I made the conscious decision to do a 180 on my fitness and health. I grew tired of growing tired (imagine walking up a flight of stairs and feeling like you’re going to die – lol). Tired of always falling ill, feeling lethargic, and unable to keep up with everything.
Of course, it was never this way. After a few bouts of walking pneumonia, asthma, misdiagnosed illness and all the steroids and antihistamines that came with it, my metabolism and mental health just ground to a halt. When you feel so terrible about yourself, you tend to want to self-soothe (via black truffle tagliatelle and spa sessions) instead of confronting the root issue.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says, “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.”
It was and is still hard. There are days where the only things motivating me are:
a) cute outfits from Lululemon (I know, I’m shallow but they keep it fresh)
b) the feeling that I need to close the rings on my Apple Watch I have to say, having this super machine on your wrist where you have real data in real time about how active you are is an eye-opener.#facts
Some days I am literally astounded by how many steps I get in, how full of energy I am. Other days, I pull out the yoga mat and get some mountain climbers in just to edge the ring a bit closer to close. Mr Mmerci will tell you I have been spotted on my back, waving my limbs about like an overturned ladybug just to get my Moves in (Again, I know right. Who am I?!)
c) the idea that training costs a bomb and I hate the idea of wasting money. There’s a whole level of accountability when a trainer is thrown into the mix
And every time I get in my tights, put on my watch, I think: you showed up. You’re here. You showed up. Even if this is as fast as you get, as strong as you get for today, you showed up.
Yesterday I managed to walk 3km in 30 minutes, a record for me. If only the me of 6 months ago could see me now. Sia sung, healing is difficult.
So, to the Alli of tomorrow and three days from now: now matter how uncomfortable (or amazing) it gets: show up. This is true self-care.
Right now there are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering and for the flourishing of your happiness.
Someone you haven’t met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.
Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life.
Nuns in the Alps are in endless vigil, praying for the Holy Spirit to alight the hearts of all of God’s children.
A farmer is looking at his organic crops and whispering, “nourish them.”
Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you.
Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favorite food is, and treat you to a movie.
Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you — for free.
Something is being invented this year that will change how your generation lives, communicates, heals and passes on.
The next great song is being rehearsed.
Thousands of people are in yoga classes right now intentionally sending light out from their heart chakras and wrapping it around the earth.
Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way.
Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they’ll be thriving like never before. From where they are, they just can’t see it .
Someone who is craving to be partnered, to be acknowledged, to arrive, will get precisely what they want — and even more. And because that gift will be so fantastical in it’s reach and sweetness, it will quite magically alter their memory of angsty longing and render it all “So worth the wait.”
Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche — this luminous juju is floating in the ether, and is accessible to you.
Someone just this second wished for world peace, in earnest.
Some civil servant is making sure that you get your mail, and your garbage is picked up, that the trains are running on time, and that you are generally safe.
Someone is dedicating their days to protecting your civil liberties and clean drinking water.
Someone is regaining their sanity.
Someone is coming back from the dead.
Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable.
Someone is curing the incurable.
You. Me. Some. One. Now.
— Mary Standing Otter
We’re thrilled to share that for the month of October 2018, you’ll be able to find Mmerci Encore at the following locations in Singapore:
Lululemon – 79 Duxton Road, Level 4
Dancevault – 20 Cecil St, Level 4
Our sensorial delights have popped up at Lululemon and Dancevault, and you’re welcome to visit these spaces to try, sniff and sample our artisanal aromatherapy treats to your heart’s content!
When I started 2018, I made it a personal goal to get healthier, fitter, and importantly, stronger. Strong not skinny has been my mantra in this health journey and it was made all the more better with the arrival of my Applewatch Series 4. It enables me to daily track & hit my exercise and movement goals (aka my rings), has reminders to stand and ‘Breathe’… it also monitors glucose levels, the UV reading at any time of the day (helpful as I actually like walking around my neighbourhood a lot), and alerts emergency services if you have a fall.
Now I’ve caught you up to speed, one of the things I love the most about it (and I never thought I would), is the fact that you can sync your Applewatch to your friends watches and view their fitness updates as well.
The old me would have totally shut down the thought, but in the spirit of being accountable and finding new ways to stay motivated, I added a few super healthy, super fit friends on my watch.
Let’s be clear: you should want to exercise for yourself. This is not about proving yourself to anyone else, or competing with others. For me, it’s a way to train my brain and body to keep showing up for myself. However, there is something really great about having people encourage you when you’ve finished a workout or blitzed your Move (calorie burning) goal for the day.
Image: David Karnezos Photography
A few words to help inspire and get you moving if you’re more inclined to veg out or give up:
- “Tell yourself you are strong.” At the very start of my journey, I’d get horrible migraines and headaches every time I worked out. After every workout, I’d have some mystery sniffles or feel like absolute death. I hopped on YouTube and was stretching to an episode of Yoga with Adriene and I had just about had my limit when she said, “Tell yourself you are strong.” Wow. Why had it, in over 30 years, never occured to me to tell myself I was strong? I had told myself plenty of times that I didn’t have the energy or that I was sick and therefore, excused. But never that I was strong. Something in me shifted in that moment, and I try to replace my doubts with this mantra whenever I feel like I want to throw the towel in. Maybe the reality is that right now, you aren’t strong. Maybe you’re fighting chronic illness, or an exhausted parent, or battling so much at work. I encourage you to do this one crazy thing and think yourself strong. Don’t wait to feel strong to tell this to yourself. Just keep repeating it, even when you aren’t totally convinced yourself. Push and see what happens.
- “Just trust yourself.” My personal trainer said this to me as I balked at the idea of doing something without barfing (believe me, it’s happened before)… I think it was lifting 30kgs or something. Just try, and trust yourself.
- “I’m moving for my mental health.” You have a choice: stay still and glum, or go for a walk and clear your head. At the risk of sounding into a fitness blogger (of which, I am not), countless studies and experts encourage you to get moving in order to balancing your mood, counteracting the effects of anxiety and depression, helping to alleviate stress and boosting self-confidence all round.
- “You don’t have to be beautiful like them, you can be beautiful like you.” I watched Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty on the plane from New York twice. The scene of her SoulCycle Soho surrounded my models is something that resonates with me as a thiccc girl. But as we all know, you’re not going to find more motivation by hating on yourself so be proud you’re there – and showed up for yourself.
- “Move because you love your body, not because you hate it.” You are not here to punish or get revenge on yourself.
- “Honour your pace.” I love this quote so much, I put it on Mmerci Encore inspiration cards and randomly with our clients. Slow is still better than sitting down and scrolling through Instagram for an hour…
And if you need essential oils to help you feel enlivened and motivated pre or post sweat session, opt for:
These oils are great for helping you up and go. Aside from some of them helping to detox and aid in digestion, they also with intention setting and help boost willpower. Diffuse these in your workout space (if working out at home), or sniff them from the bottle when cravings arise and replace that need for junk food with something equally as peppy but guilt-free. Hopefully that pause as you inhale the essential oils helps you reframe and remember your health goals – I’m trying to remember the same too, as I have zero willpower when it comes to sweet treats and tend to indulge more when overwhelmed or stressed. As with everything if you have medical concerns, please see your physician first and don’t ingest essential oils – regardless of how clean and organic they are.
To read some other things that help me feel great about myself, check out what I shared at Her World and read about my wellness and lifestyle tips that have worked for me so far.