Reflection on 2022 – Peace

It’s been a year since my last post. I wanted to write something to wrap up this year.

2022 has been a rollercoaster – of ups and downs, twists and turns, highs and lows, stops and gos. I started off the year with the one-word intention of “peace”. In particular, I wanted to find inner peace, because that to me is the foundation of contentment.

Though I’ve had some wins this year – among them starting a podcast and traveling solo, I’ve also experienced some challenges. For five months of the year, I questioned so much about myself that I became paralyzed. My mental health deteriorated and I honestly didn’t know how to climb out of the dark hole I was in. Thankfully I was able to hold onto lessons I’ve learned over the past few years. I sought help, both from professionals and, as difficult as it was for me, from friends. Through all that, I learned the value of true friendship. I learned patience. I learned … surrender.

I’m in a much better place now. And, reflecting on it recently, remembered my one-word intention. Peace. I think I’ve found it for the moment, for which I am so grateful.

With that, I wanted to share about an experience I recently had in Thailand that helped me continue to return to myself and return to love.

The event, a three day camp, was called Dances of Universal Peace, and was held in a warm and loving space called Gaia Ashram in Northeastern Thailand. It’s difficult to put the experience into words, but if I were to describe what the Dances of Universal Peace are, they are a group dance-and-song offering and celebration of peace. The event was not affiliated with any religion. Rather, we sang and danced to songs from various lineages around the globe.

Through the dances, the songs, our mealtimes and conversations, together we learned about community, vulnerability, compassion, and real connection. What a beautiful gathering of souls it was. We had participants from 15 countries (mostly from Asia), including participants from the Maldives (which I didn’t know was a part of Asia!) and Netherlands. As cheesy as it sounds, we all shared a common soul language: a remembrance of the joy of returning to Mother Gaia, to ourselves, and to each other. We celebrated this together through ceremonies, dance, music, laughter, tears, lots of hugs, and over delicious vegetarian food.

I myself had a transformational experience. The dances and the entire experience must have done something to stir up unresolved shmuck (let’s just call it that) deep within me because after a certain point on day 4, I could not stop crying. It was embarrassing for me to have others witness this side of me, though a dear friend described it as purification. As I purify myself, I am also helping others and purifying Mother Earth. And so I walked out to a place where I could be on my own and really let the tears flow. In those moments, I birthed a song, called Delicate.

Anyway, I’m not sure where I’m going with all this. It’s been a bit rambly and lacks the usual structure I prefer to have with my posts. I just wanted to share that miraculously, it turns out I have found inner peace this year after all, not realizing when I semi-hesitantly agreed to attend this event that the word was in its very title.

Grateful for this experience, grateful for this year, grateful to continue living this messy, unpredictable, beautiful life.

Wanting to end this post with the lyrics to one of the songs we danced to and sung over and over again at and beyond the camp.

May all beings be well and happy
May all beings be free from strife
May all beings return to Love
Peace be with you, forevermore

Peace be with you –


Road Rage

I have resolved to let go of my road rage.

I never thought I would be one to have road rage. Prior to finally driving on my own this year, I had always seen myself as a peaceful person, and didn’t understand when people got angry at other drivers. That was before I ventured into the world of Manila traffic.

Before I started driving on my own, my mom instructed me with tips on driving in Manila. One such tip was to accelerate when the light was green as you never know how long you’ll have to wait for the next green light. Another was to make sure you are almost kissing the car in front of you at all times when the road is busy, so other cars can’t cut in front of you.

Armed with these tips, I thought all would be well and good when I got on the road solo. It’s been over a month since I’ve started driving now, and I was surprised to find that I experienced my own version of road rage. Every time I drove somewhere, I felt like I was racing to get to my destination. I had to cross an intersection when the light was green, no matter what it took to get there. If I had to cut cars or accelerate like mad, I would, just to get to the other side and not have to wait for another green light. Driving actually gave me anxiety. I started to dread driving and saw it as a chore.

The other night, as I was driving home, I got into a slight tiff with another car. I think I accidentally swerved in front of it, perhaps startling the driver, and so she honked at me a few times as I drove ahead of her. Because she honked at me what I thought was an unnecessary number of times, I decided I would do all I could to not let her outtake me. At one point, when I saw she was finally going to surpass me, I looked specifically at the driver’s seat to see who the driver was. To my surprise, she also peered out to look at me, with an annoyed/who-is-THIS-person?! look on her face. That little confrontation put a damper on the rest of my night and put me in a bad mood.

It even got to the point where two nights ago, I had a nightmare where I got into a car crash due to my reckless driving. That was the tipping point. My mom had always cautioned me to “Drive slowly”, and I would always mindlessly say yes, without really heeding her call.

Today I set the intention to stop with the road rage. To take it easy and slow while driving, unless I am truly in a rush. To let cars cut in front of me if they really have the urge. To stop feeling anxious when driving, and just relax. To breathe while driving. It felt good. As silly and inconsequential as it may sound, it felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

Going to apply this lesson to other aspects of my life – to let go of being so uptight and wanting to be in control over things that don’t matter in the grand scheme. To take a break, breathe, and slow down when needed. To not expend excess energy on things that aren’t important.

I invite you to do the same. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Om, friends!