The pain of healing

When I first started my accidental journey to awesomeness three weeks ago, I would type random thoughts in my iPad throughout the day, every day. It helped me keep track of my progress as well as all the strange, new thoughts I was having.

Some of those thoughts I have reproduced in the previous post. Here are some other random bits you might like.

Day 5

I woke up today feeling quite neutral, which is not great considering how I’ve been so excited to wake up these past few days. But neutral is not a bad thing, either.

I guess if it’s not bad, it’s good. Sheylara’s School of Positivity Rule #1.


Day 10

Why am I feeling so good these days? Is it going to last? Is it even real because what sorcery is this? I’m going to wake up one day and it’s all going to go to shit again, right? I think I can hear my old self yelling from a distance, “Hey let me back in, geez!”


Day 12

I feel like I’m on some kind of happy drug these days. I feel like I’m on a permanent high of a manic depressive episode. I feel like I’ve joined one of those batshit crazy happy cults and been brainwashed. A month ago, I would so totally have felt repelled by the me now.


Day 15

If I’ve learned anything big from the past two weeks, it’s that it’s absolutely possible to change. You just need to be ready and have the right ingredients. I’ve always believed I wasn’t a morning person but I love mornings now. If you’d told me even a month ago that, one day, I would willingly and happily wake up in the morning every single day, I would have laughed myself dead.

It’s all mind over matter, right?

Can I will myself bigger boobs?


Day 19

It was really difficult to wake up this morning. I think I was smack in the middle of a sleep cycle, dreaming weird-ass dreams like having a pretend picnic with clay rabbits under a strawberry tree during twilight, or something equally incomprehensible, when the alarm woke me.

I wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep. I have a lot of sleep debt to repay. And it’s Sunday.

In the same minute I was all ready to go back to sleep, a thought kicked me in the backside. It was a flash of memory of a thing I’d said to Piers last night when he asked why I couldn’t sleep in during the weekends.

“I have to wake up at the same time every day or it will screw everything up,” I had said.

“I don’t want to screw everything,” my brain thought, and kicked me some more. And I got up.

Brain, who are you?



Incidentally, I was reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People yesterday when I came across this quote:

“No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal.” – Marilyn Ferguson

It’s beautifully written and that’s what I was talking about in my Day 15 notes.

Change is hard and scary. It’s taken me all this time to open my gate. But I have no regrets. I’m kind of too tired to feel anything other than a sleepy sort of pride for having spent my days productively for three weeks in a row now.


Morning pages

Coming to the point soon!

I found myself enjoying writing my thoughts so much that I decided to add a new thing to my morning routine: Morning Pages.

It’s a technique created by artist-writer Julia Cameron (ooh I just realised she’s the wife of director Martin Scorsese) in her 1995 book, The Artist’s Way. You’re supposed to write three pages of words (about 750 words), longhand, about anything at all, first thing in the morning, every single day. You supposedly gain catharsis, clarity and creativity, and will be able to do your tasks more effectively throughout the day, indirectly saving time.

This has added 30 minutes to my already-long morning routine but that’s fine. I’ve done it for a week now and am enjoying it. I can’t say that I’m seeing any benefits at the moment, because the benefits overlap the ones I already get from my other morning actions (yoga, meditation, writing gratitudes, etc).

But I’m doing it because I enjoy it, probably the same way I used to enjoy running. It kind of sucks while you’re doing it but it feels great once it’s all over.


Hello, pain

On the flip side, Morning Pages took me to a dark place on Day 4. I was randomly ranting about my perfectionism when, two pages later, my writing unwittingly opened up a deep, painful wound in my heart that’s been festering and growing there for two decades, never having quite healed.

(That’s another story.)

The sudden emotional pain that shot outwards in cruel spikes was so unexpected after 20 days of feeling mostly happy that I wanted to give in to a good cry. But I’ve always felt stupid about being crippled by this pointless old wound, so I didn’t allow it to happen. I did my best to bury-bandage it up and carried on with my morning routine.

Next up: Physiotherapy, then yoga. Trying to not think of anything. Trying to focus on the physical exertions.

Then meditation. Serendipity, my good friend, knocked once again. I was doing Lesson 9 in Headspace that day. It taught how the mind is a pool of water and how life makes it cloudy. When you meditate, it cleans the pool and you can see inside. Sometimes you find good things, other times bad things that cause you pain. But, the lesson says, that’s okay because it’s all part of the process of letting go.

Creepy much?

Can’t say I succeeded in letting go of anything. Not even in the same universe of possibility at that moment. But the 10-minute session quieted my sadness and enabled me to get up from my yoga mat to face the day.

Maybe one has to go through pain before one can heal. Well, I don’t know. I’ve just been making all this up as I go along, pretending to have great insights once in a while.

All I know for a certainty is that I don’t want to be sad anymore.




11 thoughts on “The pain of healing

  1. Avatar

    You hit the nail right on the head, QY. In order to progress anywhere meaningful, everyone has to pay some kind of price. Sometimes that price is pain, but try to tell yourself that the destination (i.e. healing) is worth it. All the best!

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    The thought of writing out my thoughts…just free form letting things out seems super scary to me. I tend to be a very positive person. I totally believe that one can choose how they want to feel. So I think I probably tend to push away the unhappy, painful stuff. But I know if I don’t process and deal with it…it’ll ultimately hurt me. So based on what you are saying I am inspired to dip my toe in and do it. But it seems terrifying. I guess I need to get my courage up. Thanks for inspiring me.

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    @Minyee: I have been experiencing firsthand just how terrifying writing unpleasant stuff is! When I write, the negative mood gets stronger because it seems like I’m dwelling on it. And I can only calm myself down by carrying on with daily affirmations and meditation. To be honest, I can’t say for sure now whether it’s helping helping in the long term. I guess I’ll have to try and see. But I won’t write unpleasant things ever day. It’s too taxing!

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    Those of us that have been with you since 2005 know the great things you are capable of. Writing is a great way to get those feelings expressed. Add the fact that you are a wonderful writer and entertainer, you have the recipe for the Sheylara that we all would wake up each day in anticipation to read about her next adventure.

    I’m glad that journaling has helped you. There are some special people capable of turning that writing into something positive and then there are only a few really special people who can turn that writing into something great. You are in the latter.
    Sharing your writing here with us is something we can never quite thank you for properly, but I assure you that many of us would love to have many of the experiences that you have had (and I am sure you will continue to have). Sharing them with us is what makes you exceptional.

    Except durian. You can keep that one :)

  5. Avatar

    There is a saying that goes: Show me an exceptional artist that is not even a little depressed and I’ll show you an artist who is NOT exceptional.

    I look forward to this adventure (and many more). I am happy you chose this forum to share it with us. I think many people, including myself will find great benefit in it. But I think it will benefit you the most. Getting things out on the open, be it here or in a journal is fantastic therapy. And having Piers support your efforts is outstanding. He is my hero!

    P.S. Meditation (and journaling) is better than any medication a doctor could ever prescribe to help you with this. Shutting it all out, even for a short time allows you to see different perspectives. And in the end, reality is just individual perspective. (I seem to remember we talked about that before, no?)

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    @Mike: Thanks! That’s very encouraging to hear! :) Um, I don’t remember a conversation about reality with you. My memory is not the most reliable!

  7. Avatar

    I was taking a refresher course online (Sheylara 101 – The Review) over the past couple of days (reviewing your blog, news clippings, articles about you)and I discovered something.

    You are an amazing person!

    You’re an actress/movie star, writer, singer/songwriter/performer, model, you have sponsorships from the biggest names in business (Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nike, XBOX and Microsoft just to name a few), you have several writing and blog awards, you have one of the best (if not the best )blog in Singapore, work published in several magazines and blogs, you are featured on global news networks (CNBC), interviewed in countless news articles, featured in top tier magazines, a Celebritak interview with SAFRA, an industry acknowledged top gamer, interviewed by top rated news and information websites (w3sh, RazorTV, Digital Life), advert campaigns and commercials, XBOX Ambassador, countless photo shoots, featured in Maxim, your photo on the sides of busses!!!!, television appearances, volunteering your time and several other wins that I can’t list here. Then you find and marry your prince and become an educator in the Montessori field!

    That is an extraordinary life by any account! I’m amazed at the things you have done and are doing.

    The only word I can find to describe you would be “extraordinary”. Count me as your biggest fan!

    Although I am still contemplating the whole durian thing. I still think you and several others are just trying to get me to eat it so you all can laugh and me and tell me it was just a joke and that I wasn’t supposed to really eat it. It’s a conspiracy!

  8. Avatar

    Well, the way you describe everything, you make me sound like a super woman, lol. I think I just had modest success in some of my endeavours, but thanks for making it all sound so good, hehe. :) And stop talking about durians. I miss it so much! Haha.

  9. Avatar

    I don’t see your success as modest at all. I see a super woman and I bet all of your fans see it too. I left out many good parts (like animator and photographer), but you lead an extraordinary life that many people only dream about.

    If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. It’s all about perspective. This perspective happens to be shared by many people, including myself.

    I will NEVER stop talking about the durian! The conspiracy goes all the way to the top. It needs to be exposed so people all around the world know the dangers they pose to us helpless foodies :P Because you love it so much I suspect you are the Supreme Leader of the Durian Conspiracy! :P

    Down with the Durian!

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