For most of my life, I felt broken. That came to a peak in 2008 when my best friend, whom I knew from childhood, killed himself. My heart shattered into a million pieces. I was at a complete loss. It was the first time someone I was so close to passed away. In the years that followed, more suicides and deaths of close friends and family happened. It was a painful period, filled with sadness, guilt and helplessness.
My pain seemed to manifest in the injuries sustained during my wakeboarding career. I hurt almost every joint in my body on one side, the most traumatic being the hip dislocation. I literally broke apart. It feels like it all happened so that I could learn how to heal and put myself back together. I became so proficient, I was healing as fast as someone in their early 20s.
As I put myself back together, I realised that all I wanted to do was help people so that they don’t end up killing themselves. With that intention, all sorts of gifts came into my life that helped shape the path that led me here.
I was 32 when I left my successful corporate job. I left at the peak of my career. I left because the work environment became negative. It was no longer fun and I was not happy going to the office. The recession that year (2009) made it worse. I thought that if I didn’t leave my job, I would not be open to whatever opportunities that would come my way. So, I decided that that quarter would be my last.
I left without another job and took the time to think about what I wanted to do with my life. That decision has led me to live my dreams. It was the first time I had ever thought about my career. I opened a Pandora’s box when I asked the question,
‘What do I love?’
That took me on an adventure of self-realisation, healing, and thriving.
The first thing that came to mind when I asked that question was the sea. I knew in the deepest depths of my heart that I loved the sea. So I went in search for a career with/by the sea. My brother was a wakeboarding instructor and I thought it was a pretty cool job. I felt it was something that I could do. Little did I know that I would fall in love with wakeboarding.
Wakeboarding helped me come alive.
Wakeboarding challenged me – it challenged the ideas I had about myself. Wakeboarding reminded me of my Essence; showed me who I am and what I am capable of. Wakeboarding also made me resilient. I injured myself so many times, only to come back stronger.
Wakeboarding changed the way I looked and felt about my body. Now that I was using my body in ways never before, I started to realise that I had been completely ignorant of it. I never considered its ability, its condition and its capabilities.
THE SOUTH EAST ASIAN GAMES
In 2015, I was selected to represent Singapore in the 28th Southeast Asian Games where over 4300 athletes from 11 countries gathered in Singapore to compete, an event that reached 3.3 million viewers in Singapore and millions more across Asia. I took part in the team event for Wakeboarding and brought home the Silver medal in spite of competing with girls half my age. I was 38 years old.
I almost didn’t get to ride in the Games when I tore my MCL (Medial collateral ligament) 3 weeks before my competition date. Still, I was hoping to be able to ride for my event. Then, the physiotherapist told me that I needed to manage my expectations… the typical healing time for such an injury is 4 weeks. And I am supposed to have my leg locked at a certain angle to allow the ligaments to heal. Meaning no physical activity. Because of the injury, my thigh muscles lost their capacity. Time was needed to rebuild the muscles. I was devastated.
But I knew it was possible.
I had given up hope on the SEA Games 2 years later as I was recovering from a hip dislocation. But I was able to ride for the selections and I made it to the team. Having the experience from the previous Games, I knew how physically and mentally demanding training can be. So, I took time off from work to focus on wakeboarding. I ended up having my best performance ever and as a team, we brought home the Silver again.
Wakeboarding showed me how weak I was. If I wanted to compete with girls half my age, it was clear I needed to be stronger. I knew that the first step was to be more discerning with what I was consuming. I went on a search for the most nourishing of foods.
A friend organised an organic farm tour, and we came across a noni tree. The owner said that the noni fruit is known to be the elixir of youth. That caught my attention. Recently, a friend suggested I drink Tahitian Noni Juice. I took it as a sign.
I could not believe the transformation that happened and the compliments that people were giving me. My knees stopped aching, I felt invigorated and people kept saying that I look younger. I started to feel less stressed and I could focus better.
Noni is a treasure from the heavens.
It is a fruit that supports and sustains the different systems of the human body like no other. It also interacts with the cannibinoid system. It is widely studied and validated by science. It is because of the gift of noni, that my journey of seeking out the power of mother nature began.
The gift of yoga came into my life when I started to fall apart from wakeboarding. For most of my life, I used and abused my body, never doing anything to help it.
I tried yoga once when I was living in a very unhealthy life. I looked the best but performed the worst. I was so unfit. That was the first and last time, I thought. In 2012, at a friend’s insistence, I went with her to a Bikram Yoga class. I actually enjoyed it; I was taken back to my childhood days of gymnastics. She bought me a package for my birthday and there was no turning back.
Yoga to me is not about getting into fancy poses.
It’s about helping the body be more efficient and optimising its innate ability to function.
As I continued a regular practice, I could feel the impact yoga was having on my body. The mind-body connection was enhanced, I became more flexible and felt stronger. My capacity and efficacy in breathing also improved.
I first heard about Vipassana in 2006 but it was not till I left my job in 2009 that I went for the 10 day course. I had zero interest in meditation, I only went because my very pessimistic friend seemed to have finally gained some insight and optimism. I became curious and wanted to see what it was that helped her have her revelations.
I went, I saw and I was done. There was no intention to continue the practice or to go back for another course, ever. But all that changed in 2012 when I noticed an email for a 3 day course. I had this desire to want to serve.
My life was forever changed.
I dedicated the following year to learn more about the technique which in essence was to learn more about my human being. I continue to walk this path as it has helped me tremendously in the healing process and given me the strength to attend to the difficulties of life. It has been my guiding beacon, opening up a brand new world of endless possibilities.