“Around here, however, we don’t look backward for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious . . . and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”—Walt Disney
To infinity and beyond! We are now at the phase in our lives where we need to truly coexist with all the new circumstances this pandemic has brought us.
As the world slowly opens up, there seems to be an expectation that life will go back to normal. However, the pandemic undoubtedly brought about new instances in each of our lives—changes that forced us to adapt, and to adapt with uncertainty.
It is baffling to figure out whether we should jump back into our old lives or create a new postpandemic lifestyle. Truthfully, I have not figured it all out yet, and I am still processing all these changes. But one thing is quite certain: I am not the same person I was 15 months ago. I have physically and mentally changed through all these various reiterations of quarantine.
The pandemic propelled me into a reflective state that made me question who and what matters most in life. After weeks of soul-searching through meditation, yoga, self-realization, therapy and even Bible study, I had an awakening that showed me the direction my soul wants to follow.
According to author Deepak Chopra, awakening happens when you are no longer living in a dream world. In the dream world, we tend to filter everything we experience through our ego; we hyperfocus on the future and the past, instead of the present. Through spiritual awakenings we achieve a clear image of the connection between our individual selves and the universe.
In yoga, it is called nirvana or a state of enlightenment. This consciousness happens when you stop being the observer and instead become fully aware of who you are and what you want. Enlightened beings strive to live a good life with a focus on the greater good.
We all share different snippets of enlightenment within our lives. Birthday boys Rajo Laurel and Dr. Hayden Kho Jr. constantly post inspiring and insightful quotes to help their Instagram followers develop positive mindsets. Dr. Hayden conducts our Bible study every Thursday and helps me widen and deepen my knowledge of the Word of God. Life does have more meaning when you know your true purpose here on Earth.
I have learned that the first step in growth is always developing an acute awareness of the present moment. This allows us to listen to our impulses that tell us what needs to change. There is a critical need to pause and have a purposeful moment of recalibration.
In a moment of pause, a single breath can create just enough space for you to notice any toxic tendencies, and to make healthier, more mindful choices going forward.
Just before the start of the pandemic, I was busy hosting feng shui talks at gatherings with friends and work colleagues. While I am not a professional feng shui master, I understand enough about geomancy to explain its importance and symbols. I do it for fun and entertainment purposes only!
In 2020, the year of the Rat, the strongest message I delivered was that 2020 was a reset year. It was the year to stop old habits and make new ones, correct mistakes, and introduce new values.
Little did I know that it was going to be a reset year in every possible and unimaginable way! I remember talking about “crossing the portal”—it was important to consider which parts of your life you were going to reset and let go of, and which parts were going to cross the portal with you into a new life. The pandemic no doubt ensured that we all reset. And as it turns out, it is the universe itself that decides which aspects of life are going to cross the portal with you into a new beginning.
So, as I begin to tentatively reopen my life, I find inspiration and strength in telling myself to move forward. Not move on, but forward. To me, there is a big difference.
To move on suggests that you turn your back on the past without learning from all its mistakes and disappointments. In moving forward, one embraces all the blissful and challenging memories and lessons of the past—not as burdens or rocks to hold one down, but as totems of a full and well-lived life. We do not allow external circumstances to stop ourselves from the pursuit of our goals.
The willingness to continuously keep moving forward is not only important during tough times. It’s just as important in many other aspects of life as well. Moving forward in life helps you to avoid stagnation. It allows you to maintain your pace without being lured by the temptations and distractions. Similarly, the willingness to move on helps you to explore new opportunities and horizons, instead of dwelling on the things holding you back.
Moving forward also includes discovering new passions and interests that add to personal growth. I have rekindled my passion for interior design. I am glad to be able to be creative again with design partner Cyndi Fernandez-Beltran. Together with her design team Moss Design House (@mossdesignhouse on Instagram), Cyndi and I are just about to complete the newest branch of Säntis Delicatessen at Robinsons Magnolia.
I am also working closely with Kohler, a multifaceted global brand with a diverse portfolio of kitchen and sanitary ware. Kohler also owns golf resorts, whisky and chocolates. I am excited to play golf in the future at one of their championship golf courses.
I will soon be promoting the Kohler intelligent toilet. The Eir exemplifies the art of innovation with its flowing lines and option for personalized finish detail. It pairs a high-performance flushing platform with the latest in personal hygiene using filtered water for intimate cleansing. Finish details are available in Rose Gold, Sunrise Gold and White.
Visit any Kohler showroom in one of the Wilcon Depot branches. I was happy to bump into #TropAfrica travel buddy Tim Yap at Wilcon Depot, where we were both shopping for home improvement projects.
Celebrating his 50th birthday in Japan, my fave fashion designer Rajo Laurel has been posting photos of beautiful Niseko in Hokkaido, where he and his partner Nix Alañon are spending a couple of days. He shared a wonderful quote: “Healing begins with a decision. Decide.” Let’s all decide on moving forward courageously! INQ