Stay At Home Stories: Ashley

Turning the day over from a tiny injustice into an act of self-love

I’m delighted to share our second Stay At Home story from Ashley — my best friend who has been part muse and part beloved supporter of this newsletter/blog thing.

You’ll see what Ash is up to in her version of lockdown life. At this particular time, she’s crossing the chasm from lockdown into the early phases of re-opening in Kuala Lumpur. Let’s see what’s happening for her!

Where are you locked down right now?

Home in KL

What do you do for work?

Producing educational videos for 3 - 6 years old children, as well as managing online classrooms, contacting parents and colleagues to keep up communication.


Today marks the first day of anointed break I allow myself. My weeks since the start of MCO in Malaysia consists mainly of 6 working days non-stop, juggling video production, video editing and managing classrooms and colleagues. It has not been easy, to say the least, and I wonder when life will ever resume to some form of normality.

Since it's Hari Raya break next week, I decide to give myself 4 days off from any form of planning for videos. I head into the office to see how things are. Teachers are still bustling around the school, prepping for their videos, while some are busy editing in quiet corners. Everyone is exhausted, both mentally and physically.

I guess my day started off as it usually did. Woke up, wished my aunt a good morning before heading into the toilet and began my morning routine. Went to the car and it failed to start. Called the mechanic and he came in a moment to replace the car battery. Not long after that, drove along the now busy roads on the way to work.

Once work was over, drove back home and settled for a lovely cold shower and air-dried my hair. Had a nice dinner with my aunt and we even managed to pencil in a bible study session.

To say the least, I am grateful for these quiet, peaceful moments with her in our comfortable home. It was then that I start to realise how much time I chose to give in to my work and how I yearn to just pull her into the car and drive us up to Penang and relax. Well, of course not possible for the time being, but a fantasy with a dose of reality can be a real mood booster!


Ashley’s story echoes some of the tiny injustices we’ve had to deal with since the beginning of lockdown. I wonder if her car had failed to start because she hadn’t been able to use it since lockdown began? I also love how she ended the day with an act of self-love, having a cold shower and washing her hair! 💜

That’s definitely one of my favourite things to do for myself: having a shower then settling in for a comfortable night at home, spending quality time with a loved one, not to mention practising something that contributes to self-growth.

Submit Your Lockdown Story


A little update for lockdown life in Bali

I’ve been in Bali since the beginning of March. While some places in the world are beginning to re-open and adjust to a new lifestyle, I fear that Bali is only beginning to peak at the local transmission phase. I get the occasional whisper of a confirmed case gone unreported, and I’m certain there are more cases like this.

At this time of writing, there are 1,158 reported cases on the island, with the number of deaths at 9. News has covered bits & pieces relating to the island’s mysterious immunity and a jab on the ignorance from a spiritual community in Ubud, though there is still a staggering difference in terms of rumours on the street and what the news authorities are reporting.

I’m wearing a mask and taking the precautions when I go outside, and there are no movement restrictions outside of the main city. Now I’m just waiting for news on when my extended stay permit will expire. It’s an interesting time to be a guest in someone else’s country, it feels like the state of my wellbeing could very easily be taken away at any moment. I’m trying not to worry about it.

At home, I’m happy to be developing new routines & habits, but at times it’s been frustrating to be encased in the same set of walls. Not just physically, but mentally, too, as I rinse & repeat my daily routine. Last weekend, I celebrated my birthday by treating myself to a solo retreat by the beach, and I’m glad I did it.

What about you? How have you been coping?

Speak to you soon.

Love,

Helena.


What’s In The Lunch Box

I toasted a kilo worth of granola, which I ate mostly as a snack while watching movies with Rick.

Don’t. Feel. Sorry. At. All.

Recipe from Pick Up Limes.


Thank you so much for reading my lunch box. I spend a few hours weekly practising my writing, and lunch box has been a huge indication of progress for me. If you would like to help me move the progress needle, let me know if my writing has resonated with you by clicking on the little heart ♥️ at the bottom!

Inspecting sensory experiences at home + Stay At Home Stories

Objects around me have found home in my headspace, allowing me to ask questions that I never knew existed, or needed asking.

Hope you're well. Almost a year ago, I wrote to you about the art of reframing (and how I got called out for being curt), but nothing would prepare me to frame my greeting to you today. Simply, I hope you're well. Without seeing your face, without being in any way in touch with you, it's hard to take the temperature and communicate that empathy I have for you right now.

But right now, that distance has introduced a new form of communication, just not with a fellow human being. Objects around me have found home in my headspace, allowing me to ask questions that I never knew existed, or needed asking. I've grown fond of examining the sensory experience of everything around me - the hint of smog in the air; the cold & slippery touch of my favourite coffee mug (and the anticipation of coffee right before you sip!); the not-quite hairy microfibers on my yoga mat; and sipping in the smell of dogs after they play in the grass (sometimes tarmac, ew).

This must be the privilege of slow living - my life stretching out into a portrait of Instagram boho living, complete with the hobo textiles to boot.

I’m probably not the only one thinking about what they’ll be doing after the world eases up again. But the whole ‘when this blows over, I’ll…’ is giving me super antsy vibes. My mortality and dreams are tugging at me, requesting for inspection. I suddenly feel old. Not in a mature sort of way, but in a forgotten and dusty way.

I’m thinking about my younger self. This has been a rare opportunity to dive into that teenage psyche again; to feel rebellious, bored, stuck at home. I have a raging urge to create, manifest, introspect, consume, express. Lamentably, I don’t have a sustained source of energy and motivation. Maybe I’m coming from a more resourceful and cushy position now, there’s no actual need to uproot myself and create a personal revolution. But I’m terrified that makes me boring. I want to chase the high and lows with raging hormones, but I want the low-fat zen garden of my late 20s brain.

At work, I am surfing on peaks of productivity. There is an immense belief that I’m doing the right thing one moment, and then immense doomsday vibes the next. I’m struggling to validate the work I’m doing, the mouth I’m feeding. I'm laughing as I think about it, writing this newsletter to you has been a chore, a bore, and then too hard to ignore.


Inspired by Money Diaries from Refinery29, I have a growing curiosity about lockdown life and the objects we interact with daily. In particular, what kind of thoughts & feelings invoke when you’re interacting with said object. What kind of life do you live at home? Do you use a computer all day? What about your phone? Do you have a favourite mug, and why? Do you have pets? Are you still working out? Are you eating well? Did you make sourdough or dalgona coffee? What's happening at home?

By extension, I also want to deliver an honest and authentic answer to a question that has been asked many times over, particularly by loved ones - What are you up to these days? Here's my attempt at that answer. I hope to take you through a day in my life as much as I long for yours in return.

If you're interested in sharing, send in your submission here. I’ll be waiting!


7:00. I wake up. My dogs, Maple & Bowie jump into bed to offer good morning kisses. I haven't been sleeping enough because they wake up so early these days, but I compromise for the sake of morning cuddles with furry friends. I think about what kind of coffee I’ll make today. I settle for cappuccino because I'm still waiting for the pour-over kit to arrive.

7:30. Out of the bed. I head to my reading nook to do some meditation. I set up a 14-minute timer on Waking Up and drop in. Today, there's a noticeable struggle to keep my attention stable, but I'm not discouraged by it. I remind myself of the obvious benefits and how my focus has drastically improved over the course of one week.

8:30. I am ready to make myself a coffee. The kitchen is detached from the bedroom, which means I must walk a small path outside to reach the main house. I'm always grateful for these tiny steps, it means I get to spend time in the sun and let my senses roam between the sound of birds, cicadas, human chatter, and doggy footsteps. Maple and Bowie step out of my bedroom with me. We soak in the sun for a few minutes.

I make my coffee with a trusty old moka pot. I stuff the indestructible vessel with Kintamani coffee then set it on the stovetop for brewing. The coffee I'm brewing originates from the same island I reside on, which is interesting to me because I'm paying attention to locally-sourced goods. Backyard coffee does seem like a real luxury. While the coffee brews, I assemble my milk frother to make a short glass of foamed milk.

I finish off the cappuccino with a classic sprinkle of cocoa powder, then give the kitchen a once-over. If you've seen Fight Club, you may remember the scene where the protagonist (does he have a name?) narrates all the IKEA furniture names from a magazine. I do the same in my head, narrating all the to-dos for each section of the kitchen. I suddenly feel the urge to re-arrange the pantry and to sort out my massive collection of glass food jars by height.

You probably want to hear that I went to town with the kitchen re-organisation project. But today is not the day, so I will myself to walk away and attend to my priorities for the day.

9:00. My work commute is back to my bedroom through the same grassy path, now with coffee in hand. I sit down at my desk with the same clothes I slept in. I have a permanent rotation of T-shirt and cotton shorts.

My desk contains a laptop, external keyboard & mouse, two planners, a desk lamp and a trusty gel pen. I also have a yoga block + book ensemble which props up my laptop for ergonomic reasons. After working haphazardly for years, I finally decided to give my spine the loving care it deserves.

I fill in my morning journal with plans for the day and lovingly jot down the kitchen re-organising ideas from earlier. Past self, I promise you we’ll attend to your ideas at a better time.

I work until noon, making a stop to cook rice for lunch later.

12:30. Lunch time. I heat Japanese curry and niku meat sauce to share with Rick, my boyfriend. We eat both dishes with fresh rice. We make small chatter but otherwise eat in shared silence. He picks up his phone from time to time to reply to chat messages.

13:00. I am back at work until sundown. In between, I jot down pantry and cooking ideas that pop into my head. I also wrestle between focusing at work and giving my dogs attention. I do mental gymnastics every time they cry for attention. Ever since we limited outdoor excursions, they have grown both indoorsy and antsy. I put on soundproof headphones during work, but it's challenging to manage their energy and mine. I pet them in between breaks.

16:00. I receive a bag of groceries delivered at the door. They come from an organic, farm-to-home store I found online. I unload the groceries, thank the driver and return their carrier bag. Back in the kitchen, I inspect my purchases: adzuki beans, coconut sugar, local robusta coffee (craving Vietnamese-style drip coffee), raw cacao powder, crab apples, a loofah and a lavender shampoo bar. Tomorrow, I will make a batch of chocolate chip muffins via homemade applesauce, and a mocha smoothie bowl for breakfast.

What are crab apples? Crab refers to apples that are smaller than your usual apples. They're usually a bit tart but otherwise edible. The manalagi apples I bought are much smaller than the granny smiths I'm used to buying from the supermarket. They are locally (!) sourced from East Java, which is much closer than the US or Australia. Since it's my first time buying these apples, I inspect their smallness and marvel at the red streaks decorating the otherwise green apple. Upon taking a sniff, I fall in love with these apples. They emit a sweet toffee fragrance which I think will be perfect for making applesauce.

17:00. One of my colleagues from another part of the world has just started their day. We exchange niceties and he tells me about how well he has been, despite the lockdown situation. We both feel on top of our game today. I tell him I'm proud of myself for being able to wrap up the day before sundown, it doesn't happen much. I wish the same to him and sign off shortly after.

17:30. I'm done! I unplug my laptop, switch off wireless devices and carry my laptop over to the dressing area of my room. Here, a rectangle of free space invites me to unroll my yoga mat. I feel triumphant as I get ready to be guided through a 30-minute yoga lesson. I long to submerge into a different headspace, and to give my body a daily dose of mobility.

In the past year, I have been thinking more about the importance of physical exercise and the role it plays in regulating my mental health. I have built up a consistent habit of doing yoga three times a week, some times more. Now, this routine is something I look forward to because I enjoy Adriene's voice from Yoga With Adriene, and also because I get to sweat and feel grounded in my body!

Working on the Internet, and being a knowledge worker by extension, comes with its own set of health hazards - like sitting at a desk for too long, or straining your eyes from the blaring lights of laptops & smartphones. Not to mention the information overload on your mental. I think this is why I adhere to a regular yoga and meditation practice. I just treat them as operational safety. I acknowledge that lots of people work in harsher conditions though, and I do my best to sympathise.

18:30. After yoga, I take a shower and today happens to be shampoo day. As I dry my hair, I realise my arms are more tired than usual. This soreness extends to my neck, I feel crunchy all over. Maybe I strained myself during yoga and didn't adhere to 'operational safety' properly. I have an urge to go for a massage but tell myself that's not possible right now. I promise myself to practise yin yoga soon, which is the only way I know how to ‘soothe’ my body right now.

19:00. I fix myself a soba salad with soy dressing to end the day. I make a mental note not to eat green tea soba with sesame oil anymore because they don't go well together. Maybe ponzu sauce? I load the dishwasher with everyone's dirty dishes for the day, then funnel all my new purchases into glass jars. I inevitably season myself with cacao and coffee powder, which is not a terrible combination.

20:30. I conclude the day by completing the evening journal section in my performance planner. I spot speckles of distraction throughout the day (dogs barking for attention, articles enticing me with their headlines), but I try to find gratitude in an otherwise peaceful & enjoyable day.

I rate myself a 5/5 in Clarity, Productivity, Influence & Necessity; a 4/5 in Energy because I struggled to keep up during yoga; a 3/5 in Courage because I would have liked to let Rick know I appreciate eating lunch without our phones.

Submit Your Own Story


What’s In The Lunch Box

I investigated the colours I eat in a day! Pictured here are matcha latte 🍵, berry smoothie bowl 🍓and a yellow sweet potato 🥔


Thank you so much for reading my lunch box. I spend a few hours weekly practising my writing, and lunch box has been a huge indication of progress for me. If you would like to help me move the progress needle, let me know if my writing has resonated with you by clicking on the little heart ♥️ at the bottom!

What goes around, comes around

When life's free trial is running out, what can you do other than make sacrifices?

Housekeeping

Happy Sunday! We’re halfway through the first quarter of 2020! If you missed out on 2019’s Collective Reflections, you can find them on my saved stories on IG, or in my shared Dropbox folder.

Last week, I echoed some woes about out current epidemic and shared some light in spite of the situation. This week, we’re going to look at what it means to take charge of our own progress and how to break out of procrastination. Life’s free trial is officially over, 20 somethings.


Dear lunch box friend,

A few weeks ago I had a phone call with my best friend Ash that was going to change my life up till now.

We started with the routine catch up, an informal exchange of events. I told her I’ve been procrastinating at work, feeling lethargic, and just unhappily creeping through the mid-day drudgery that seems to affect the best of us. I shared about further dreams, about how my deteriorating performance had veered me off course from the bigger picture.

At some point I became manic: I complained about not having access to mentors, or the motivation to do some weeknight self-study. I even sought for minuscule faults in my surroundings to justify my inaction. I’ll spare you further detail, but it was an assortment of petty riddances uttered by the uninspired.

Ash listened, and acknowledged. She said she felt the same sometimes. But then she offered me the most important thing I needed to learn that week — in order to gain something, I must first sacrifice something else.

Every time we choose to do something, we’re gonna inevitably lose something else. No free lunch, right? If I watched some Netflix tonight, I’m sacrificing time for introspection, some time on the yoga mat, or the expenses update that was due last week. It’s an elegant adage, but in my extended lethargy, I lost sight of the simple philosophy.

She told me about the things she sacrificed too. In between the AM and PM of having a job, she had to juggle between her relationships, domestic work, cell meetings and her personal projects. Just like you and me, she only has 24 hours each day. Plus she likes to sneak in mid-day naps. So what the hell! I’m immediately humbled. She walked me through a list of things I could eliminate or defer, and suddenly a weeknight study session didn’t seem so unattainable anymore.

I’m not saying I’m completely focused and productive at this point, but through the kindness and solidarity of a best friend, the commitment to a planner that I truly love, and the gradual reframing of ‘I’m not too busy, I’m just making progress in a positive way’¹, I’m learning to pay attention to my outputs and to block time more effectively. One part planning, one part measuring. And because I have a better idea of what I’m willing to sacrifice, procrastination didn’t seem so beneficial anymore.

I choose to sacrifice my time for scrolling mindlessly, for Netflix, for (some) connection time with my partner, and for social interactions. Social was the most painful for me, but you’re still here, lunch box friend, and you rock!

So anytime I’m looking to indulge in the things I’ve tucked away in my ‘to burn’ box, I’m going to check my schedule to see if I have time for it. It’s not that I can’t do the burner things anymore, I just need to have gained something else first before I indulge. And guess what, I ended up recovering time for two Netflix & chill sessions with my partner! We even spent some time playing GTA V. Amazing wins.

In fact, the quickest win you can have right now is to assess your outputs more diligently. What have you done today that is worth celebrating? The magic here seems to be: no one else other than you get to decide what is worth celebrating. I know! Shocking. You don’t need anybody’s validation, so pull out your secret stash and get celebrating.

It’s been a few weeks since Ash has imparted me with her wisdom, and through some fine tuning I’ve come to another realisation myself — you can stuff lots of information in your mind, but your body will interpret and embody them. The information you gain can have tumultuous effects on your emotional self and the physical body. And some times they could be unpleasant. What goes around, comes around. If you have stress eaten before, then you know what I mean.

Oops, I traumatised myself with my Productive Efforts.

For example, money is a very emotional topic for me. And because of my poor relationship with it, I haven’t been able to stomach (haha) making financial decisions or to spend without guilt.

To make myself less vulnerable, I decided to gather resources about personal finances. I visualised that one day, I can pull out my own fact sheet and make the call based on the information I have, and not the pain I feel.

The good thing is I have a clearer picture of my position now, but the bad thing is my body is stuffed with anxiety and resentment from the information I gathered! I have so little. The world is so unfair. Bla bla. Usually we say don’t take it too personally when something offends us, but how am I supposed to run away from me offending me?!

What goes around, comes around.

Lunch box friend, do you feel the same way? Have you made a valiant effort in self growth but only to have bumped into some boo boos along the way?

What can you sacrifice today? And what will you need to do to keep yourself healthy?

One more thing, go celebrate yourself, please. Give me the tea later. I want to know!

Love,

Helena.


What’s In The Lunch Box

For my last day in Portugal last fall, my colleague took me for some cheeky eclairs from one of the oldest pastry shops in Porto — Leitaria da Quinta do Paço. I can still taste the caramel-infused milkstache on my lips 😝


¹ This mental phrase was a sentiment offered in this blog post.


Thank you so much for reading my lunch box. I spend a few hours weekly practising my writing, and lunch box has been a huge indication of progress for me. If you would like to help me move the progress needle, let me know if my writing has resonated with you by clicking on the little heart ♥️ at the bottom!

I'm not letting them get to me + Collective Reflections 2019

They come as airborne threats and wildfires, but I can't let them chip away at my sanity

Dear lunch box friends,

After a tumble and a twirl, the Collective Reflection for 2019 is finally here! Thank you so much to the bold friends who submitted their reflections, I salute you for the vulnerability and I’m grateful for your intimacy. From discovering your personal demons and new hobbies, to re-igniting the power of “ohana” with friends & family, my dear friend, you have shown me that we are all together on this shared divine journey. You’re telling me we get to rock n roll in this together?! I’m HONOURED to walk with you.

There’s a tiny comfort in knowing we 20 somethings are kind of struggling with the same BS, even if we don’t tell each other enough. Some shared struggles I hear are: staying connected with friends, maintaining healthy relationships with family while living/studying abroad, combatting procrastination, finding time for self-care and new hobbies, forgiving others for projecting themselves…

And that’s one of the reasons why I write to you: to start the conversation about the hard things and to have a laugh about it. I admit, sometimes things are so messed up that we can do nothing but laugh over the darkness of it all. This brings to mind a fellow lunch box friend who said they will drive their car ‘until it sputters and the paint peels off’ because they unwillingly inherited a car loan from an erratic parent…

The reflections are available in my personal Instagram’s featured stories, and they’ll likely be there for as long as I use IG. If that’s not available to you, you can always view them here:

View Collective Reflections 2019

Pro tip: For those who submitted their responses, take a screenshot and keep it on your phone for a motivation booster from time to time! I’m sure it’ll come in handy when you close off 2020.


Don’t let me get me

For the last month (and now) we have been collectively battling away at silly notions and obsessions over this new fearful, airborne thing. It started simple enough for me, an urgent sequence of pings on my phone, messages from my family group chat popping up over and over. I’ve put these group chats on mute because I’ve grown past the fear mongering of the obsessed. Photos of people collapsing on the streets, listicles of facts and obscured half-truths. Suddenly, everyone was an expert in something. Hushed voices carry with them fear, anxiety, and paranoia.

It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened, especially not in my family group chat. Virality is too often tied with fear. The worst kind of cocktail that nudges me in all the wrong places. I get frustrated at sharers for not fact checking. I get frustrated that I have to fact check for them. I get frustrated over how I’m wasting my time doing even that, especially if it raises no immediate urgency to my wellbeing.

Regardless, I can’t discount that there must be some truth to all these exclamation marks and death toll numbers. My body tenses up, involuntarily seeking for information that proves my biases. Or rather, the biases that have been bombarded at me over the context of familial ties. I believe my family members, like many others, often err on the side of fear and I hate to say it, eat up the dog food that media feeds. And because I voluntarily consume the information being shared to me, I experience the same gush of fear and anxiety. I don’t know if they feel it, but I certainly do. I don’t say they don’t get to me. And I don’t say they are all fake news, but surely there are sensible parameters around what could be ‘shared’.

  • Is it going to induce uneccessary urgency and anxiety to the recipient?

  • Do they already know about this?

  • Am I sharing the same thing again, but reframed in a more negative/shocking perspective?

  • Am I throwing bad vibes around here? And to 5, 10, 50 people nevertheless?

Somehow, amidst playing caretaker and surviving another year of festive celebrations, I fell ill on the day of my flight home to Bali. Maybe I did eat up their dog food.

That morning in Kuala Lumpur, I watched an IGTV video about remaining stoic in the face of outbreak. And part of that means understanding that our biological bodies will fall ill if we allow it to be. Paranoia and fear drains our immunity, it pollutes our mind and it creates vast oceans between what we see in our tiny screens and what is factual beyond. Fear deepens our biases, simmering slowly, until it confronts us and we spring away if someone so much as sneezed next to us. Bless you, lest you are of a certain race.

I don’t have much to add beyond that, just that I’m exhausted from the worldly crises that knocks on my email, my social media and my group chats. All I know is to protect my sanity by staying positive and immersing myself with those I love. Every moment I spend cuddling with a furry friend is one less moment I worry about this stupid airborne thing. I’m not going to watch that documentary about outbreaks. I’m not going to refresh thewuhanvirus.com every day. I’m gonna keep myself healthy and accountable if I do fall sick and travel. That’s as far as it goes. That’s the only way to keep my spirits up and to fight off this fear.

My friend, if you are feeling very much the same, I hope I can bring some light to you with our collective reflections, and maybe this ‘don’t let them get to me’ anecdote resonates with you too. We started off the year with lots of great resolutions and reminders of what we carry with us into 2020. I’m confident that you’re still holding on to that. And if you’re not, here’s a booster:

Love & toast,

Helena.


What’s In The Lunch Box

Chicken tofu hambagu and noodles tossed in sesame oil. Simple and divine. My partner tells me that it reminds him of the chicken meatball skewers from our favourite fast-food chain in Singapore - Tori-Q!

You're invited to a 2019 collective reflection!

Like Secret Santa, but you get a piece back from everyone else :)

Dear Lunch Box friends,

As we approach the end of 2019 and into a new decade, I just want to spend our last few days in collective reflection. First, I’d like to offer my love and gratitude for being on this list. Lunch Box started from a (too) bold mission to release on a weekly basis, but as you know our 20s are so batshit crazy, and too often I picked having an anxiety attack over sitting down to write a love letter. Nonetheless, we reached a small, humble achievement of 10 issues this year, with this being the 11th and final edition!

In the last edition, I spoke to you about walking out of the end of my trauma tunnel, and into the new light of having a normal life (or so) again. I am immediately humbled by the subtle daily challenges, like things not progressing in a pace I expect or situations that require me to be patient on the other party, especially if that person is a family member or a good friend.

I then spoke to you about building new habits and to deepen my relationships with others, like carving out a weekly 2-hour phone call with my best friend. I also talk about finding joy and structure in a journaling habit. The journaling habit propeled me into cooking healthy meals at home, calling friends to catch up & to see them on weekends, spending more time with my partner, and most of all develop a regular yoga practice.

So those are the pretty parts of my 2019. They are note-worthy not because they are pretty, they are so much more in that they are products of a deep faith in wanting things to get better. And a relentless drive to iterate and find what feels good. To have my cake but to eat it meaningfully, and to cut out pieces and share with friends. And then bake a new & better one and share it again.

To my best friend — I thank you for the immense patience you have and for all the phone calls you have indulged me in. Thank you for your graceful emphaty, to your patience and to your collaboration.

Lunch box friends, this best friend of mine is a work of art — my favourite part of our relationship is our drive to push each other for more, because we share a deep faith in wanting the best for our lives. That includes sharing journal prompts, offering therapy time to each other, and learning from each other’s mistakes. We share our darkest emotions, our most vivid and violent dreams, our biggest fears, and most importantly the lessons that propel each other into enrichment and wellbeing.

My friend, I hope you have such a person in your life too. But if you don’t, here is my invitation to hold your hand. If you’re feeling brave, please reach out, and let me know how I can support you in your next endeavour. For 2020, I’m challenging myself to explore my vulnerabilities and open my heart to more of those around me. If you’re on this list, then I know you’ll be safe with me, and I to you.

Before we close off the year, I’d like for us all to participate in a collective reflection. When you receive this email, please reply to me with answers for prompts below. On the first week of January, I’ll post all your responses via Lunch Box and we can all get a collective snapshot of what it means to be a lunch box friend to each other, and maybe we’ll even realise we’re really not so different from each other :)

It’ll be like Secret Santa, except everyone gets a piece from everyone else!

Just fill it in here: https://helenang180031.typeform.com/to/BzUSBi

I’m so excited to hear back from you. Until then, season greetings & happy new year!

What’s In The Lunch Box

Throwback to a humble lunch I had while visiting the Sintra Castles near Lisbon, Portugal. Pictured here, a super thin turkey steak, some vegetables tossed in vinegar and (I think it’s slightly oiled) rice. Super tasty, super humble!


Love & toast,

Helena.

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