Hope March has been a great month for you so far. In China where I grew up, February-March marks the beginning of a new year, which is full of good vibes. I hope it has been bringing you something wonderful in life too.
My February-March was like riding on an emotional roller coaster as I went under a lot of stress preparing my first solo exhibition. Now that the exhibition has finished, I am very thankful and relaxed that I feel all the stress was completely unnecessary!
In this email I would like to share a few things that helped me get things done with positive thinking in the past month. You might find them useful.
1. Binaural beats
I have been listening to binaural beats to cleanse my thoughts before sleep. A binaural beat is an auditory illusion perceived when two different pure-tone sine waves are presented to a listener dichotically. I am still skeptical about the hyponotising tones (l don’t want to end up like Derek Zoolander after listening to ‘Relax, don’t do it‘!). But I find this track calms me down. Try it with your headphone on.
2. Eating laksa alone (no Facebook)
I found out why I had been craving for salty, spicy Asian food so much when I was eating a bowl of yellow and orange laksa alone. I was so stressed that I missed my parents in China, as if my mind would be settled once I am home with them. But that was my ideal illusion. My face was reflected in that bowl of creamy laksa soup. Stress can only be solved within. But ask me if you want to know where to eat a good laksa alone in Sydney.
Anett and I had dinner at Automata as a reward to my hard work. From the way they cook/design the dishes to the ceramic plates to the interior design of the restaurant, everything gives a sense of Zen, but also full of surprises. The best thing about a fine culinary experience is that it takes us out of our comfort zone and usual palettes. I often find it stress-relieving for a few hours till time to pay the bill.
4. elBulli biography
My best $10 book purchase is Colman Andrews’ biography of Ferran Adrià. What surprises me is that it turns out to be a book that is not just about Ferran Adrià, but the history and spirit of elBulli restaurant, dated back when its founders started it in 1961. It was a story of faith, patience, passion, curiosity, humbleness and generosity to pass the knowledge, rather than any glowing fame that the media has given to Ferran Adrià.
I found it helpful when I started to question what I was doing. Again I was assured that it is my curiosity that is leading me to explore my potential and share things I see with others.
5. Butterflies are assoholes
National Geographic has been my go-to place whenever I feel stressed. So one more thing I’ve learnt lately is that butterflies are assholes – they rape pupae and drink turtle’s tears. Read this article Butterflies Behaving Badly: What They Don’t Want You To Know.
6. MSQRD app
MSQRD app uses facial recognition technology is so stupid and trashy that is so brilliant. It has been very popular lately. People are swapping faces with their dogs, friends and famous portraits. I’ve made some videos with my cat. Try it and have a bit of laugh.
7. Anett’s 11pm curfew
Although I often complained about Anett’s 11pm curfew, I have to admit that it has been helping me a lot with keeping up my energy level. Maintaining 7-8 hour sleep every night is crucial, says Fast Company too.
8. Trigger-point massage
Darrin my massage therapist was amazed how tight my upper back muscles had become after a month working on the exhibition. It affected my breathing too. Yesterday I screamed as he pressed my upper back trigger point. He then used a spoon to scrap out the blocked blood (a Chinese detoxing technique called ‘Gua Sha’), which hurt again. No pain no gain, he says.
9. Any tips?
I guess I would feel more relaxed preparing my next exhibition (God no, not again). It was a great learning experience to train my mind. Although I wish I could take a break but life doesn’t want me to stop – I am having two separate workshops in April. I know nothing about running a workshop. I am feeling my stress level is rising again.
If you have any tips, I will really appreciate it if you can share with me (email me, DM on Instagram or Facebook). I will let you know how they help me in next month’s email.
Thank you for reading. Pass it on to your friends if you find anything useful.
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