Full Circles

Reflections on Living

Tag: improvisation

The Playful Present

Playful Present (See-Saw)


The present is a gift inviting us to open our doors. It flowers when we can embrace our history and welcome all  doors of possibilities of our future. 

This means that we allow ourselves to touch and heal past wounds, and live without anxiety of the unseen tomorrows.

Like a see-saw, it’s not easy (and probably of no use) to attempt to balance one side of the past and the other of the future in equilibrium. Rather, we show learn to play with it.  And when we do, we become flexible enough in the currents of change, and become inspiringly responsive, not reactive, to situations.

This form of  movement and openness – or vulnerability, is an antidote for the modern soul. Much like the jazz improviser responsing to the unforeseen musical turn that is up ahead, co-creating something vibrant and alive, and even joyfully unexpected; the moment-by-moment present, calls for our presence.

The best response you can have to any gift is to receive it. And playing with a gift is a true act of gratitude.

Have a playful new year ahead.

– Daryl Chow, Ph.D.

*playful doodle above hand drawn with Paper & Pencil  on iOS device


See-Saw (big trunk)

Act-in-Order-to-Know (Not the Reverse)

Beyond Comfort Zone

“A man who fails well is greater than one who succeeds badly.” -Thomas Merton, no man is an island, p.127

My profession is guilty of adding to the problem. We continue to propagate the notion that we need to somehow figure out our lives before we act. Otherwise, God forbid, we act rashly without much thought.

Certainly, some major events in life, like making a decision to getting married, making a huge financial investment, moving to a new country and the like, requires some forethought. But for the majority, we want to stray away from “Analysis-Paralysis”, that is, thinking so much about something that we become crippled by the fear of making a wrong decision or failing. Others might argue that we should at least “think” about it before we act on a decision. I agree on this point. But after working closely with people for some time in therapy, I realise that the problem in life are often not because people don’t consider the pros-and-cons before they act, but rather people slip into the pit-holes of one of the following:

1. Analysis-Paralysis, leading to symptoms of depression and anxiety;

2. Catastrophising (i.e., projecting the worst about future outcomes), leading to symptoms of anxiety;

3. Self-blame (for past mistakes), leading to symptoms of depression.

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