A Becoming: Circa 2008–2016

Anthea Indira Ong
12 min readNov 25, 2017


Today is not just the last day of 12 months of 2016 but also the closing lap of the 9-year cycle in numerology, with 2008 as the start of this cycle. As I peer through the pages, some tears-smudged, of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of written conversations with my Self in the last 9 years, I hold my vulnerabilities in tenderness and my strength in comfort. Yet, what came through was the becoming of wisdom (‘did I write/think/do that?’) that I cradle with steep deep gratitude. Thank YOU for a phenomenal cycle. I close it, and open the next one, with joyful enthusiasm and conscious abundance. Today, I Rise. And Receive. ❤

2+0+0+8 = 10, 1+0 = 1 (‘Buoyed’)

The beginning of the end of drowning in the million cracks and bruises, emotional and financial, from the colossal collapse 2 years prior of a broken marriage, a broken business and a broken bank account. Earth angels handed out buoys of every kind. Emotionally freed with the divorce decree finally ordered by the Courts, let go of education technology company — Knowledge Director, to move forward, set up Anagami to offer sustainable strategy consulting services, and for self-sustainability, re-joined the corporate sector with UK-listed Informa Group as Managing Director of Omega Performance to rebuild financially and mentally, celebrated 40 years of life lived and learned at One Rochester with a charity night themed The Asian Renaissance with Very Special Arts Singapore , resumed intrepid solo travels with Egypt and found herself in the timeless deserts of Sinai, summited Mt Sinai and found peace in the spot where Moses received the 10 Commandments from God), made an unambiguous declaration to self-love and realisation so as to serve humanity (thought of a life of servitude for a while!), turned away a sweet & devoted admirer yet complicated in every way. AND, re-birthed as INDIRA, the yogi — one who gives prosperity to others. All buoys held in humility and gratitude. Many Light seeds sown. The million cracks let them in.

2+0+0+9 = 11, 1+1 = 2 (‘Tangential’)

The new knowing of Self was not so easily embodied given the shackles of conditioning. (“Its so easy to stumble back into mindless slumber.”). Yet the pull to become a better version continues to overpower the entropy of familiarity. The ego-peeling continues with a structured work environment after such a long break as an entrepreneur. Saw friendships through new lenses. Started roller-blading and Spanish lessons. Became a mentor for Northlight School. Co-created the Purple Star Charity Sale for Northlight School. Got inked with a self-creation of an Egyptian Ankh emerging from a pink Lotus. Knew her time was not up, would have been where the bomb at Ritz Carlton Jakarta was for work, if not for a last-minute microfinance field trip to Cambodia. Learned and got certified as a Microfinance trainer with The World Bank/ADB. Awkward with admirers, strangely determined to focus on relationship with self. A dedicated yogi, also a gym rat at the Marine Parade CC gym. Removed 33 fibroids (a record for her surgeon) and pre-cancerous cervical cells. Realised acutely the body is ‘borrowed’ yet so precious as a temple of the soul. Went vegetarian completely and lived clean during coalescence, stayed with it since. In awe and gratitude learning from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, at Namgyal Monastery, Dharamsala. Travelled with family to China, especially loved cuddling up with goddaughter, Renee, and those beautiful bedtime conversations with Mum. 10 days of year-end Bali bliss in a farmhouse, and nothing else. Got good with her corporate role. Financially rewarding. Tangentially different to the married and entrepreneurial life prior. Struggles and strength. Expressed in equal doses.

2+0+1+0 = 3 (‘Clarity’)

Struggled with the longing to be in the non-profit/NGO space whilst doing well in the commercial sector. Settled into a clear personal goal of time and energy spent: 1/3 paid-work, 1/3 self-development and 1/3 service to humanity. Convinced Group CEO that more can/should be done for corporate stewardship, later appointed as Asian Lead (volunteer role) on Global Corporate Responsibility Board. Gave up the beloved Rushie (Toyota Rush) after 20 years of car-ownership, no need to entertain the nagging sense of hypocrisy no more. Strange sense of soul vindication. Implanted community engagement as a permanent feature into staff welfare activities, with Very Special Arts Singapore, Make-A-Wish Foundation and later, Singapore Disability Sports Council. Inspired to deepen yogic practice through a 10-month part-time yoga teaching programme with Ananda Marga Yoga Society ( Singapore). Started fasting practice of ‘Ekadashi’, or upavasa, twice a month (now 4 times a month). Traversed the high plains of Tibet in June and trekked to 5,500m-base camp of Mt Everest or Mt. Qomolangma in Tibetan. Deep immersion at Ananda Marga’s ashram and global training school in the forests of Yredors, Sweden in July. Snooped around Copenhagen prior. Spent time with a friend and his lovely family in Stockholm before Gothenburg and Skagen. Dealt with a most challenging situation with one of the largest bank clients yet still soaring amazingly at work which saw loans from a previous life slowly and surely repaid. Progressed to level 3 in Spanish. Active volunteer/partner with Very Special Arts Singapore and aLife. Exco member of Bankers with Vision, an informal group of bankers/ex-bankers who offer talent and time to microfinance institutions in developing countries. Kicked off Project Yoga-on-Wheels in Dec once certified as a yoga teacher. Comforting congruence of life, in and out. Clarity in purpose. And potential. Rejoice.

2+0+1+1 = 4 (‘Abundance’)

Congruence and clarity converged into the powerful attraction of abundance. Clinched the biggest deal in the company’s history and was beyond abundantly rewarded, at every level. Including a promotion which was not taken up because the yearning to do more to serve became stronger (yes, a shocking surprise to a recovering corporate over-achiever!). Then another opportunity to join Apple came forth. Didn’t happen for different reasons. Plotted a vegetarian burger fast food chain called O’Baba. Didn’t happen, also for different reasons. Seeded a development project, including microfinance, for a small fishing village called Teluk Naga 3 hours from Jakarta — we called it Project Alar Mandiri. Hopped over to Hong Kong to spend time with a friend over Easter. Grateful for a soul-nourishing Yoga Teachers’ Conference at Landih Ashram in Bali that June. Was led to a epiphanic opportunity to support an abused woman, up close and personal someone who chose to stay with an abuser for 18 years even after being disfigured on the right side of her body by hot water. Learned not to judge, not to assume. Just listen and support. Celebrated bestie’s big 5–0 in Tuscany (and later, Milan) that November. Turned vegan in dietary preference before the trip, and vegan in life during the trip (no leather purchases in Italy!). Appointed Board Member of Society for WINGS. Traversed through the ‘other’ motherland of incredible India in Dec/Jan (New Delhi, Rishikesh, Jaipur, Pushkar, Bokara, Bodhgaya, Jamalpur, Ananda Nagar) in ananda, pure bliss. Overflowing with love, in love. For life, with life. Fears and scarcity slowly dissipating. Abundance from within.

2+0+1+2 = 5 (‘Intrepid’)

Give attention to intention. When it doesn’t happen, give attention to redirection. The intention for 2012 since 2009 was to leave the shackles of material comfort and take a year off to travel through Latin America to actively volunteer and end up in Tikal, Guatemala on 21 Dec 2012 for the end of an era. The year didn’t turn out that way because of the largest deal clinched at work, yes the trappings of commercial success and the many corporate baits tangled overtly (like a free trip to Jamaica in 2013) to not quit trumped the Great Soul Adventure. Learned and got certified in Reiki 1 and 2. Still intrepid travels marked the year. 3 months in Latin America with the employer’s blessings did happen at the end of the year, 10 days of Mayan fire ceremony in Tikal to bring in another Baktun (era) of consciousness were epic, as much as the soul connections made. Memorable to be part of the free naturopathy clinic provided by a group of American therapists. Was roped in to provide Reiki support to all village patients in El Peten, Guatemala. Indulged and took a helicopter to El Mirador of Guatemala (the second pair of lungs of planet earth). Traversing the Andes in South America, tracing the ancient Incan trail to Machu Picchu on foot, exploring the deeps of The Amazon, playing with the pink dolphins, fishing for piranhas (and throwing them back) etc etc etc could not be any less epic. Aside from the Easter weekend sojourn to Saigon with the ‘sisters’, Trans Siberia was ticked off on the travel bucket list too. Started the ride in Irkutsk, saw Lake Baikal (the world’s largest freshwater lake, and millions of years old), immersed in a 5-day spiritual retreat in the Altai mountains (between Siberia and Mongolia), before heading to St Petersburg and Moscow. Started Circle of Bliss: Weekly Meditation & Healing Circle on Mondays. Playground of Joy and Hush TeaBar being plotted. “You get your wisdom from your travels”, said one of the Mayan elders. Wisdom whispers in wonder. Those who wander are not lost.

2+0+1+3 = 6 ‘Change’

When change is invited rather than being imposed, the heart is at ease and at peace. Professional recognition came at so many levels — another promotion opportunity (again, turned down gratefully), the latest iPad for being the employee of the quarter across the group, and an all-expenses paid trip for 2 to Jamaica in April for being the top Asia Pacific performer. Having to go through New York (first time for Lace) meant meeting up with old friends at the Big Apple which used to be a regular business trip a different life ago as a Managing Director-Asia Pacific of New York Institute of Finance. The time was right. A full no holds-barred plunge into active volunteerism and social entrepreneurship provided the motivation for change, the letter of resignation was shared. Hired own replacement(s), notice period became 7 months and officially took the last corporate paycheck in Dec. In between, nominated by the US Embassy Singapore to represent Singapore for the Social Changemakers/Entrepreneurs under its International Visitor Leadership Programme and headed to Washington DC, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Seattle and Austin for a 3-week programme in July. Developed lasting friendships with amazing changemakers from 19 other countries. Created simple websites for Hush and Playground of Joy (PoJ). Co-created and ran a PoJ pilot workshop for a class of 12 special needs students with Very Special Arts in Nov. Checked in with friends and associates on the idea of Hush as a silent teabar served by Deaf TeaRistas, very encouraging and much interest all around. Of course, fears and doubts continue to blob around as the final regular income looms, yet this was a journal entry that is worth recapping “As I think, so I become. As I imagine, so I create. I imagine a world which is inclusive, kind and infinitely thriving and sustainable. And so I will create this world together with the agents of change around me.” Change happens anyway whether one is ready for it or not. Creating change consciously. Life nourishes and flourishes.

2+0+1+4 = 7 (‘Be’)

Seek and you shall Be. The joys of learning and being indeed. Spent a month in the Global Wellness Training Centre in Cebu to learn the ropes of natural therapy and yogic treatments, all 480 hours for certification. Fasted for 12 days for the first time, and felt phenomenal. Immensely inspired to share, kicked off Anagami Wellness: Natural Living, Elemental Healing. and ran the first weekend detox and elemental healing workshop with 10 participants in May. Also ran the first PoJ Mindful Teaching workshop for a group of allied and special needs educators, thrilled to have Weetz Seah on board PoJ. Headed off to Colorado Springs in July to start her foundation programme in ontological coaching, certified 8 months later as a professional life and executive coach. Very transformational experience, and a . Made some very special connections with fellow classmates. Introduced Hush to the public at the Goddess Marketplace, feedback was very positive. Launched Hush and stage first Hush@Workplace at DBS MBFC in Oct. Became a mentor to ITE students under the US Embassy Singapore-ITE Mentoring Programme, stayed on every year since. Approached by Carrie Tan to consider investing in her social enterprise yet felt that her passion and cause could be better served with a charity platform. Daughters of Tomorrow — Building Livelihoods for Women in Need as a charity was incorporated in Aug, and thrilled to be the founding board members with 2 exceptional women. Nominated for President of Society for WINGS, elected in Aug. Invited to be part of the first public bus tender as a consultant gave new joy to more learning. 10 coaching relationships to kick off the new calling to serve. To be where the heart rejoices is a gift. To be multidimensional in this expansion of the Self, it’s divinely.

2+0+1+5 = 8 (‘Space’)

Seedings sprout beautifully when space is held with love. Hush was introduced to the public at the National Library Building, a huge success — and went on surprise all predictions of traction for the rest of the year. PoJ kicked off a full 21-week programme with Very Special Arts for 12 very special children, fully funded. These movements of love were flourishing with no less enthusiasm. The weight of the role as President of WINGS and the challenges of a young charity in Daughters of Tomorrow were no less real. Re-energised the spirit with a 3-week respite in Sri Lanka, including 5 days of complete silence in Nilambe, summiting the sacred mountain of Adam’s Peak, living with a beautiful family in the village of Galaha and surrendering to the world conservation site of Knuckles with a good friend. Project Yoga-on-Wheels continue its weekly sessions at Star Shelter, SilverAce, Breast Cancer Foundation and SAMH. Circle of Bliss continues to encircle every Monday in peace and awareness. Increasingly easing into this calling to serve through coaching. Re-charged in Siem Reap with yoga and meditation at Angkor Bodhi Tree in Oct and later in Goa at Patram Beach with a dear friend from Spain. Observation from a dear friend brought tears “You show up completely and see the humanity in every one, with no judgement”. Enriching journey of the expanding soul — no formula, no right or wrong. Just trust the ease and peace in the heart and know when/where to create and hold space. The space to grow is where impact flows.

2+0+1+6 = 9 “Romance”

Shining love to serve is to romance one’s soul. Romance was in the air all through this year as love was abundant. Life romanced the Self at so many levels, including the media. Summoned the courage to share personal vulnerabilities with Straits Times, Her World, Simply Her, WomenTalk and Lianhe Zaobao. Moved and encouraged by the reactions and feedback, comforted that the sharing helped and inspired several. Invited to the 5-month Harvard-affiliated Social Leadership Singapore programme. Invited and selected for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Stanford by the US State Department, Stayed on to explore a tiny bit of the expansive California including San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia, Carmel and Santa Cruz. Completed first term as President of WINGS and decided not to seek re-election, given the expanding ‘sumptuous spread’. Gratified that a successor was identified a year before, and the transition was smooth and professional. Also stepped down as board member of Daughters of Tomorrow, made way for better talents to take this young charity forward. Coaching relationships flourished, with more referrals streaming in. Immensely fulfilling to support these personal transformations, one of the most beautiful to watch is that of Ning’s. Hush became sufficiently sustainable to bring Ning on board as a full-time COO, and 4 part-time deaf friends as employees — a milestone that is beyond special. Self-romancing is also about 3 new skills learnt (a new tradition for each year): Sign language, Memoir writing and Motorcycle riding. Thrilled that a chapter called Lost. And Found. written for the workshop in April was published in an anthology by the National Library Singapore in Oct. Motorcycle training has proven, surprisingly, to be a journey of resilience and persistence — much self-discovery and more ego-peeling. Did not clear the TP test in early Nov, yet very hopeful for the next available TP test in 4 days’ time! First enamoured in 2008, was back in the deep embrace of the Rig Jenn/Dasht-e Kavir desert of Iran, camping under the full desert moon below freezing point in Dec And so easy to fall in love with Persia through the colours and culture of Kashan, Yazd, Shiraz and Isfahan. 4 personal values ringed clearly as the year and cycle wrapped up: Humility, Curiosity, Empathy and Integrity. Romancing the Self is to set the heart free. “Who sees? What is seen? Who is the seer?” This Becoming comes through the million cracks, imperfect mends… and the incessant travels. From a place of drowning 9 years before. Today, I Rise. And Receive.

**I wrote this on the last day of 2016 before I discovered Medium.com. :)