#Fairies, #Myths, & #Magic 2018 AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT GUEST POSTS: “Poems of Nature & Life,” by Khor Hui-Min

I am excited to announce that I have finally published my first poetry book on 27 April 2018. It’s called Poems of Nature & Life and available in paperback and Kindle ebook format on most Amazon sites. You can see it at Amazon UK and Amazon US, to name just a few.

After I published it, I did my first ever guest post at Colleen Chesebro ~ The Fairy Whisperer’s blog. It was fun to write the guest post. Here it is. Hope you like it. 🙂

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Welcome to my author spotlight guest posts where I introduce you to independent authors from various genres from around the globe. You never know. You might meet your new favorite author!

My guest today is Khor Hui-Min. We met through Twitter and share a love of poetry. I always marvel at how our blogs allow us to connect with people from all over the world. Khor lives in Malaysia and her blog is called Project Prose. She also writes about meditation, and the environment, all things dear to my heart.

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Poet & Author, Khor Hui-Min

Khor Hui Min thinks of life as a continuous learning process and believes in a healthy balance between work and life. She is a freelance writer, who is active in publishing poems and short stories. She moonlights as a face painter for the Malaysian Nature Society and also enjoys creating and carving pottery. She has a Bachelor of Computer Science and Master of Science (Environmental Science). You can read more of her writing at https://projectprose.wordpress.com/ and https://huiminskitchen.wordpress.com/

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Meet Khor Hui-Min:

I have always loved to write. In my student days, I would write perhaps one poem a year. But in 2014, I attended a writing workshop by author Zen Cho at the Cooler Lumpur Festival, entitled ‘Inspiration, Influence, and Interaction’. I wrote a poem as an assignment at the end of the workshop.

Something in me changed. I decided that I would start a writing blog, and post something once a week. It turned out that when I sat down to write, what invariable came out was poetry. I wrote poetry every week. To find inspiration to keep the momentum going, I searched on the Internet for writing prompts, and those have been very helpful, even if the prompt was just a single word. I would challenge myself to think of something to write, anything. What came out was, of course, poetry.

I also liked to read about stories of myths, legends, and magic finding them very interesting. They are a source of inspiration to me too. That was how I came across Colleen’s blog, which I follow with interest. I also follow her on Twitter.

“I told myself that at the rate I’m going, in a few years’ time, I would have enough material to produce a book.”

In 2017, I took a leap of faith – I quit my editorial job in the educational publishing industry to become a self-employed writer. For a few months, busy with my new direction, I forgot about my intention to publish. But in April 2018, as the dust settled, my dream of publishing surfaced again. It just so happened that a friend in a writers group had published with Kindle in Amazon.com, so I asked her how to do it, and she patiently answered all my questions.

So, I published on 27 April 2018. The book has a collection of 53 poems, mainly focusing on nature and life. Nature has always been the No.1 inspiration for me, and it is reflected in my poems and articles. I also write poems on life.

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I have always wondered why there are so many unhappy poems out there – people write poetry on heartbreak, general unhappiness, and as an outlet to vent their frustration and dissatisfaction. I, on the other hand, like to write happy, positive and uplifting poetry. There is so much negativity in the world. Why add to it?

Instead, I want to bring more light and joy into the world instead. When people are down, they can pick up my book, flip to a random page, and read something that makes them feel better.

Here is a poem about forest folk from the book, which I hope you will like.

MOON DANCE

Dancing, twirling, in the moonlight
Skirts of petals, shimmering bright
Light as air; fluttering, gliding
Pleasant laughter like bells, tinkling
Twirling round in a ring, so wide
Graceful and lively, side by side
Dancing and singing, with delight
Pretty elves and nymphs, what a sight
Springtime homage to mother moon
So alluring; makes young hearts swoon

© Khor Hui Min, 20 May 2015

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Here’s how to find Khor Hui-Min:

Facebook at Khor Hui Min

Twitter at @MinKhor

Blogs: projectprose.wordpress.com and huiminskitchen.wordpress.com

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Poems of Nature & Life is available in paperback and Kindle ebook format from Amazon.

You can see the paperback version here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1980944490

And you can see the ebook version here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CPBLK63

bluebird morning Thanks for stopping by to meet Khor Hui-Min. I look forward to reviewing her debut poetry novel, “Poems of Nature & Life.” ❤

 

via #Fairies, #Myths, & #Magic 2018 AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT GUEST POSTS: “Poems of Nature & Life,” by Khor Hui-Min

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Feeling appreciated

I have been working since 2000. Contrary to my coursemates who applied for prestigious jobs in the cities once they graduated, I decided to work as a research assistant in the university and do my Master of Science (Environmental Science) at the same time.

It has been 17 years since then, and I have worked for all manner of employers, from tiny three-person companies to sizeable international ones, but somehow, the interest wanes after one to two years, and boredom sets in as I do the same thing over and over again, year after year. In my last job, in my fourth year, I tried to apply for a transfer to another department to have a change of environment and job scope, but my application was unsuccessful. I then did the next best thing. I set out on my own, choosing to become self-employed.

Of course, this does not mean self-employment is for everybody, nor do I recommend it for anyone who is having issues with boredom at work. Self-employment is a major life-changing decision, and can only be made after careful consideration of all important aspects of one’s life, and everybody’s life is unique and different.

There are many pros and cons in relation to being employed by a company, but I feel the top reason why employees stay on even though they are unhappy is perceived job security. Sometimes, the only reason they bother to wake up and go to the office is to get a pay cheque at the end of the month. It has become a mechanical action for countless people every day – to get up, dress up, and show up. And that is how they pass their time, year after year, decade after decade, till retirement. The retirement age in Malaysia used to be 55. Now, it is 60. Maybe 10 year later, as the workforce ages progressively and costs of living rises steadily, the retirement age might be raised to 65. Who knows?

However, in these trying times of economic uncertainty, I sometimes feel that job security is somewhat of an illusion. Terms like ‘retrenchment’ and ‘VSS’ are becoming increasingly common. Even though staff do not want to think about it, it is there, lurking in the dark corners of their mind.

In times like these, it would be useful to pick up a new skill, or learn a new trade, or even take a hobby to the next level. Perhaps, the new experience might spark passion in a previously undiscovered area, and lead to a new direction, and hopefully more interesting times ahead. Let’s face it. How many people will not get bored working in the same job for 10 to 30 years?

Another area of concern for me in full-time employment is the lack of appreciation from employers. Since staff are paid for their time and effort, it is easy to take them for granted, treating them as if they owe the company, simply because they are paid to work. It is like deja vu. In large organisations, sometimes staff are like hundreds of cows or sheep. The top management simply thinks of their workers en masse, and not as individuals with unique aspirations, interests and needs.

Strangely, I have found appreciation in other areas, all of which do not concern full-time employment. Since a young age, I have always had an interest in volunteer work, serving the community and environmental conservation and protection. It is the organisations and individuals in this area that are the most appreciative of my contributions.

In 2008, the Selangor Branch of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) gave me a branch award in recognition of my contributions as a volunteer.

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About 10 years later, our MNS Selangor Branch chairperson Pasu brought back a certificate of appreciation from the recent national AGM in Langkawi for me. It was a pleasant surprise that an award was presented to me at an AGM that I did not attend. 😀

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Even though I will not likely be awarded any long-service awards by any organisations in the future, these NGO awards will always remind me that I have contributed meaningfully to worthy causes and people have taken note of my contributions. And that is how I would like to be remembered.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey to Shangri-La

I have been publishing articles in bodymindsoul magazine in the last few issues. In Vol.13, an article on my most memorable adventure to date in Shangri-La county, Yunnan, China was published. You can find it from page 38 to 42 in the magazine.

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Shangri-La county in autumn time is cold and beautiful, especially in the Mount Meili National Park. We hiked 24km uphill in one day to reach our lodging for the night. After 2 days, we hiked 20km back out. It was the hardest physical challenge for me, which made it all the more memorable.

 

Life’s an illusion

Haiku Horizons is at lucky number 99 this week. Well, at least from the Chinese point of view – the number 9 represents longevity. This means Haiku Horizons is celebrating double longevity. 🙂 So, I hope Haiku Horizons will be around for a long time to come.

This week’s word prompt is ‘real’, which made me think about the perceived reality of life. Life is only as good as we think it is, isn’t it?

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Life’s an illusion

Life’s an illusion
What is real and what is not?
Be true to yourself

Khor Hui Min
14 January 2016

 

 

#mindfulmonday: Mindfulness in yoga

My journey in yoga started on 26 September 2006. It was an important day, that day I signed up at a small yoga centre with my friend in Sea Park, because prior to that, I had never been seriously interested in fitness and exercise. Walking was something I did to get from point A to point B. Running was something foreign to me. Swimming was a hobby, and the closest thing to an interest in exercise in my whole existence at the time.

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Most people started playing sports rather early in life – from childhood, to their teenage years, and their 20s. I heard from quite a number of people that they kind of get sidetracked after that. Exercise sort of took a back seat to work, social and family life, and relaxation time.

I was 30 when I started yoga. No spring chicken, but optimistic and hopeful nonetheless. It is never too late to try yoga. Of course, I had trouble touching my toes and all that in the beginning, but I refused to give up. After weeks and months, my body got used to it, and I began to enjoy the practice.

Yoga is a Personal Journey

There is presently a wide selection of classes available for students of various levels and capabilities. Hatha yoga, widely available in yoga centres throughout Malaysia, offers basic yoga training for all levels. Ashtanga is a series of graceful yoga postures synchronised with the breath. Some practice prajna paramita, where the focus is on the breath – practising various breathing techniques and meditation. There is also mindfulness yoga, which I have not had the good fortune to experience yet.

Yoga means different things to different people. To some, yoga is a challenge to be conquered – to master difficult poses such as inversions and arm balances. To others, yoga in a hot room is great to work up a sweat to detox the body after a whole day of sitting in a cold air-conditioned office. To a few, yoga is a form of stress relief and therapy for aches and pains from past injuries, as well as sore back and limbs.

To me, yoga is a personal journey, and each of our journeys is special and unique. Due to anatomy, not everyone can master the same poses, and not everyone can master all poses. Certain people will find certain poses easier than others. Some may be flexible, so they can be good at poses that require bending, stretching and binding. Others may possess good upper body strength, hence they can be good in arm balances.

Tulipmania @ Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Mindfulness in Yoga

To me, mindfulness is an important aspect of yoga. We usually begin our yoga practice with sitting meditation – it is a centering exercise, where we focus on the breath to help us calm down, empty our minds of all thoughts and concentrate on the present. We take deep breaths, fill our lungs with oxygen to energise our body, and we settle down into the class. Our heartbeat slows to a relaxed rate. Then, there is only the here and now in the yoga class for an hour.

Over the years, I have cultivated mindfulness during the yoga class as well. I focus on the yoga instructor, his or her voice and demonstrations, and I focus on my own posture, the poses and the sensation in my limbs and body. To balance, I clear my mind of thoughts and gaze softly at a single static point in front of me in the room. In this way, I cultivate a semi-meditative state throughout the one-hour class. In doing so, I not only build strength and flexibility, have a good stretch and a good workout, but I also come out of the class with a relaxed and calm mind.

Most people think of meditation as a static practice, where people traditionally sit quietly on the ground or on a chair, or even lie down. However, there is also a form of meditation known as dynamic meditation, where there is movement involved. For example, even walking can be a form of dynamic meditation. In this dynamic form of practice, the movement is frequently repetitive or rhythmic, and so I have brought the essence of this idea into my yoga practice. I find BodyBalance most conducive for this, where the class incorporates repetitive Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates moves.

Tulipmania @ Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Yoga for Life

To me, yoga is something that can be practised by people of all ages throughout their lives, according to individual abilities. Just do what is suitable and holistic, rather than force ourselves to achieve impressive poses through pain and suffering. At the end of the practice, we should feel good – our body should feel good, and we should feel good about ourselves. 🙂

Further Reading

1. Bring More Mindfulness onto the Mat
2. Hatha Yoga
3. Ashtanga Yoga
4. Prajna Paramita
5. Yoga & Mindfulness for Kids

 

 

 

Finding Balance

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This week’s word prompt by Haiku Horizons is ‘balance’. So, I thought about striking a balance in life. Nowadays, people lead really busy lives, chasing all manner of deadlines and goals, day after day. How do most of them find a balance between personal life and work?

 

Finding Balance

Making sense of life
How do we strike a balance?
In the here and now

Khor Hui Min
7 December 2015

 

 

 

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #72 Life & Give

After being MIA from Ronovan’s Haiku Challenge for a few weeks, I’m finally back at haiku writing again. I just missed the deadline, I think, but I shall write my haiku anyway. 😉 The two word prompts are ‘life’ and ‘give’.

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Challenge of Life

What challenge endured
What would you and I but give
For a life well lived

Khor Hui Min
24 November 2015

Gift of Life

The weekend has come a-knocking. Hope y’all will have time for de-stressing and relaxing. Here’s a poem I just wrote whimsically, all the while smiling. Hope it brightens up your day, wherever you may be. 🙂

Wildflowers bloom in the spring at Ximen Arch beach. Photo taken on 12 March 2015.
Wildflowers blooming in the springtime at Ximen Arch beach, northern coast of Taiwan. Photo taken on 12 March 2015.

Gift of Life

The here and the now; gifts of life they are
Nothing else comes close; nothing else on par

A human creation, elaborate is time
Endless ticking, no reason or rhyme

But life, a precious gift beyond compare
Among the stars in the universe rare

Like the jewels in the heavens, our gift
Although its passing is delicate, swift

Our dear gift to use; each and every one
Infinite possibilities; a tonne

Don’t be timid; go and stretch your limits
Chart your future, far as the stars permit

Every father, mother, sister, brother
Dream big; let’s find solutions together

Khor Hui Min
10 July 2015

Let’s take a moment to remember all the little gifts that we are grateful for, like the sun shining in the sky, the rain quenching our lands of their thirst, our thoughtful and loving family, our understanding and considerate friends, and a healthy body and agile mind… 🙂

IF poem by Rudyard Kipling

Today, I’m featuring an inspiration poem by Rudyard Kipling, the famed British Nobel laureate. Written in in 1895, it was first published in Rewards and Fairies in 1910.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was one of the most popular writers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in England. He wrote novels, short stories and poems.

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Lake Batur, a scenic lake next to Mount Batur (Bali)

IF

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.