March 28, 2023

The Pace of Soul Work (with Edwina Yeow)

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Episode 69 

In this episode I speak with soul guide and companion Edwina Yeow of Anam Cara Ministries about pace in the interior journey.

We share our own experiences of the struggle to slow down, breaking through the compartmentalisation between sacred and secular, and soaking in God's love instead of striving to prove ourselves.

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If you are unfamiliar with Ignatian Contemplation (which is mentioned in this episode) you can find out more here.

(00:00:00) - Introduction
(00:05:26) - Becoming Spiritual Companions
(00:11:15) - Why We Struggle to Slow Down
(00:22:17) - Going Fast to Avoid the Truth of Our Scripts
(00:41:53) - Beyond Compartmentalising Sacred vs Secular
(00:50:25) - Soaking in God's Love vs Proving Ourselves
(01:00:01) - Soul Spa: Relaxing with God
(01:20:28) - PRAXIS
(01:22:24) - Conclusion
Available here.


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Hello again, dear listeners. Before I go further about today's episode, I just want to give a shout-out to those of you who have left me a review for this podcast. I want to tell you I am so, so grateful. So, shout out to. Pujowidianto – I hope I pronounced your name correctly – for your review that you just left recently, saying: thank you so much, Ann. Your podcast has been a continuous source of encouragement and hope for me.

You know, those few short lines really are such an encouragement to me as well. Podcasting – you know, because I can't get feedback, you know, generally from knowing what it is that you guys think, how things have landed. Whenever I do receive some kind of feedback – whether you're telling me personally, you know – you're reaching out to me personally, or you're sharing a review – I'm just so, so grateful.

And I just want to say it really helps me if you share your reviews and your thoughts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Or you can go to my website. So, that's an open invitation to all of you. If you haven't yet left a review before, please consider doing one. I appreciate that so much.

So, today I have with me Edwina Yeow of Anam Cara Ministries. She's been a guest on this podcast before in episode 21; Safe Spaces for Becoming an episode 22; Being a Safe Space for Ourselves. Now, Edwina is a very experienced soul guide, spiritual director. She works with this whole process of becoming more present to ourselves in a very embodied manner.

I love working with Edwina. I love being ministered to by Edwina. I love working in collaboration with Edwina because so much of the work that she does – and even her own personal journey – echoes the reality of the messiness and the beauty of making the interior journey. So, I have her in conversation today talking about the pace of soul work.

I was really looking forward to having someone to have a conversation with, on this topic for this podcast because sometimes it's just great to have a different voice a different perspective on the same topic, right.

And so that you can have a more rounded perspective about the interior journey. So, in this episode, Edwina and I talk about how pace is so important. It's something that a lot of people overlook – that this interior journey usually takes a lot longer than we think.

And it also needs us to somehow slow down, but that's something that we all struggle with. One of the things we talk about in this conversation is what keeps us – like, you know, me and her –from slowing down to the pace that we intuit and know in our beings we need to go at. Make sure to listen to the end to hear a bit more about Soul Spa. Right, Soul Spa – like a spa for the soul, which is one of Edwina's very unique offerings for those who are living in Singapore if you wish to have kind of like a bite sized one day experience of being facilitated into stillness and silence and slowing down. You'd want to listen to the end and hear us talk about Soul Spa. So, without further ado, I welcome you into this conversation space.

Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host, Ann Yong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax, and listen on to Becoming Me. 

Ann: Hello Edwina, and thank you so much for coming back on Becoming Me. I mean, I know this – we were saying earlier, this feels a bit funny because we have conversations all the time and so often I wish I could have captured parts of that conversation for my podcast, you know? And I just kept feeling like it's about time.

It's about time I get you back, you know, for a recording, for Becoming Me. Because so many of the things that we talk about, are things I wish to share with my listeners. I mean, well, anyone who is interested in the interior journey and soul work, right? So yeah, and that's why I gave you that rather impromptu invitation last weekend. Thank you for being game.

Edwina: Thank you very much for the invitation. I mean, it's always – it's really a privilege for me to be here. I mean, you know that as long as we are talking in general conversation, everything flows. But, you know, it never occurs to me that anything that we speak of in private conversation might be something that other people might also be thinking about or considering. So, I am very honoured that you invited me back twice. So, yes. 

Ann: Well, yes. Yeah. 

 So, I think we both agreed that we're going to let the Holy Spirit like take the lead on this. There are many times, I think in conversation, of course in private conversation, we go a lot deeper, and a lot more specific. 

But I think a lot of times I feel that, you know – both you and I, I mean, we journey with other people and sometimes I forget, you know, that how I feel on the inside can be very different from how people feel about me from the outside. You know what I'm talking about? 

Edwina: Mm-hmm, yeah. 

Ann: It's like I know you would laugh, you know, most – I don't know. I'm sure your clients or your directees, I mean, they come to you because they feel like, oh, Edwina can help me. And I know when I first got to know you – okay, don't snicker. Okay, don't snort too loud. 

Edwina: I'm about to, yeah. Yeah. 

Ann: You know, when I see you in action, right? Like, last time, you know, we facilitate the session. It’s just like, wow, it's so nice to just come and enter, you know, when you're facilitating something. You’re so like, you know, "with it”. So, like – yeah.

Edwina: Like the swan, proverbial swan – 

Ann: I know right?

Edwina: – on the surface.

Ann: On the water. On the water? 

Edwina: Of the water.

Ann: And so of course, when the Lord decided in His own time – and that was of course, over a course of many years, we weren't like friends, but weren't really friends for many years.

I mean, we knew each other. I know we appreciated each other. But we weren't in each other's lives very much, right? And so, but it came a point, I remembered, when the dynamics kind of shifted. I realized like, okay, it's not just Edwina, the soul guide, director, facilitator – whatever. But you know, Edwina as a person – I feel like I'm called to address you as a person.

And I still remember the very first time asking you for permission to speak frankly with you. Remember that?

Edwina: But of course.

Ann: I was rather – I remember feeling a little bit scared. I’m like, oh, that's something I really wish to say to Edwina, I can feel the Holy Spirit stirring in me. But we have never done this before.

Edwina: Yes, yes.

Ann: You know? And I got to say, I was privileged and honoured at your openness and willingness to trust me. And your humility, really. I mean, you're older than me. You are wiser than me.

Edwina: Say that again.

Ann: No, yeah, yeah. Okay, we can – which part? The wiser than me part? Did you hear me say wiser or all you heard is "older than me”. Come on, I mean more experienced, you know, in so many ways. But you allowed me to come alongside and even challenge you, for several years. Well, okay – maybe now has been many years. I guess, it continues. But the first few years especially, I remembered it was very significant for me – both scary and significant. Because one, I think I was quite in incredulous that I might have something to offer you. 

I don't think I consciously put you on a pedestal before. Maybe I did, I don't know. But you know, when you know somebody only from afar, like, you know, from what they do, and you go like, wow, okay. You know, it's an honour to be a colleague, to be in this space, same space as you. But then when you get to know that person as a human being, of course, it's a different thing altogether, right? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And it's always a privilege for me. And I'm sure you feel the same way for someone else to allow us to enter into that space – to be with them, to see them honestly, to speak truth into their lives.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: But I think for me it was doubly significant because you weren't a stranger, but you were someone that I looked up to, that I have been on the receiving end of ministry from and really benefited from. 

And yeah. And I think the Lord showed me – maybe both of us, in the years since then, that really just as there are many parts of us – we talk about different parts of us. And I think the different parts of us are at different points of the journey, right. And it's so interesting to me that this journey is so rich and that now there can be reciprocity and mutuality in my friendship with you. 

Because if the whole time was just, I could only receive from you and you didn't allow me to come alongside in that sense, and to even flip the dynamics now and then – which we did. 

Edwina: Yeah.

Ann: Yeah, we wouldn't have had this friendship. And this friendship is not just – I always say I don't have many "social friends”. Okay, that's quite a bit of – 

Edwina: I like that – social friends.

Ann: Yeah, I really don't really have many – so, I don't really have social friends. I mean, one of the things that I sometimes think is very weird about me – you know, Henry, my husband Henry – Henry also thinks that it's like, not about me, but he feels that about himself sometimes. It's the people that we can really connect with, I think are people that we can really go deep with. 

And there are very few people that we can really go deep with because, you know, I mean, you have to feel that both parties are ready to go into that space. So, yes. So, thank you really for journeying with me. And I want to talk today about the pace of soul work.

I think you and I, we both know this journey from the perspective of a pilgrim. But we also know this journey from the perspective of someone who comes alongside other people and maybe offers some help, some guidance, some assistance and leadership. Yeah, I think in different ways. Sometimes, it's like coming alongside accompaniment, leadership as well, because there are areas in which we are saying, you know, this is something God has given me to offer.

And that can be helpful to you. And what you and I offer are very different, of course. And which is really probably why we can be good companions because you need what I have, and I need what you have.

Edwina: Oh, the economy of grace. 

 Yes, and one of the things I was thinking about regarding pace, okay – I keep coming back to this pace, P A C E; the pace of grace. Because I think we all struggle with pace. So, first as pilgrims, you and I, God made us very different, and we operate at very different pace. I think we agree on that.

Edwina: Oh, yes.

Ann: But both of us have a problem with our pace, right? Like we have issues with our pace. Yes. Okay, I know you usually feel that you're not fast enough. right. Incredibly, I actually also feel simultaneously that I'm too fast and not fast enough?  

Edwina: Yes. I think that is – that is more accurate.

Ann: Okay. Yes.

Edwina: Because I also I feel that – 

Ann: – feel that way, right? 

Edwina: Yes. Yeah. So, yes.

Ann: Okay. Simultaneously, yeah. But our natural pace is very different – as in the pace that God has given us, the way we work – very different.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: But in spite of that, we both feel at the same time, that we are not fast enough and also that we're moving too fast, right? 

Edwina: Yes. 

Ann: Okay. Okay, do you want me to go first, or do you want to share first as to the aspect of the part of not feeling that you're fast enough? 

Edwina: Well, I think you can. Why don't you just start first? I'll just pick up, because as you know, I take longer to arrive. 

Ann: Yes. Well, I’ve been – I don't know. I’ve been wondering for many years now, or so, like, what's that source of that anxiety? I often – I think that feeling that I'm not fast enough comes from a place of anxiety, right? Like, I don't know that I need to somehow, you know, get it done faster or do faster. 

At this point, intellectually, I honestly do not know why. As in, I cannot give you a reason why, because sometimes I feel like God asks me, like – God sometimes asks me like, why are you in such a rush? Or why are we in such a rush? Like, him and me, you know? 

And yes. I don't know. When He asks me that, I'm like, I know I don't need to be. Yeah, I know He's with me. I know He holds me. But there is just that deep seated habit, habitual sense, maybe. I have been rushed and hurried most of my life, or all my life, I would say – by the pace of society, I think, and the smaller microcosms of that, including family, even – I mean, even community. Even I would say, like the normal places that you would think should be conducive for slowing down, like church actually, is not slow enough. 

I mean, you know, it hurries – my time working in church was very hurried as well. We were always rushing to get things done. So, I think it's this sense that I should be hurrying. It's just like this base line script, like, you know? Yeah, that you should hurry up, hurry up, you know? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Do it faster. But it makes me anxious, and it gets the better of me. Even though I have been so much more intentional already over the last – I don't know how many years that I know when I'm hurrying at that pace, not only is it not healthy, I am not able to actually move gracefully with grace, you know? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Right, I know that, but I still succumb. Yeah, so often.

Edwina: Yeah. Oh, no, no. I mean, what you say is it reflects exactly what I have been through myself. And I think that's also how it has been for us growing up in Singapore, in this culture, the education system. For me also that was quite a strong family ethic; that you don't waste time, you know? And that, you know, you have these, adages, like – you know, an idle mind is the devil's workshop – you know, that kind of thing. 

 So, you know, every moment needs to be very intentionally spent. And anything that looks like idleness, which could simply have been pausing to think, or to reflect or to see how that actually sits, or, you know, how I feel about whatever is happening – which is actually intentional, was also seen as not, being purposefully – like that time not being purposefully spent, you know? 

 And so, I learned also from a very young age to pick it up – that I always felt like I needed to pick up my pace and to not take too much time to think – that it was wrong not to go at a pace which I would feel easeful somehow. 

Ann: Mm-hmm. 

Edwina: Because everybody else was going at a much faster pace than I was. And so, I always felt that it was not right. There was something wrong with me. And I was not fast enough, I was not smart enough, I was not – whatever. I was just lacking. And so, I needed to pick up my pace. 

 And so, when I look back, I think most of my life, that's been some kind of low-grade anxiety about not fast enough, good enough, and efficient enough, productive enough. Ooh, I sound – I sound like, like a productivity campaign, Ann. But it's been like that.

Ann: Mm-hmm. 

Edwina: And, well – and I suppose, it became normal for me to feel in this way. And so, I kept filling my days. And so, even to today, if I'm not careful, I still find myself putting things in – 

Ann: Yes.

Edwina: – which I think are, no, this is restful when it's actually not. And then I find that I'm running from one thing to another. Yeah.

Ann: It's funny how hard it is to trust our bodies, right? Like to trust the design, and I think the pace that God has given us. And I say that while bearing in mind that for everyone is different. Like for both you and me and it's different. And yet, at the same time, so funny how it's so universal. I'm sure with the people that you journey with, and you walk with, this is something that is quite universal. Do you find that to be true?

Edwina: We always have an eye open to what somebody else is doing and, we are always comparing. That seems to be quite a general thing for us.

Ann: Mm-hmm. I think – okay, my observation – so now I'm moving to, not just our struggle, but now moving to, let's say my observation in general, from other people, both people that I'm journeying with specifically, as well as people that are just in my life or I can see, you know? 

Edwina: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Ann: I think everyone tends to be moving at too fast a pace for life and much less for soul work. But one of the things that varies is the degree of awareness. Some people are completely not aware yet, that the pace that they're moving in is probably even destructive to their health or their relationships, or, you know, like I said that, even before we talk about interior journeying. 

But then there are people who have become aware, and they don't like it, but they can't slow down, right? They can't see how they can slow down. Yeah, or maybe I should have said before – between the two, there's another layer where some people, they begin to be aware, maybe they're going too fast, but they don't yet desire to slow down. They don't feel that yet, that desire yet, to slow down or the need. They’re not convinced yet of the need to slow down. 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Yeah. Right? So, then after that you have – oh, wait, no, sorry, go ahead.

Edwina: No, it's because I suppose, for this group of people who know or who sense that they are going at too fast a pace, but because they're still able to manage all the balls that they're juggling are still in the air, they're still catching them.

They don't think that anything needs fixing. And maybe if ain't broke, don't fix it, you know? So, yeah, maybe. 

Ann: But there's a slope, right? I mean, it's like, you know, they go from there to the juggling gets more frantic. Like it's getting more frantic, it's getting a bit harder to keep all the ball in the air. But then there's usually denial – denial that things are getting harder. It's okay. I can – I mean, I speak from my experience as well. 

Edwina: It's like somehow, I should be able to do it. Like even if I begin to feel that I'm not coping as well, then that strong sense maybe from shame as well, that, you know, like, I can't drop it. I shouldn't. I should be able to do this. Yes, So, I try harder to keep all the balls in the air. Yes, yes. I think that the expectation and the corresponding feelings of shame, not good enough, the question of self-worth, et cetera – that comes into play when I cannot keep doing what I have always been doing. Or what I think others expect me to, and what I expect myself to be able to. 

Yes. Then there's something wrong with me. I just need to try harder. And, if I could do it before, there's no reason why I can't do it now. 

Ann: Yeah. You know, I think it's that fear of being exposed – that there is something wrong with me. Because if I can't continue this, if I can't keep this up, then there is something wrong with me. So, I want to prove that there's nothing wrong with me so I must keep going. 

Yes. Yet at the same time, you know, deep in the subconscious somewhere, it's the – I mean, whether they've become aware of it or not, is that I'm not good enough, right? I'm not smart enough. Not good enough, not fast enough. 

Oh, it's so tiring. Even just saying these words, hearing them out loud. I don't know. They have an effect on me. It's actually having an effect on my body. Starting to feel a bit of a tension in my neck. 

Edwina: Yes, yes. I see – here.

Ann: My shoulder, you know? Like – ah, my shoulder.

Edwina: Yes, because we know this, we've lived it, we are familiar with this. We know what it feels like and if we care to listen to it, we know how it sits in our bodies and we become aware of how we actually carry this around with us. 

Edwina: But sometimes that – especially I suppose, if we are in situations where we cannot afford to do that, where perhaps, there are demands on our time and our energy and our resources that we have no control over. 

Because there's a sickness in the family, because there's been death, there's been, you know, loss of job, livelihood – things like that. And so, the survival stakes are so high. There is no time to tend to this, to pay attention to see what actually I need to thrive. 

I can't go there if I'm in survival mode. It's just about survival. Don’t worry about thriving. Let’s just, let's just survive. So, I suppose there is also, what I've come to realize and to respect very deeply, is that for each person, the degree of awareness that they have and where they're at, and the capacity that they have to tend to the feelings – to gauge the pace that which are going, to see whether or not I can stop this or drop this ball or just pull back. 

It really does reflect, where they are and all – whatever they need to do at that point is right for that point of their journey. So, for a person who is in a survival kind of state, because things are just falling apart, because of financial difficulties or illness, et cetera – and they cannot afford to stop to tend to – I really need a break. I really need that. You know, for someone to come in and support me. 

Even though that is really the time where they do need it, perhaps. All they need to be able to see at that point is, yes, I am really tired. And that is that one step that they need to take in that whole journey of cutting back the pace, and it may be 25,000 steps before you get to the point where you really do take that time to rest. 

It's still nonetheless a step. And no step is so small that it's unimportant. And God walks with us in this, in this way, I suppose. Until of course, you know, everything sort of breaks down, then whether we like it or not, we have to stop. 

Ann: That happens too sometimes, right. And sometimes that's what we need to happen in our life – an interruption that we cannot stop.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Before we realize that actually, you know, in a strange way all along, we could stop.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Life would still somehow get on without us.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Even a lot of that sense of not being able to slow down – I know it feels really, really real. Because I've been there as well. And sometimes the circumstances are really, I mean like with young children or like you said, you have someone; caring for a sick parent. But yet you find that there actually is always a way. But we can't see it when we are in that mode. When we are just striving to survive. 

In a very strange way, we don't see the one who actually holds us. We don't have to survive by our own strength, but we are, you know, kind of like – really, we are running ourself to the ground. 

Yes. Because I have seen also, people whose seasons have shifted, and it is no longer true that there's a fire that they need to fight. 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Like they have all the, you know, materially – or everything. They have that opportunity. But from their perspective, they somehow can still find things that need them to fix, to do. And so, from their perspective, there's still no time. There’s still no time to tend to themselves, you know?  So, there's something interior about this reality as well. It’s not just the external circumstances.

Edwina: No. Because whatever it is, it does take a lot – a great deal of courage to stop and to look at what's driving me. Or to look at what's so uncomfortable that I need to sometimes distract myself by busying myself because it is so painful, or it's so uncomfortable, or it's so foreign. It's easier not to go there.

Ann: Yes, yes. It’s actually – that's exactly it. I’m glad you went there. I mean, I was hoping that we'll come to this point, at some point in this conversation. Because I don't think it's just sometimes. I think for a lot of us, probably the main reason why we can't slowdown is we're running away from something. 

So, while there's a part of us that may realize that we're getting tired and maybe even gradually realizing I can't keep this up like this forever. And still, the alternative is probably too scary. What would happen if I slowed down? In the first instance, I'll say, I think what would it mean? What would it mean if I slowed down?  So, you know, I work with my clients on scripts, right? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Like, what is the script in your life? and there are so many scripts, you know? I'm the one that I will always keep my word because I've said out to it. I will die before I fail to keep my word, you know?  

Or I'm the responsible one, right? I will always be responsible. I will always deliver. Ann so, these scripts kind of like, you know, when I say what does it mean? It's like, oh, if I take a pause now or I drop something because I've overcommitted – if I need to cancel on somebody, or I need to withdraw my commitment from something I had promised, what does it say about me? 

You know, for me also, it's like the sense of, oh no, this means that I'm irresponsible. That this means that I'm not trustworthy and dependable. And I can't deal with – I literally cannot deal with being seen that way, even if it's my imagination of that's how people will see me. Maybe that's really how they will see me. 

But I can't deal with being seen that way. I can't deal with maybe me seeing myself that way – that I couldn't fulfil my promises. You know, so I sometimes just, even at that hurdle, I can't cross that hurdle already. So, it's not an option to stop or to slow down. 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And ironically when we are in this mode of hurrying and rushing, we tend to – it's a kind of a compulsive thing, right. We tend to actually take on even more.

Edwina: Yes, yes.

Ann: We take on even more, but actually what we need is to do less. We take on even more. And then because we can never quit or we can never allow ourselves to kind of be irresponsible or to break our promises or whatever that is, this is like a never-ending cycle until we burn out breakdown – which we both have experienced in our own journeys.

Edwina: Totally. Totally. I just want to put in a little appendix on this one because, I will never forget that, in that one season of my life when it was really difficult and I could not for whatever reason, right – so many reasons why I could not move away from doing these things that kept me stuck in a place that was not good for my health. It wasn't blessing the people around me. It wasn't healthy. But I couldn't because I was so caught in this cycle of doing. 

And it was your husband, Henry, who said to me, or who said to you, and you told it to me that, "oh, you know, Edwina can't stop because she cannot disappoint herself. He said that she cannot bear to disappoint herself. And I was so taken aback by that when I first heard it. 

And I went, and I sat with it a while. I said, what do you mean I can't afford to disappoint myself. Of course not. Of course not. But you know, truth is truth. And when I had the grace to sit with it, I realized how true that was, you know? And I could not – I could not disappoint myself because to do less than what I was doing would mean I was not a good person. 

I was not a loving friend, or I wasn't a good daughter. I wasn't – whatever these scripts that you were talking about, they were all there and they were all laid out before me in technicolour. Yes, this is why I'm not dropping the ice ball. I'm not pulling back. 

So it's, yes, it is how others will see me, but as much, and if not more, it is how I see myself. And the whole sense was, I already am not a good a-b-c – like a good, yeah – I was not able to excel in the professional sphere. Or I couldn't even complete my entry into religious life – was a very short stint and I had to exit, you know? So, in my mind it was like, you fail in this, you fail in this, and you fail in that. 

Surely, as a person you can be this much. And then, I think to myself, actually, you mean even this I can't do, you know? But if to be a good person means I have to break my back and at the cost of my health and, you know, mental wellbeing or whatever it might be. 

It was so hard for me to arrive at the point where I could see that that is not being real, realistic, and it's not even true. I buy into this lie that to be a good daughter, it has to look like this. To be a good friend, I have to be like this. And they're also rigid. And to fail even in one of these aspects is to fail the whole lot. And to say that therefore, if out of 25 boxes, I don't tick one. 

Ann: And not only that! I think there is that sense – I think especially with you, that unless you feel like you've completely tired yourself out and given every ounce of what you can give, somehow, it's not enough, right. So, it's, it's –

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Yeah.

Edwina: Sadly. I think somebody did say that, you know, it is a lie that unless you go to bed completely exhausted and unable to move, you have not done a decent day's work, or you have not lived a good life. And how sad if that were true.

Ann: Yes. Yeah. So, you were saying that you had to cross that hurdle of not being able to disappoint yourself. Because what would it mean, right, if yes, you did slow down and I know from the side, whenever we look at someone else, we think it just doesn't make sense at all because you're killing yourself. 

Like, I mean, how is this going to help anyone, right, if you're running yourself to the ground and you're unhappy and stressed. But I guess that's part of it; part of the nature of this interior journey is realizing how trapped we are and how much in need of a saviour we are, really.

I think we mentioned this. Yes, we talked about this before. So, for me, I had to learn over and over again just how much I did rely on myself. Although cognitive, intellectually, you know, I know it's God – you know, I should depend on God. I know I can't save myself. But when you look at what's actually happening, the actual practice, I realize that actually I'm trying to save myself. Or I can't relinquish control. 

And it's so humbling to feel utterly powerless and even relinquishing control when you really want to. Even when I was convinced this is what I must be able to do in order to move forward, and still, I find I can't even do that, right – I can't even do that. Like, I can only wait. I have to desire with all my heart. 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: But then I can only wait – wait for the Lord to say it is time. And then to wait for the Lord to come in His own way and to decide how I will relinquish that control. Sometimes, I will also want to choose, you know, like, please do it in a way that wouldn't hurt so much. 

Like, Lord, I don't want this, but if you could, do it some other way, you know? In a way that doesn't make me have to, let's say, lose this relationship or this friendship or whatnot. But really, I find the moment, the deepest grace, I think really comes when we have no conditions anymore. 

We don't give God conditions anymore. And you know, it's just, oh, however You want it. Whenever, you know – all I can do is wait. And I know without the lens of faith or without the context of faith, this sounds like a very fatalistic, passive, completely victim kind of mindset. 

Edwina: Mm-hmm. It sounds like.

Ann: And really, without God in the picture, it is, it is. But that's the incredible, I don't know, it's like difference, you know? 

We say that in God's kingdom everything is upside down. But really you have to put Him into the picture. With him in the picture, everything is upside down and it is the moments of greatest defeat when we finally realized that. For me, I always remember, I literally had to say out loud, "I suck". And that was so hard for me because my whole life I want to run away from that. I don't want to suck. I need to be good. I need to be intelligent and great so that people will want to be my friend so that people will like me, wow. 

Edwina: And I suppose that's why you can really flourish and continue to grow in that because you have gone all the way down and you have allowed this dying, you know? 

And I think that's really powerful because from the side, as I get to witness what's happening in your life and the flourishing that is happening at so many different levels, it's only happening because you went all the way down. But there are not many of us who can go there unless we're shoved off the cliff.  We find ourselves there, you know, then as you see, it is by grace that we get to the place. 

Ann: Yeah.

Edwina: And it is by grace that we find that we don't have to hustle, we don't have to strive, we don't have to earn the love that is already ever and always ours – which is the deep cry of anyone's soul. 

To me this is how I have experienced it. That am I lovable? Am I loved? Am I worthy of love? And this is the cry. And this is why we hustle. This is why we try so hard, right? And the whole time I'm crying out and I'm looking at family, friends, loved ones, husband, wife, children, society, my bosses. 

But the cry is the same. It's just, I suppose it takes our entire lives for us to slowly be able to hear or orientate ourselves to the one who can truly answer this question. And not in a magical superstitious kind of way, which is how I started out with, you know. And I realized as you were sharing how you started out on the journey and recognizing that you were striving to save yourself in the sense, or to get ahead. 

So, I was striving except that I didn't have the sense of "I can do this"; more the sense of I'm really not sure that I can, but I have to anyway. So, that's even harder. So, in some sense – but my prayers to God when I was much younger has – when I look back, it has a flavour of superstition and magic. 

Oh, God will, yeah, you know? He will turn my paper, my F9 into an A1 or something like that.

Ann: Right. Yeah.

Edwina: And God writing straight on crooked lines, had a magical quality to it. Which was not real. Which was a very early, early in the faith evolution, right. An early stage in the evolution of faith.

Ann: Yes, yes.

Edwina: And a necessary one, you know? So, when I look back and I look at it with quite a lot of affection. Oh, this is how it was, you know? 

But, we are called to evolve and to grow in our relationship with God, to find that He truly is, as you say, He is the one who can – who actually redeems and saves and gives back to us our true face, you know? 

Ann: Yes.

Edwina: We keep trying to look into the mirrors of family, society and whatever, you know. But until, and unless we find this, reflected back to us – and God does this in so many different ways for so many different people, not necessarily in church. 

 Mm-hmm. Oh, absolutely. 

Edwina: Yeah.

Ann: I've found more and more, I don't know why we – maybe psychologically, you know, it helps us to have compartments, right – and categories. I mean, I know, I mean, having studied psychology, that that is true. That’s why, for example, we even have stereotypes. It's a way for our brain to categorize things, you know? It's faster, right? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And they're helpful. I think it's helpful to have distinctions; to know where kind of the lines are, but at the same time, reality is usually so not neat. And there's, like – so, for example, the division between the sacred and the secular. 

You know, I speak boldly and maybe it will upset some people by saying this, but more and more I find that more and more people who can only go deeper with God by being less involved in church. 

You know, because certain personas are engaged when they are very involved in church. This is especially true for people who maybe have grown up in that kind of environment or have been in that kind of environment for a long time. Not necessarily true for people who have just come in or wasn't so involved.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: But for those for whom they've already built-up certain personas and their scripts – the scripts that are binding them have a lot to do with the persona in church as well; what it means to be religious, what it means to be pious, to be a good Christian. They strive. I mean, I come from that line as well, right. I think we both do.

Edwina: We both do! 

Ann: We both do. Yes, we both do! We both do. And so, in a way, it's hard to see God anew when you are still keeping up with all the same, you know – your scripts are rewarding you. And the script happen to be the good religious script – you know, the good religious girl, kind of a script, you know?

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And you can't find the true face of God within that. There’s something that has to happen away or outside of it. And then you realize that God is so much bigger, He doesn't just show up in church.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: He doesn't just show up when I'm doing religious prayerful things. And then the sacred and the secular begin to blur, in the sense that you realize that there is so much of the worldliness in the sense of relying on ourself, operating from our scripts; letting our ego lead in an unhealthy way. I want to say in an unhealthy way, not because there's a healthy sense of an ego. 

But all that is so prevalent in religious spaces, in church spaces –locally and globally, you know? And I think to seek Christ who is truth, is to be willing to let Him reveal the truth to us everywhere – in my own life, in my family history – oh, oh, that's so painful, right.

But like, in my own life, in my own family history, in my community, in my country, in my religion, in the community, in my leaders – whether they are, you know, in all sense; whether it's at work, in my religious institution. My political leaders. I mean, I think at some point, I don't know whether, we realized that to say, I want to grow in authenticity, I want to grow in wholeness – the only way is to allow truth into our life. And we don't get to pick and choose –  

Edwina: Yes, and it's in all.

Ann: – how truth comes.

Edwina: Yeah.

Ann: Yes, yes. We cannot say, I only want truth in this area, and I do not want to see the truth in these other areas of my life. To do that is then to, I guess in a sense, we end up in some kind of maintenance mode. 

That's when often, we find ourselves stuck again. Like, you know, you plateau. Maybe there's been growth at a certain point, and then after that you plateau. You can't go on because, well, God doesn't just want a foothold in our lives. I mean, you know, it starts from there. But ultimately, it's our whole life; inside and out, every dimension and aspect. And He doesn't just want us to trust Him, in one pocket of our lives. 

Edwina: Yeah, but I also think that, well, at least for me – I don't know whether this is also true for others, but it certainly was true for me – up to very recently, that the relationship with God and the desiring truth in this relationship with God at the personal, the very personal level – me and God kind of thing – was all that I could manage, or I felt that I had capacity for. 

What was happening in Rwanda, what was happening, you know, world wars or, you know, whatever else was going on – I had no capacity to go there or to even think about. Because the minute I went to something like, you know, the wars in the Middle East, which never stop, you know. And if I go there, then immediately, there would be a sense of guilt that I'm not doing enough to do something or even to pray for the people who are suffering elsewhere. You know what I mean?
Ann: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Edwina: And therefore, you know what kind of Christian – so, it always came back to what kind of a poor excuse for a Christian am I if I don't have this universal connection to all the world and all creation and to be able to handle all the intrapersonal, interpersonal, universal dimensions.

Ann: Oh my. Like, seriously? 

Edwina: Yeah.

Ann: I mean, can you? – I think what you just described is one reason why I think I often feel like need move faster.

Edwina: Yes! 

Ann: Because there's so many dimensions and so many things that I have to do. How can I cover them if I don't move faster, right. And then even in terms of inner work, I mean, or even in terms of like prayer, like all just the sheer number of ways that you can pray, or that you've been taught that you ought to pray. 

How do you begin to fit that in? How do you choose which one to do first and then not feel guilty that you left that other thing out? You know? So, I think this sense of pace, of the rush – the hurry comes also from a sense of overwhelm. I feel very overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. 

And I think when the interior journey became more intentional, and I experienced that I suck kind of, you know – that I am actually powerless. I realized that God often asks me, did I ask you to do that, Ann? You know, these many things that I feel so bad about not doing. 

Edwina: Yes, exactly.

Ann: Not doing enough good. Because we keep hearing how important it is to – you know, service is important, mission is important. Taking care of others. Helping others. All these good works which are praiseworthy and good. But the sheer number of them that I don't do, that I can't do just makes me feel so guilty. 

And you were saying like, you know, that I'm not a good person, not a good Christian. When I can hear God – and so that's the thing, right – I must first slow down enough or to be still enough to have that moment with God. He always says like, well, did I ask you to do that? 

And the answer is usually no. Then He's like, the next thing He says is so, so what? What's the problem here?  

Edwina: Exactly.

Ann: He doesn't have a problem. I have the problem. And because I don't trust, ultimately, it's almost like I don't trust him enough. If I still feel there's a problem, even though He has not asked me to do this, and I feel that I need to do it, then where's the problem? I need a problem somewhere, you know? Again, there's some kind of knot in me that needs to be released, you know? That I can't let go until I don't know – again, who am I trying to prove this to? 

 Yes. It always comes back to that, right? That there are these.

Ann: Yeah.

Edwina: And I keep discovering that I have more and more hoops inside me that I unconsciously or subconsciously believe I have to jump through, or you know, the power has to be this high that anything less is really not – it won't count, you know? 

And I remember, I remember my dear confessor, to whom I said, when he asked me; so, what do you bring today? And I said, you know, it's the same thing. And he said, do you want, you want different things every time you come? No, it's alright to have the same one that you're working on, right? So, I said, yes, but you know, it's this and this – okay. 

This is one of my pet, pet, pet sins. You know, it's the spiritual envy that I look at others around me and I see, you know, how close they are to God, et cetera, et cetera. You know, they do all these great, great work, okay? And they reach so many people. They touch so many people. And he says, so you – so you're unhappy with how God has made you and what He's asking. Is He asking you to do like A, B and C? 

Ann: Yeah.

Edwina: And I said, yes. In my head, I know that. In my head, I know that.

Ann: Yeah.

Edwina: He might not. But somewhere inside, there is a sense that I should and therefore, I lack, and so I envy. And then I go for confession. I feel guilty about feeling envious. I tell you, I'm a basket case. So, and he tells me, you know – when I ask him for what is my penance – you go and sit, and you ask Jesus to look at you and you look at Jesus. Don’t do anything else, just, just go do that. Yeah. And, and just say to Jesus, "love me", Oh, oh. You know, and he refuses to give me a penance for it.

Ann: Oh yeah.

Edwina: And there is no – 

Ann: Because that's the – 

Edwina: Yes. Because that would only prove that it was a sin.

Ann: Yes. That’s wonderful.

Edwina: And he says, no, you need to sow.

Ann: Yeah. It's not.

Edwina: You need to know that you – God loves you as you are. And so, you don't have to look at other people and to match what other people do. And then maybe, you'll be able to ask Him, "so what is it that you want me to do?". And maybe the answer is simply, you sit here and let Me love you. Can you do that?

Ann: Yeah.

Edwina: I said, no, I want to go and do; save the world somewhere, you know? But no, sometimes it's harder to sit down and let my God love me.

Ann: Yeah. And yet that's the source of everything, right? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Again, another paradox in the faith or interior journey; until we can really just sit still and soak in more and more and more and more and more of God's love, actually, continually without ending, we cannot continue to grow into who we were created to be. 

We won't be able to discover the unique story of our lives, which includes the unique ways that we are created to serve, to do, right? Because the doing – we're so preoccupied with the doing. I want to be able to do great things, right? I admire people who do great things. I want to be able to do great things. 

But it cannot start from there. And I think so many people, ourselves, but also, I see so many people that I journey with, that's where they want to start. Because that's what we see on the outside – what people do. But we don't see that it's the roots that really matter. And the roots is – our roots need to learn to just receive love without doing anything, you know? 

And I find that sometimes when we tell people, in a sense or we offer, invite them to consider this, then they also like, huh, how do you do that? Right? How do you soak in love? They have something to say about that for – I mean, because so much of your work also is to help people to be, not to do. 

Edwina: Yes. So, in recent years, I found that one of the best ways is really to allow – because we live so much of our lives in our minds, and we are constantly thinking and trying to figure things out. So, even this question of how do I soak? Mm, it's a head question. We desire to tap into the spirit, but we are going in through the head. 

So, one way that I find, for myself and for some of the people that I walk with, what we find helpful is when we can allow the brain to rest. The brain can ask the question, how do I soak? And then do it. So, we allow the sensing body to open us to the sensations and to pick up the information and the answers that will lead us to the emotions and the spiritual understanding. 

That will give us an answer, without necessarily having to go through the cognitive thinking first. The cognition will come last. Yes, it will come because everything needs to come together. But the brain will ask the question and then we tune into the body, and then I find that the somatic practices really help.

So, even if it is something like, you know, just hold a glass of water, feel the weight and just be very, being very present to it. Feel the cold of the glass, you know, and look at the clarity or the cloudiness of whatever the drink is that you're holding. And taking a sip, feeling, you know – just allowing the senses to just receive the information, the input that's coming in helps us to just slow down, drop from the thinking mind into the sensing body. 

And it's a gentle way of coming back down into the whole of me; to remember that I'm not just a walking mind, but I am a whole soul, which includes body, mind, and spirit, you know? So, it's not the work of the mind to find the answer. It is the work of our whole selves, our whole being to arrive at the answer, you know?  

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Edwina: And to be open to what even drinking, taking a sip of water, feeling it go down – how does that feel? You know, what is the refreshment that I receive. And if this leads me to a sense of yeah, oh. Look, I'm feeling more calm, more settled. I’m more me. 

And perhaps this is the first step towards opening to the presence of God, who comes, like living water, you know? And who is present to us in the everyday. And something as simple as that. So, a practice of not just mindfulness, but it's a soulful presence. Presence-ing to myself; how I'm feeling as I interact with my world and looking around me and seeing what is here and really soaking in like – I love that I am in this space.

The whiteness of the walls, the cleanness of the furnishings, it's restful. And I am aware that I am feeling restful, and this is what restfulness feels like. And then, perhaps it might lead me spontaneously to a prayer that says, oh, He leads me beside restful waters. He leads me. And that could be the one word that drops into my whole presencing, which is actually prayer, which is communion – not just with God, who is someone out there up in the cloud, some third, fourth, three, sixth, seventh, ninth dimension – but something as close as breath, as internal, as part of the fabric of my own being, who's present around me and between me and the other. I begin to really experience then, God in all things.

Ann: Mm-hmm. You know, as you're speaking this whole thing, it made me think of, Soul Spa, which actually I also wanted to talk about a bit in this conversation because I wanted to let my listeners know about this offering that you have sometimes. I know you're still also working out how to do this. And I like to, I mean, I'm happy that I played a small part in the creation of Soul Spa, the idea, the earlier, the seeding kind of thing. 

Edwina: I think you play a huge part in this because it would not have taken the shape that it did if you hadn't – yeah, come alongside me and offered these amazing ideas. "How about this and how about that?”. And was like, oh, oh, wow.

Ann: No, first by sending my husband and then myself to do like, days of recollection and I'm asking you to just – Edwina, can you just, you know, bring some – I know you used the words – I said props. I said, I know that you work with different things. You know, bring something. And then, you know, the silent kind of retreats that I'm used to, more the Ignatian kind, right? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: You know, you just go, and then you meet with your director once a day.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And for a long season in my life, that was the kind of retreats I went for regularly. Then at some point, I realized I needed something different, right. Less – I don't know – in a sense, less structure. Although it's kind of funny because Ignatian retreats are already, you can say there's like hardly any structure. 

It's just maybe some scripture to pray. But I think I needed, I wanted a bit of help in just connecting more with myself. And at the time, I didn't have the language or the understanding. Now I do. I think I wanted to connect more with all of me; my body, and with nature. 

And I think that on hindsight now, a lot of times, even when I really began to reap the benefits in silence, you know – for Ignatian retreats and all that – I was still often living in my mind, yeah. Because I'm a very cerebral person. And I think I was yearning for a more embodied kind of silent retreat – if that makes sense.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And instinctively, I know I've got very good intuition with this kind of thing. It always leads me to the resources that I need or the kind of thing that I need. And at one point I remember thinking, yeah, Edwina's the kind – Edwina can do it. I don't know what is it that she does, but I know what I need is something that Edwina does.

You know, like, yeah. I don't need direction, so to speak. I don't really need, you know, guidance. I, I need some spark, some ideas, some – give me some things to work, some, some possibilities. 

Edwina: Something to play with.

Ann: You can choose not to. Yeah, something to play with. But which I can choose how I want to play with and whether I want to play with because that was a big part of my journey, right? 

Learning I have choice, I have agency. I can say no, and I can listen to my inner child and do I want to do. Sorry, I just want to – this is a bit of a segue, but you know, my very first silent retreat was so torturous. Oh my God. Like, really torturous. But it was only much, much, much later that I can appreciate more of why that was.

Because I had so many "should's" and "ought's". I told myself, going in that I will do – I will be the best retreatant. I'll be very obedient. I will not do anything that my director does not give me to read. You know, so it's like, you know – like, going into like silence, right? So, I won't read anything that she hasn't given me to read. 

And there was morning mass every day, right? 6.00AM or 6.30AM. 

Edwina: And you would be there? 

Ann: To me, I did – so, in the end I didn't because the director actually did say, you know, you don't see what is it that the Lord leads you – 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: – to want to do, kind of thing.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And I – I was a bit sceptical because even though she said that I was like, really? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: You mean – I mean, there's mass just at my doorstep. Like, you mean I can "don't go"?

Edwina: Don't go. Yes.

Ann: Like how would that work? And I'm on retreat. Like, it's so accessible. It's just all the – I was like, no, cannot, cannot, cannot, cannot, right? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: But as it turns out, my body was actually very tired, so I needed to sleep. But I slept fitfully during the night, and I slept a lot during the day. So, a big part of me felt like, you know, I came away to sleep. But it did turn out to be a very fruitful retreat. 

But it was so torturous because there was all the scripts were screaming at me. Because of the silence there was nothing else to distract me. And I felt like I needed to do this properly. And even praying Ignatian contemplation for the longest time, it was so hard because I felt I needed to do it properly. 

And you know– how can, its prayer, how can you, you know, use imagination? What if the imagination does something improper? I mean, that's me. 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: It's like, I must imagine properly, appropriately, respectfully, reverently. And then when people tell me like, you know, yeah. You know, so you immerse yourself in the scene, in the gospel. You know, what I get hung up with? I need to know more about how people dress them.

Edwina: What they were eating.

Ann: I need to know, I need to – yes! What kind of food they were eating. Or else how do I populate my imagination with these details? You know, and so I can never even really enter into prayer because my mind is like, oh, no, no, no, no.

I need to know this first and this first. And then even if I start to go into imagination and then something happens in my imagination, immediately I'm like, oh, what does this mean? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: You know, like, is this, okay? Oh, I was so unfree, you know? But thankfully, I mean, that changed.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: But even after that change, I remember there was once, I just felt like I just want to go somewhere where there's plenty of nature – far different from Singapore; has to be very different. So, for that retreat, I remember I can't just go to Southeast Asia. I need that space to feel different enough and just be with God with no agenda and nothing, you know. That was a turning, I think towards, not reading, not learning, not – even imagination is too much work. There was a time I just wanted to do nothing with God. That was a yearning to stillness, you know?  

And then from there, later on, it was like, you know, I want to explore, get to know myself a little more in this process. How does play come into it? And yeah. And that's where you came in, you know, like, I mean, because you have so many delightful little – you have too many delightful things really in your arsenal, just so many amazing props. 

To the listeners who are listening to this, it's like one of the retreats that I asked Edwina to kind of help me set up, you know, there were these Russian dolls and then there were the kind of fit one into the other. 

Edwina: The nesting dolls.

Ann: And the nest – yeah, the nesting dolls. And then, my inner child had the best time with them.

I remember, I chose, I took them all out. I didn't even wait for your instructions. I remember you gave me instruction and envelope to read the next morning, and I'm like, okay, fine. But you know, I already had the dolls, so I took them all out. All of them sit around the little candle, like a bonfire. 

And then the next morning I decided I'll bring one of them to breakfast. It's like, I brought, and she sat next to me on my table watching me have breakfast. And after that I brought her onto the swings. You know, we sat on the swing together. It's just, I don't know. Yeah. It was fun.

And then when Henry –when I sent Henry to you, I remember. And he said, oh, he needs something. And I was like, yes, go and do a day of recollection with Edwina. And you gave him, I know there was a deck of cards, right? Oh, he couldn't stop talking about the cards when he came back. Like, like what? How God spoke to him –

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: – through those picture cards, you know? And yeah. Yeah, so can you – so, so tell us a bit about this Soul Spa where, you know – I kind of like, kind of painted the flavour as to what it's like, you know? 

Edwina: Yeah.

Ann: And also, I must – since I helped you dream this up – I must also, I wanted to say this. 

I felt that what was missing in the landscape of retreats, right now, this kind of thing, is something that is shorter. Because so many people just struggle to take five days, seven days away, right. And that there's a place for that. And I think we do need those longer breaks. 

Edwina: Mm-hmm.

Ann: But it is also possible when we have learned to enter – this is my own experience – when we have learned how to enter into silence, when we have learned how to enter into stillness, we don't need that much time, actually. Sometimes, we just need a pocket of time. And we need something to help facilitate us to go into silence. 

Yeah. And so, I think that's how Soul Spa far came about, right? This, idea of a 24-hour pocket. So, yeah. Can you tell us a bit more about that?  

Edwina: So, actually the whole idea for Soul Spa, it did come about because of our conversations and because you gave me the opportunity to play and to offer these things to you as a retreatant, and to Henry, you know – and to one or two others who were of a similar bent of this kind of stage of the journey. And I thought, oh, so why? Why don't I explore the possibility of offering something like this for people who really don't have so much time? 

But who do desire to enter into stillness, to rest, and to play and to get in touch, truly with the whole of themselves and to God who is within, without and between, you know? To really come back into presence. So, this is what Soul Spa is for. So, it is 24 hours from 4:00 PM on a Friday to 4:00 PM on a Saturday. 

And in these 24 hours, basically you are invited to allow your delight to lead you. Yeah. Because what we will – what you will find would be, a whole range of things to spark your curiosity. So, it could be little toys, little cards. It could be scripture verses, it could be, a singing bowl. 

It could be – you know, it could be all sorts of things. But basically, you will be let loose into kind of a wonderland where you can pick and choose what it is – 

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Edwina: – that you might want to just play with, or that might inspire you to just drop from the thinking mind, more into your sensing body. 

And so, to allow yourself to really come back into connection with yourself, with others, and with God who is within, without in between. So, it is, a time where you are free to arrange and to do whatever you need to do, as you like. The only things that are sort of kind of fixed, but even then – are the mealtimes. 

So, we give you a sense of when the mealtimes are. And if you feel like it, you can appear at the set meal times, and if not, you can come in earlier or later and you can also, you know, warm it up yourself and things like that. So, it is a time where you are invited to really allow yourself to just go where delight and your inner prompting leads you; to take up something or not, as you like. Or to start with something and then leave it halfway because no, this doesn't work for me. And to try something else. 

Could also be a 24 hours where you do nothing but sleep. And that is also perfectly, perfectly fine because that might be actually what you need. And a lot of this, the things that will be offered, well, they are curated so that it would address, one of the seven types of rest that we all need. 

And this is taken from, Susan Dalton Smith's, book of sacred rest. We are recognizing that it's not just sleep that is restful, but we need social rest. We need, you know, physical rest – you so many different kinds of rest. So, yes. So, these are the things that will be provided for you to see what it is that you feel drawn to, and that might give you a clue as to what kind of rest you actually need. 

Ann: No, actually it's delightful. You know, ideally, I think something like Soul Spa, I would love it if it was a longer, over a longer period of time, like even just a full weekend.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: I mean, but because I'm also on the backend, I've helped you design this, create this and think about how to run this. I know it's just – it's impossible because you are a one-woman team. And basically, it's just you and one other person that helps you, you know, voluntarily.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And the sheer amount of labour and materials to cut – to create this space.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And then to, you know, to run it in the background – is just not. So, yeah. But it's so delightful. Do you have one coming up in end April? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Is it full yet? Or do you still have?

Edwina: No, I do have one coming up on the 21st to 22nd of April. And there are three spaces left because I only – the capacity is eight for each Soul Spa, so that I can also be present – 

Ann: Yeah, so it's very intimate.

Edwina: – to them.

Ann: Yes.

Edwina: To see to whatever is needed. And if people also need to speak because things are coming up for them and they just need to check in so that they can – the retreat can flow for them. I will be available to also do on the spot accompaniment, where needed.

Ann: Yes, I think Soul spa, both your regular soul tending sessions – but I think in particular, something like Soul Spa is often where I really recommend my clients be when they all need that. We all need help in getting into stillness, being more in touch with stillness and slowing down. And we need to titrate this because we are going at like high speed, right? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: And learning to slow down, sometimes we need to titrate it. And I found that something like Soul Spa is a nice thing. You know, they don't get thrown into the deep end of just silence and with nothing. There is enough holding, but the holding is very, it's kind of like, it's not, it's not – what do you call it? 

It's not intrusive, it's not prescriptive. There’s a lot of allowing, suggestions, invitations, a lot of options of which you can partake of many or none.

Yes. And personally, I feel takes a lot of – it takes a lot of skill to be able to facilitate and curate from, you know? It's like there's this there, but you don't feel like it's in your face. 

You know how we say, if we really go to those, really – if you really go to those really high-class like, you know, spas or like resorts, like the really expensive kind, you know how like the service is impeccable?

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: But it's always like, it's not – never in your face. There’s someone there when you need them, but never in the way.

Edwina: It's discreet.

Ann: It's – yes, it's discrete. It takes a lot of skill and work, I think, do that. But I appreciate like the kind of retreat that Soul Spa is – it's like, I like it for that. There’s bounty, there's permission, there's some holding. You don't feel like you're just on your own.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: So, if you need some kind of scaffolding, it's there. But there's also – and I remember when we were dreaming this up, in a sense, talking about it, it's like I felt like this is also – it's not so much about talking, although a lot of us also, a lot of people come with the need to talk.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: But this space is more to enter into stillness to connect with themselves. And then if they need a little bit of connection, you're there for that. But it's really so that they can go back and connect with themselves and with nature and with God.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: I'm so glad we could finally talk about Soul Spa –

Edwina: Oh, thank you.

Ann: – on Becoming Me. I really want to share this with my listeners. And those of my listeners who are in Singapore. You know, I really encourage you to check out Edwina’s website because now she also has a website. The last time when she was on the show, on the podcast, she didn't have a website yet. It's I will put that link also in the show notes for this episode.

But go to the website. You can find out more about Edwina's work about her soul tending sessions, but also when she does have events like Soul Spa, or Labyrinth Walks – the Labrinth retreat is coming up. You can find that on her website under events as well. 

So, yeah, there might be – this episode is supposed to go out next week, which is first week – no, last week of March. 

Edwina: Yes. March.

Ann: Yes. So, so with any luck, there might still be a couple of, spaces left and, I hope someone will, you know – will find out about the Soul Spa from my podcast and check it out.

Edwina: I hope so. Happy to welcome you.

Ann: Thank you so much. Well, I think we are at time for today. You know, it's gone – the conversation has flowed around the topic of pace, really. Like we have been talking about not being able to slow down; this challenge of slowing down and needing help to slow down. So, I think it's nice to kind of like close off this conversation with Soul Spa – with a resource that can help those of us who are going at high speed and maybe wish to pause or enter into stillness and find that we need some help.

Really, check out Soul Spa. And pray for Soul Spa because I really hope that God will give some way for this special offering to continue.

Edwina: I pray, so. Thank you.

Ann: Yes.

Edwina: Thank you for the opportunity –

Ann: Thank you so much for being here.

Edwina: – to share with you and to be here with you today.

Ann: Always. You’re always welcome. I hope to have you back again someday, sometime. I mean, it's nice also, to be able to let – to have different, you know, different perspectives on the same kind of journey that we are on.

Edwina: Yes, yes. I always find it really rich.

Ann: I think next time, yes. And I think next time or one of the future times I would also like to share with my listeners, the difference between my kind of work and your kind of work within the interior journey and why both kinds are needed, like in order to have clarity and momentum and direction. I think that's needed, but at the same time, to be able to do so without being in control.

Edwina: Mm-hmm.

Ann: You see, that's the thing, right? Because usually we want clarity, momentum –we want direction.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: But usually the way – the ways that we all know how to do that is by taking control.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: So, what – how do we gain clarity, momentum and direction in our life towards, you know, where we are meant to go. But without seizing control. What is it like to exercise agency with surrender? 

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: What is it like to really to move forward, but by being carried by grace. That, that's the – that's kind of like that sweet spot. That’s the intangible thing that's so hard to explain to people when they are still relatively new to this journey.

And by new, I don't mean by length of time. I think there are people who have been on the interior journey for very long, but they haven't hit their stride because they don't get this; that they need this blend, this – this paradoxical blend. You know, and I fortuitously, I think the Lord has given both of us the complimentary kind of work, service gifts.

You know, you help people with the – to enter into that space of the surrender and the listening, to deepen their ability to listen, to surrender. I give them that, you know – the tools that they need to see, like the clarity –

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: – the direction.

Edwina: Yes.

Ann: Because or else, you can hold and hold, and you still don't know where you're going. And I've seen that happen as well.

Edwina: Yes, that is a very exciting proposition. So, I look forward to that.

Ann: Yes. So, so the next time I hope that my listeners also will go like, oh, that's an episode I would like to listen to. So, thank you again.

Edwina: Thank you.

Ann: And I'll talk to you again real soon.

Edwina: Talk to you soon. Thank you.

So, for this episode, instead of giving you the usual three praxis prompts, I really just want to invite you to do one prompt and that's Two: to Ponder – on what it is that is making it difficult for you to slow down to the pace at which your soul wants to go. 

For every one of us, we have different kinds of scripts or programming that makes it hard for us to slow down. So, Edwina and I shared a bit about what keeps us or what makes it difficult for us to slow down. I invite you to identify what is that programming or that script that is at the core of making it difficult for you. 

Even when you know and believe and are convinced that you need to slow down. And you can experience that resistance. You want to stop, or you want to slow down, but you still can’t. What might your script be? Or what might your programming be that is interfering with you? And then I invite you really, to just sit with that, with the Lord. 

Or if you're not a spiritual, religious person specifically, sit with that with yourself. You know and be kind first. Be compassionate. Because clearly, something is holding you in bondage. It's not that you don't want to slow down. And then be curious as to how you might begin to take a next step to address that programming or that script that's making it so difficult for you to slow down for your soul. 

[01:15:34] CONCLUSION
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays off the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direct. No matter how small those steps might be, and no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin the world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive.

Don't forget to visit my website at and to subscribe to my newsletter as well as to this podcast until the next episode. Happy becoming.

Edwina YeowProfile Photo

Edwina Yeow

Soul Guide & Founder

Edwina has been guiding, companioning and encouraging spiritual seekers for over 25 years. She has a Masters of Arts (Theological Studies) from Broken Bay Institute, Australia, a Masters of Social Science (Counseling) from Edith Cowan University, Australia, and is a certified Labyrinth Facilitator from Veriditas. Edwina also trained in retreat giving and spiritual direction at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre, Wales.

Edwina is the founder of Anam Cara Ministries and a sought-after soul guide in Singapore. She is known for her unique, interdisciplinary, whole-person approach to soul tending which helps people of different ages and backgrounds to enter the holy ground within and encounter Christ.