Waking up at 5.30am – Getting the habit right this week

SO, I went to bed early- really early, at 9.30pm. Kudos to me. But, I unfortunately didn’t manage to get up at 5.30am.

Or should I say ‘fortunately’ with the optimism that trying yet again would only increase my chances in accomplishing my goal?

A student of mine had told me earlier this week that he wakes up at 4.30am after heading to bed early. I had already been struggling to wake up earlier than 7 for a long time and when I heard him tell me that nurturing such a habit was a success for him, I told myself that it was time to stop throwing excuses in.

Nurturing a habit. Yes, nothing comes automatically. It takes time to incorporate a new habit into life. Besides, during anxious moments, humans are prone to falling back to old habits- whether good or bad, to aid in their procrastination.

The experts ask to give it 30 days before it becomes a habit. During this period, you can expect to face many setbacks but its about pulling through it and having a clear purpose as to why you want to form that habit.

Reasons for why I was unable to get up early the past couple of attempts:

  1. I had woken up too early in the morning (e.g. 1.30am or 3.30am). Unable to sleep, I rolled about, read a book and by the time I got to sleep and the 5.30am alarm rang, I told myself, “No no no….you DESERVE to sleep longer.”
  2. I had gone to bed too late.
  3. The silence and darkness outside the window, was uncomfortable and without a clear purpose as to what to do, I saw no use in forcing myself to stay awake. Back to Sleep, it was!
  4. I did not want to face the rest of the day as it was going to be filled with instances I’m not exactly looking forward to, so I crawled back into my comforter.
  5. I was shivering in the cold most of the night and thought to myself, “There is no way I am waking up until I am properly warmed up.” So, I put on my socks and headed straight back to sleep.

Getting the Purposes Straight and Clear as to why I want to get up at 5.30am the next week:


Whether I feel like or not, I want to have at least 10 minutes of silence, communicating with God. God seems so distant to me now and I’m confused about so many elements of my faith. Complaining or Thanksgiving- whatever it is, I just want to speak to him in the silence.


I really need to catch up on reading. Time is too short and my frazzled mind is constantly preoccupied with work throughout the day.

Even when I am done with work and return home, I feel the need to have family interaction time and by the time I get to bed, I’m too tired and would rather look at unimportant information on the phone when my eyes are half-closing. So, I really need at least 3o minutes of reading time in the morning to satisfy my intellectual thirst, before I proceed with the rest of the day.


By the time I achieve my dream of writing a novel,  the cows are not just going to come home but they’re going to be intelligent enough to rule the planet. Somehow, I’m just never in the ‘right mind’ to write (a sophisticated way of rephrasing procrastination).

I have sudden compulsions to express myself and I do write during those moments. Still, so many of my writings are unfinished and resting lethargically on my desktop. I aim to at least write 300 words every morning to develop the plot for one of my novels. That’s not too challenging of a goal.

10 minutes of prayer. 30 minutes of reading. 30 minutes of writing.

All made possible when I kick the sheets away with the strong three purposes flashing brightly in my mind even as I am shrouded in the morning darkness. Let’s hope that I make this habit happen successfully this week!

How about you? Do you intend to form any new habits this week?

Featured Image: Pinterest, Daune | Cottage in the Oaks









Changing the Purpose of this Blog

More than two years ago, I had started a blog called ‘thedailycognitive’ which was focused on poetry, daily reflections and literary musings about food. For close to more than a year, I had not written in it.

2015 and 2016 were trying years during which I experienced an even more violent turbulence in my mind which severely affected all my relationships, as I was forced to requestion my understanding of God and hide behind a lie with regards to my job. I was forced to make changes to my identity as well. ( I still am)

At the end of 2016, my sister and I decided to start (Art)iculate Culture, a medium whereby which we could travel the whole of the world through Art forms. Setting a time frame from all that travel was supposed to be a fuel to power us ahead.

However, eventually, we found that taking just one week to travel a country through Art was too short. Forcing ourselves to leave one country and head to the next during the following week, took away the peace one would usually get from travel. A stagnation in writing occured as we tried figuring out what to do next.

In the meanwhile, this year, I had a compulsion to get back to thedailycognitive and start writing my daily artistic reflections.However, I have been locked out of my account and no measure seems to get me back into it. 

Instead of letting the rules for (Art)iculate Culture control me, I’m going to simply use this blog for Poetry and Reflections too.

With regards to travel, we shall head to a country when the mood is right.

Thanks for everyone’s support 🙂


Featured Image: ‘Poetry’ by David Goehring


Château Gütsch : The Mysterious Winter Castle [Switzerland]

In another three days, it will be exactly three days since my solo backpacking trip to Switzerland. I had told the friends I made there, that I would complete a novel in 2016 and that I would write a detailed account of my trip to Europe.

Sometimes, promises melt under the heat of the sun, out of your grip, even if you insist on holding onto them.

Since (Art)iculate Culture is currently exploring Switzerland, I thought I would share a personal account about this beautiful hotel I stumbled upon whilst in Lucerne. Back then, I did not even know that it was a hotel. It certainly looked like a castle and I left it to remain as a castle, as per my heart’s interest.

To the story, now.

During my trip to Switzerland, I was staying with a lovely friend in Bern for sometime. Since I had bought the Swiss Rail pass to use for four days, and my friend was at work for half the day, I decided to make a half-day trip to  Lucerne to quickly take a look at and inhale the scent of the city.

I was told that people usually stroll around the lake at Lucerne or visit museums there. When I got out of the railway station though, I stared into the wintry distance, past the lake and beyond. My eyes were glued to a white castle that was settled on elevated ground. “I don’t know what I do here at Lucerne but I just have to get there,” was all I could think of.

So, I walked towards the castle. It glimmered in the already white atmosphere surrounding it. .Something about it was really charming. It was not alluring because it looked sophisticated but rather, it was captivating because it held a mystery within it that I wanted to unravel. When I reached the base of the hill, I found a pathway that led up to he place.

Since I like to over-dramatise ordinary situations, I took in a deep breath and mumbled to myself, “This is it. You’re going to climb this mountain slowly and you’ll soon reach that stunning building.”

Obviously, it was no mountain. It was a relaxing walk and would have been easier if I was not lugging a large backpack over my shoulders.  Still, it was an adventure for me simply because it was my first time being in a winter wonderland and I really did not know what to expect. I passed two people along the way, on my trip up. I even punched a mini snowman half-way up, feeling guilty for letting it suffer an embarrassing death by my puny wrist.

On my way up:


This is how it looked like as I was walking towards the castle, its red flag soaring high up there in the cold air. It reminded me of a sense of liberation I felt when I reached the lit opening at the peak of Table Mountain in Cape Town.


When you take a walk behind the castle, you can get a view of Lucerne from above.


Bored of the view, I wondered where the pathway at the back of the castle would lead me to. It seemed like it opened up into the woods and I was curious. Every time I took a couple of steps, my mind would urge me onwards. “Just a couple more steps. It’s alright even if you’re freezingggg. Go deeper into the woods.”


Just being around the barren trees and the vegetation specific only to the Winter climate, enthralled me. As I spun around on the same spot in the empty forest, I recorded a video to capture the tone of excitement and confusion ringing through my voice. Since I’m not really the brave and physically strong type, it was an accomplishment to me to have made it to this forest. It felt like all the paintings I had found peace with over the years, had now taken physical form around me.

When I soon reached a pile of logs, I sensed company. There seemed to be a wooden cabin in the distance too.  Naturally,  I obeyed my instincts to turn around and descend the hill, back to the city and hopefully, to the nearest lavatory!

Here’s a picture of how the castle (hotel) looks when it is warmer. Most of Château Gütsch’s tourism advertorial photos are taken with the pristine white hotel nestled comfortably amidst the lush shades of green up in the hill.


I really miss the Winter. Writing this post has brought me the closest I could ever be to the season as I wipe off beads of sweat from my forehead and turn the air conditioner on in humid Singapore.

Featured Image: I do not own rights to it.

Berchtold was no Saint ! [Switzerland]

Hello everyone,

We’re travelling Switzerland the first week of 2017 and it’s Berchtold’s Day there today.

As I was browsing through my new Diary searching for public holidays in different countries, I saw that the 2nd of January was Saint Berchtold’s Day and I wondered who Saint Berchtold was.

Turns out that he is no Saint! There are several theories of who Berchtold was.

  • Berchtold V, Duke of Zähringen.

There is a legend spelling out how Berchtold had founded the city of Bern and named it after a bear since it was the first animal which he had encountered in a hunt and killed.  Why is the  day celebrated in January? Berchtold’s trip was believe to have taken place in that month.

  • Berchtold of Engelberg (a Swiss German Benedictine monk)

The verb “berchten” means “to walk around, asking for food” in this context.

Berchtold’s Day is commonly celebrated in the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland like Bern, Zürich and others. In these cantons, the day has the status of a public holiday and a non-working day.


The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the 26 member states of the Swiss Confederation. Three of the cantons are ‘half cantons’ (Appenzell, Basel and Unterwalden). Each canton has its own constitution.


The picture above shows the division of Basel in 1833. The man representing the aristocratic-conservative bourgeois on the left  from Basel-City, draws a smaller slice than the man who represents the liberal peasant from Basel-Country.


Featured Image from: http://venusvalentino.com.au

One Week Vacation before 2017

Firstly, Happy New Year Everyone! We should really find a reason to celebrate every new month and week too.

Every morning upon getting up, there is no doubt that I feel a dire need to give thanks for so many factors. My eyes light up when all my senses are alive, my body parts work fine and I can breathe well. I’m so happy that I’m alive this 2017.

Anyway, (Art)iculate Culture has not explored any country this week since much time has been spent reflecting on 2016.

Nevertheless, tomorrow, we will be heading to Switzerland!


Featured Image: Streets of Zurich in Feb 2016