Leaves of Our Earth & Beyond Your Puffy Eyes by PEK with Teh Chee Mun

“Leaves of Our Earth”
Hand-painted ceramics
by Peng-Ean Khoo

Leaves of Our Earth by PEK.jpg

“Beyond Your Puffy Eyes”
A Trisomy-21 Odyssey
a poet-artist book

by Peng-Ean Khoo
with graphic designer Teh Chee Mun,
to whom I am immensely grateful
(if not for his love and belief in the project,
this book would never have become.)
For a private copy of this book, kindly write to pengean@onelovefamily.net


I don’t know if in the end there is anything too mystical about this for me. The journeying to a new place, to integration, is -was – will always be, a little scary, nerve-wracking, treacherous, some what.

Because, it requires change.

I feel it is like being a boatman with no raft, no oar, no pilgrims. No waters, even.

It is truly a minority of one, like Gandhi too has discovered. 

It is when you suddenly see through your own frames. What has made you feel so safe, suddenly you see that identity evaporating. They are all social constructs. Suddenly, you don’t know what to do anymore. What to be anymore, and you are so miserable. 

Liberated, yes, but miserable.

You don’t know why you are miserable.

What’s worse is actually knowing you are miserable but you don’t know why and don’t know what to do about it.

The worst is when you keep folding this over and over and over again, like kneading clay or dough or turning soil around.

You just can’t get a breakthrough, a new perspective, that reconciles it all.

No satisfactory language or symbolisms. No satisfactory framework, no satisfactory science, no satisfactory art, no satisfactory anything!

So you look very stuck, you are stuck, and you just look miserable and feel miserable.

It’s one big repeated – blah.

You try to get back to the old shore.

It becomes pretentious, boring at best. You can’t fool anyone anymore. Maybe you can fool everyone around you, but definitely not yourself.

I am reminded of adolescent blues.

Childhood is somewhere but it’s going to have to wait while you grow up, to face the world, be in the world, be a part of the world. And it is all so complex, and it can’t be figured out. And everyone’s so mad or sad or frustrated with you because you can’t seem to be – happy. Be functional. Be a part of. Be productive or fruitful or just stop looking miserable.

Love is there. There are always people who love and care. But it doesn’t fill this vacuum inside. That vacant self. That self that doesn’t really want to be defined anymore.

And a self that doesn’t really even want to be. This or that. It’s tired and tiring. Whatever words or concepts, it’s blowing it out of the water.

It’s mind-blowing. You just kind of stare at everything in silent wonder and awe and actually feeling quite terrified actually, that you are in this spot that nobody can name, because you can’t name it.

Then you go into some frantic activity of reading up on all religious matters. And then you project this and that. And then you end up in a deeper hole than when you first started. And then it gets even more ludicrous. Everything you string together you try to put a meaning to it.

One after another, you just place one something after something. 

And you go – ah this, ah that, ah this again, and ah that again.

But the song hasn’t changed.

You are just tinkering on the piano keys. You haven’t thrown away the piano.

You are still making music on the piano or the drums or the bowl with chopsticks.

You are still trying to call something this or that.

And then you go through rounds and rounds and iterations of that.

And you see a pattern.

You are exactly where you are. 

Still in this vortex.

Because, you are still not addressing the fundamental root – change. And the need for the change.

The deep, vital need.

Not the societal social patterning.

That deep – I am alive and I am not afraid of life – need.

One morning, you wake up and there is no longer any other shore. The paradise is also gone. The myth is gone. Poof!

And there is only here and now and you.

And everything that matters to you.

But you have stopped trying to please everyone.

Stop trying to be the centre.

Stop trying so hard to fit in and not have anyone jump up and down in big huge emotionality.

Then, truth emerges.

This morning, I saw that my struggles are emotional. 

Of course, it is emotional!

How little do we know about feelings?

How so little do we really know, care and see the treasure of feelings.

How little do we see the beauty, that suppressing our pain isn’t going to get us through the day. It gets us through something, but it doesn’t get us through our narrow pass.

The pass of truth. Of who I am, exactly as I am.

That place of Love as I am as you are.

That inner, inner shine and nature that is already in our DNA. That place of peace and that place of being big love, being human, being compassion, being nice, being kind, being a part of, no matter what.

It doesn’t surface until we stop denying our full capacity to love.

And it doesn’t surface until we see our emotions and understand them.

And we can’t see if we don’t dive into the muck to figure it out. To feel it fully. And to reconcile it all fully.

Vashima Goyal, a dear friend and soul sister, wisely shared, “You live the pain fully, you heal fully.”

So, in this place of transition, of growth, of transformation, I realise for me, it is about growing courage.

The courage to be me. 

And it is also to allow the healing. The forgiveness of everything. The release of the fear, anger and anxiety, and the allowing of the gentle love and full acceptance.

It is like a breeze.

It can’t be described. It is just present and gentle and allowing and knowing.

It’s like being secure.

How many of us struggle to get into that space of full inner security?

It is a space that is empty. Not nothing. It is everything but it is empty. Empty of judgement.

The freedom is freedom from judgment – self and others.

Transcending the boundaries of divide. Not above, but below ground.

Right in the centre of the growth. The soil and the seed.

It is the connectedness to earth and the lives of earth, and the cosmos.

It is a rooting kind of feeling, rather than the flighty sort.

I had wondered where the source of our consciousness could be. Today, I place it squarely in the heart. Don’t ask me about the science. I am only sharing. I don’t know much about anything anymore. I can only share my intuition and some life experiences. They are very dramatic for me but are most likely just another humdum in the wonderful story of life.

Like the power drill drilling and installing the metal benches for my microfarm aspirations.

But then maybe there is no such thing as an unexciting life.

It’s not maybe.

As Keith always exclaims out, “It is!!!”

We are all precious! Beyond our wildest and also most judgmental imaginings. 

We are all interconnected and ecological.

And there isn’t anyone who hasn’t lived a day of remorse and misery and also the joy and freedom of life.

So today, I shall work on transcending my own emotional reactivities. I am pointed back to Dr Stanley Greenspan’s functional emotional development levels. Oops.

There is a lot of emotional development to discover! What excitement!

It’s a treasury to health and stability! And tranquility.

And how do I process in an integrated way?

I live the postulations and aspirations, then iterate. And then live another day.

I talk and tell stories.

For anyone who cares and longs to listen.

It’s a beautiful and very, very able and good world.

Because, we can make it all good.

If something is broken, we pick up the pieces and we make it good again.

Every time.

And this is in summary of how I healed my broken heart.

There is no judgment in pain.

I am – Beyond My Own Puffy Eyes!*

Peng-Ean Khoo
December 5, 2016

*I wrote “Beyond Your Puffy Eyes” for parents, grandparents, siblings, extended families, family friends, caregivers, doctors, healthcare professionals, developmental therapists, educators, allied educators, neighbours, work colleagues, mentors, spiritual directors, policymakers, community-at-large who care and long to listen about trisomy 21, and how to live and accompany the extremely complex and challenging yet wonderful and liberating journeying and discovery. Due to the private contents of the book, my husband and I have decided we will only print and send a physical copy of the book to families who feel the book can help them journey this wonderful calling and walk. 

For a private copy of this book, kindly write to pengean@onelovefamily.net

Leaves of Our Earth” is available for private and public collection. All proceeds from the sale of the said artwork, net of Paypal and other necessary service, administrative and delivery charges, shall be donated by the artist to Ray of Hope, Ipoh – Centre for Children with Learning Disabilities. Delivery within Singapore only. This is in support of full inclusion.

Click to Purchase Art


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