At the Moment

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

I’ve been on the mend since the beginning of this month, the 1st to be exact. Nothing like not having the ability to taste or hear quite clearly. One thing I did accomplish in the midst of this chaos is to focus on my thoughts and feelings. I’d like to think I mean everything I say at all times — but I fail at saying what I mean most of the time.

How are you? I’m fine…

Yea, I’m not fine. I haven’t been fine. I’m learning to ask myself what’s up? Be aware of where in my body am I feeling the feels. What am I angry about? What am I afraid of? What is irking me? How can I extinguish the small fire inside me, before I do something that’ll make the flame bigger?

Bed rest means lots of sleep and lots of reading/listening time. I finished “Braving the Wilderness” by Brené Brown, “The Art of Communicating” by Thich Nhat Hanh, “Whiskey Words & a Shovel I” by r.h. Sin, “Born to Love, Cursed to Feel” by Samantha King Holmes, “Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better” and “Start Where You Are” by Pema Chödrön, “The Highly Sensitive Person in Love” by Elain Aron, “Use Your Difference to Make a Difference” by Tayo Rockson, and “Unf*ck Yourself” and “Stop Doing that Sh*t” by Gary John Bishop.

All of these books has one common thread and that’s me. It starts with me. So I gave myself permission to feel all the fears, the stillness, the confusion, the frustration, the anger, the emotions. and within that moment of giving myself permission, I found a glimpse of clarity, a warm embrace, a good cry, and a smile in my heart.

Alicia Keys said “I only lose myself when I can’t speak for myself.” Maybe I got lost because I wasn’t speaking. I’m going to share bits and pieces of what I call life’s captions: insight and ah-ha moments.

  • It’s scary to be seen. There’s a difference between belonging and being seen. I need to see myself. Soul searching.
  • I need to study my life rather than be in it. I need to give myself permission to be me. Permission to be goofy. Power of permission. It’s an intention. Set the intention, and then follow through. Attempt to belong to myself and no one else.
  • Believing is so hard. We can believe on hope, but not beyond what we actually see?
  • Friendship: Being vulnerable is the secret handshake to become my friend. People I can talk to about the scariest and honest topics are who I consider to be my friends.
  • P2: is everything complicated? You okay? What is okay? Okay is relative. False Reality? I like you more than you like you. I’ve somehow been reluctant to use the L word around people. It’s a strong word. I’ve been questioning it a lot like when’s the right timing and what if you reject it; but I’ve come to my senses of why not now? Whatever your story is, it doesn’t change my story. Took me a while to see what’s going on, but I get it now. It’s love. To take the words right out of A Walk to Remember “love is like the wind, I can’t see it, but I can feel it.” No more assuming. We f*ck up, we learn, we grow. By the way, you are not a f*ck up.
  • Conflict Transformation: Dr. Michelle Buck uses the term conflict transformation rather than conflict resolution because conflict creates an opportunity to learning something new about the situation. It’s not about winning or losing. It allows for a greater connection whether or not there is agreement. Avoiding the conversation takes you nowhere because our doubts are still there. Show up to the conflict. Explicitly explain the intention of the conversation. Ask what is so important about the conversation.

Nothing can survive without food. Everything we consume acts either to heal us or to poison us. We tend to think of nourishment only as what we take in through our mouths, but what we consume with our eyes, our ears, our noses, our tongues, and our bodies is also food. The conversations going on around us, and those we participate in, are also food. Are we consuming and creating the kind of food that is healthy for us and helps us grow? When we say something that nourishes us and uplifts the people around us, we are feeding love and compassion. When we speak and act in a way that causes tension and anger, we are nourishing violence and suffering.

Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Art of Communicating

Let me end by saying this. I promise to feed love and compassion to anyone who may need it, and try not to forget to do so for myself. Everything starts with me, but doesn’t have to end with me.


#wp #Repost (@get_repost)
This was difficult to narrow down in translation. Gezellig is more than just cozy or inviting; it is an essence of Dutch culture. Examples of gezellig:
gathering around a bonfire on a summer night after a day of activities
meeting a good friend for brunch and allowing the conversation and mimosas to flow
snuggling up with a good book, a cup a tea, and a furry friend by your side
on Instagram:

35 things I learned in 35 years

  1. You have a voice, use it—write, sing, speak, blog, film, type, draw, cook, text, call—don’t let anyone else tell your story.
  2. Embrace ambiguity with open arms.
  3. Make time for yourself.  The world can wait.
  4. Cards Against Humanity. Yes, you do want to go there.  Let it loose. Let people take a peek into your twisted mind. 
  5. Get out of your comfort zone as much as you can. 
  6. Bottoms up.  You don’t have to drink to have fun, but knowing how to drink will prepare you for social interactions.
  7. Driving.  It may be more than just a vehicle that gets you from point A to point B.  In fact, it may get you to point C (wherever that may be) if you grab the handle and push the pedal.
  8. Learn how to perfect giving hugs.  There’s no other present you can give that people don’t mind being returned. 
  9. I am trilingual, but I honestly believe that a happy stomach, giddy laughter, and an ah ha moment speaks louder than any language.
  10. FOMO (Fear of missing out) happens.  Our everyday decisions creates missed opportunities—but who is to say that the decision you’ve made for yourself isn’t an opportunity in itself?
  11. Online exploration needs to be done.  I don’t care if you’re single, taken, young, or old—make a new friend via the virtual sphere.  You’ll learn more not only about yourself, but of society’s needs and wants, and you’ll have more questions than answers –but it’ll get you thinking, and that’s all that matters.
  12. I will never be Japanese enough, and I need to accept that.
  13. Don’t be afraid to stray away from what you have been asked to do.  If you have a reasoning for your actions, people will either accept your perspective, or deny it.  I’ve been lucky with my teachers who welcomed my different takes on assignments. I may be off a bit, but at least I’m still me ☺ (Thank you Miss Ramon & Miss Fernandez).
  14. We all have privilege, some more than others.  It’s what you acknowledge, understand, and do with it that matters.
  15. Introverts: Be with extroverts that can pull out the extrovert in you.  Extroverts: Be with introverts that can invite you to reflect on your self-awareness.
  16. Saying no is not equivalent to quitting.  Saying no means you are self-aware and you are empowered to step away before you over commit yourself. 
  17. Never stop dreaming.  Dreams do come true. What would you do next, now that your dream came true?
  18. Job searching is similar to finding a partner.  You lay out what you can do for each other and hope that you are a match.  
  19. Someone must’ve thought of doing a sociological case study on Denny’s. If not, someone should get on it. 
  20. I’ve learned so much watching Felicity and One Tree Hill.
  21. There is something nostalgic about hearing a foreigner sing a song in your native language.  (Referring to のどじまんザワールド)
  22. The best learning happens when you don’t even realize it.
  23. Instead of asking Where are you from? ask What is your story? [Many gratitude to Ruth E. Van Reken]
  24. Being laid off is not the end of the world.  In fact, it’s the opening to a new world.
  25. Learn to pick your battles.  We can’t win it all, and not everyone deserves your time and energy. 
  26. Words. It does an emotion good.
  27. Keep a pair of chopsticks in your car.  You never know when it’ll come in handy. 
  28. Transparency is the state I strive to be. 
  29. The concept of ‘lollipop moments’ have shifted my views on leadership.  [Thank you, Drew!]
  30. I’m thankful for everyone who has weaved the threads in my life – teachers, friends, family, fictional characters in stories/movies/songs/musicals/ photography, strangers, online profiles – you have shaped me one way or another for better or worse.
  31. I will always be a student and with that, an educator.  Let’s continue the reciprocal journey of learning; I insist, after you. 
  32. Gut feeling is reason enough to make a decision.  Trust it.
  33. Walking away from toxicity is the strongest thing you can do.  It’s easier to stay sometimes than deal with the uncertainty or others’ opinions.
  34. Sometimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all. (it’s that moment when everything aligns: mind, body, feelings, and thoughts.) [spiral learning at its best.]
  35. The power is within me to control my world. It takes mindful practice but as Buddha says, “Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.”

The Most Powerful Tool

undefinedToday, err, yesterday was Boss’s Day. I’ve been fortunate to have amazing bosses that enabled me to grow. All this time I’ve been looking for the right tool, right gadget, right app, right person, right coach to help me get out of my funk and it was within a meditation session where it all clicked. The most powerful tool we all have is the ability to practice practice. Let me share what I mean. Read the following passage with intention:

Now gently relax your attention. We can’t force our thoughts to disappear because it’s the nature of the mind to think. Active Monkey Mind. Our minds goes from thought to thought. It hardly sits still.  Our goal is to observe the thought, not to judge it. Let it jump from thought to thought. Idea to idea. Notice the busyness. And when you feel swept away by thought, pull yourself back. Be gentle without frustration. When there are thoughts, you’re not doing anything wrong. All it means is you’re human. Simply come back as you notice with patience and self-compassion. This is the correct way to practice. 

Let there be sound. Let there be thoughts. Let there be discomfort. Let there be emotions. Let everything be. When we learn to observe our experience, without making it right or wrong, that’s when we’re mastering practice.

meditation from Calm app narrated by Tamara Levitt

My coach kept repeating the word compassion and in my head I knew I had compassion already but what I came to realize is that I was lacking compassion for myself. I (you too) need self-compassion to build ourselves up. Creating space within ourselves, free of judgment a place where we can respond with our frustrations with kindness and care. We need to notice what’s happening. Counter them with love. Offer love and compassion to ourselves. Be your own friend. Give yourself permission to be kind, patient, non-judgmental, and aware of yourself.  

The moment I saw myself/my mind without judgement it dawned on me how powerful it is to practice simply being. I don’t know about you but I suffer from information overload, mental constipation, analysis paralysis, you name it. Whatever it is that I was trying to find, I found it. I had the answer all along.

When I allowed myself to be aware of my thoughts, I found compassion. I found the balance I longed for: the alignment of neuroscience, self, mind, and body.

The best tool is one you can use alone, is free, and can use to solve every problem possible. The power of you/me. This is it. It enables wellness and accountability. It allows me show up, fully. My negative emotions are not all or nothing: I’m the sum of all my emotions, thoughts, and awareness.

Watch this video:

Enter PL huh? Practice, practice, practice. (Gordon, Barbara, Thomas, & Whidbey Institute: it came full circle yet again.) [PL is a whole other topic I’ll touch on another day].

Next step? Master the practice.