What You Seek Is Seeing You

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“Nirvana”

There is a silence,

a gentle breeze,

that takes over me when I empty myself.

What I’ve been looking for,

this tenderness,

this profound peace,

was in me

all along.

-DS

There is no price that can amount to the happiness I feel after a good workout. Working out at home and at the gym is by far the best “self-emptying” method I’ve found (long walks come in second, and meditation comes in third). It gives me an opportunity to connect with my mind and body. It gives me some sort of physical stress, but I can tell this is the kind of stress that my body wants…and need. When we empty ourselves, we break the habit of carrying negative stress caused by interactions from our immediate environment.

I used to push ‘fitness’ to the side when I was in my 20s thinking that it’s not a vital part of living. I always said, “don’t have time for it.” Fast forward to my 30’s I began to feel my body more, I have stress coming from different places, and I didn’t know where to begin my personal overhaul–I just know that something different needs to be done. It was overwhelming to have so many symptoms of unhealthfulness. I would constantly medicate just to pacify all these feelings of stress and anxiety from thinking too much about my health.

Luckily we have 2 young dogs that are eager for walks. Long walks was where my fitness journey began.

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These two special souls remind me that I need to stay on top of my health. They saved me when I couldn’t save myself. My Obi (Rhodesian Ridgeback) and My Akira (Shiba Inu). 

I started taking long walks with my husband and our two dogs. Washington is such a beautiful state for doing this kind of thing. The air quality is really good because of the trees and there are hundreds of trails to choose from. Luckily, we live close to a trail alongside a river that streams from Mt. Rainier. I started to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. The feeling was similar to waking up after a long frustrating dream. Like, “oh, was I the prison guard all along?”

This gave me the idea that the more movement I add in my life, the better I would feel. I incorporated routine workouts, and wow, it’s truly life changing.  I love this place where it takes me. Which I think may be my personal nirvana. It’s so beautiful, so peaceful, and it’s a place where I know that everything is okay.

I see now that when we operate from this place, we feel good and confident that even the toughest storm will have a hard time shaking our foundation.

So I invite you to embark on a journey. Find what empties you, what brings you that genuine happiness, what makes you surrender in joy and peacefulness. When we know how to access this place and we continue to show up to the part of ourselves that want to be in healthfulness, our life and our well-being will improve dramatically.

Showing Up is an Expression of Love

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Photo by Ian Parker

What does it mean to “show up”?

To the best of my understanding and experience,  “showing up” is our ability to grant our passion and accountabilities our full presence. It doesn’t necessarily mean that our physical bodies need to arrive somewhere. Showing up pulls from our capacity and willingness to focus our attention where it is needed (either by something or someone).

Showing up is key to achieving success in our lives. It is a vital part of our creative process because that is when the REAL work gets done.

When we show up to our life and to our immediate environment, the things that need our attention and support gets taken care of. When we show up for the people in our community, not only does it strengthen our relationship, we also learn a lot from each other in the process of showing up for one another. These interactions that happen in our immediate environment has the most impact on our personal evolution and therefore are the ones that we need to pay attention to.

Showing up is an expression of love, both to ourselves and to our community. We may have friends and family that are not affectionate, or expressive of their feelings, but are always there showing up for us when we have a crisis or we just want to catch up. 

The people in our lives are here for the reason that we chose them to stay in ours too. To keep the connection alive, we simply must show up. 

We each have our own way of expressing ourselves, our love, our gratitude, irritations, anger, and all of our other human qualities that don’t necessarily define who we are. These are very short-lived feelings. What matters in showing up is that we are willing to do the work that is involved and we are willing to work through it, even on days we don’t feel like it.

This may be coming from a self-ISH place: there is a very satisfactory feeling that occurs in our inner self when we show up to our commitments. A part of what can keep us happy is when we feel that we have accomplished something, whether we are in the prepping stages of a project, or at congratulatory stage for the completion of it’s life cycle.

When we have a lot of things going on, the best we can do is keep track of our commitments and show up for it.

How to create a healthy environment for ourselves so we can keep showing up:

  • Self-care. Eat well and get the amount of rest that your body needs. We function better when our personal needs are taken care of. Make sure to create a ritual for yourself that will allow you to feel how special you are. Whether it is working out, a long bath, a cup of wellness beverage, sitting down doing absolutely nothing, a drive in the forest, a good read, …whatever floats your boat. That ME TIME is a must. When we show up to ourselves and our own needs, we can be sure that we can handle everything else that needs our brilliant presence. 
  • Create a good routine. (a.k.a setting yourself up for success) It’s all about the flow. Good time management is helpful when have a lot going on in our daily grind. So setting a time for the tasks that we need to show up for can help manage the stress that comes within the territory of being accountable. I start the day with a shower followed by a good hearty meal before my many things. If I have an appointment, I create reminders on my phone that alerts me three days before (in case there’s prep work that needs to be done), again the day before, and another one two hours before. For my daily tasks, I like to keep it old school with a notebook with an itemized list of what needs to be done that day, followed by other things / interests outside of work that I like to do that day a.k.a, play.  Before I end my work, I try to make another list for the next day’s important tasks. This helps me get a better rest at night. 
  • Pay no mind to procrastinating. It is a distraction to the real entity (a.k.a the brilliant, YOU) that shows up and does the real work. 
  • Make time for your passion. The things we are passionate about are what makes us happy, so it’s important to make time to show up to your passion. This is us feeding our soul. This is the kind of happiness that affects us on a cellular level which is really great for our health. I notice how much happier I feel when I make time to get into things I am interested in. 
  • Show up for the people you love. In this day and age it is impossible not to be able to reach out to our friends and family no matter the distance. The Internet has just made our world a much smaller place and there are so many tools we can use to let the people we care about know we are here for them.
  • Honor our commitments. By showing up. 🙂 

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Real Love is a Conscious Choice

IMG_2777Before discovering the true meaning of love, I treated it as this elusive entity in my life. Like I was a fishing pole and if I waited long enough, I’d catch love. This pattern of thinking consumed me. I’d hold on to whatever I catch for as long as I could no matter how unhappy and toxic of a person I become. My incapacity to love myself and lack of imagination for the love that I want in my life played a big role on the choices I made. It also did not help that my ideals were influenced greatly by romcom movies I’ve seen from my early years.

I made unconscious choices for most of my relationships or lack thereof, which only resulted in terrible misjudgments and created more confusion in my life. Who is the entity that participates when we are on autopilot? I was looking in all the wrong places and attracting other energies that did not mesh well with mine.

I felt a thirst that nothing or no one else could quench. It was maddening.

Somehow luck never leaves our side even when we’ve given up because we messed up so many times. It sticks and cheers us on silently, waiting for the right time to surprise us.

“I will be waiting here,
For your silence to break.
For your soul to shake.
For your love to wake.”
-Rumi

Love found me when I least expected it.

My husband and I met at the workplace. I had no idea that this person whom I’ve been emailing work related stuff with, exchanging “hi”, “hello”, “good morning”, “have a good evening” for 6 months, is the person whom I’ll be sharing the rest of my life with. Looking at him from the outside, all I know is that he’s got a great sense of humor and he carries a seriousness in his overall personality. One day, he asked me to go for a walk with him and I said yes. That was the beginning of our journey together and the beginning of the many yeses I will say to him. For the first time in my life I felt that thirst being quenched. It’s so rejuvenating that I keep wanting more. Our first walk was followed by many many walks, sunrises, and sunsets in LA. We have been inseparable since.

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I remember walking underneath the palm trees of LA streets when we were getting to know one another. That first walk that turned into many…How many of our secrets do they know?

We got married in the late summer of 2011. It was just us and the judge who pronounced us man and wife. I didn’t mind that it wasn’t the wedding I had imagined having from all those years of attending big wedding ceremonies. What mattered to me the most in that moment is I am now getting married to this amazing human who brings so much magic in my life.

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Staying and being in love is a conscious choice.

Falling in love and embarking on this adventure with my husband has taught me a great deal about myself and what it is like to wake up next to someone I care deeply about, someone I  love and someone I am attracted to. 

The vows (“to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”) we exchanged that day we got married is something we choose to uphold every waking day of our lives, together. Aside from the bliss and the passion, there are storms that shakes things up and makes the marriage feel even more real.

There’s a lot of personal growth and evolution that occurs between two people when they decide they want to be in a lasting relationship together. Change is powerful and beautiful in many ways. These are the real gifts that come with being in a relationship with another divine being. For him and I, the key is that we stay together.

In our relationship we outgrow ideas, things, people, and all sorts of manners. We don’t expect each other to stay the same. We embrace the nature of our humanness. We make mistakes and forgive each other. We admire one another’s growth and uniqueness. We fight the good fight. We serve each other. We laugh at our silliest moments and call each other out on our BS. We own and keep conscious of our accountabilities to each other and to the environment we are cocreating both as a couple and as individuals. No matter what life brings us or what each other bring to the table, we stay together as conscious and as present as we can and we go through it together. We enjoy the bliss, the hurt, the growing, the fun, and all that encompasses being in a relationship.

Love is not tiresome, nor is it unmindful. Love is generous. It takes many acts of kindness to wake somebody up from their long slumber of numbness. That is what my husband did for me. And in loving my husband, I learned that love is not elusive. It is quite the opposite, love is abundant and ever present. We are the source of the love we want to create in our lives. We need only to learn to tap into the source. 

There can only be limits to love and loving where we put it.

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“Love is not an emotion, it is your very existence.” -Rumi

If We Are Not Growing, We Are Dying

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I was stuck in a rut not so long ago. Lost is a better term for it, depression is the most widely used term that is associated with stunt in our growth. 

How do we feel when we are NOT growing? How do we feel when we are not nourished and our needs are not met? We feel helpless, we see no hope only darkness, and we usually blame others for our circumstance. We delve on things that are not in our present moment. We sightsee in hell. The voices inside our heads telling us we won’t make it is louder than the voice of that wants to make it. And so on. 

I was heavy on the self-judgement side of things that it clouded my perception so heavily and I soon started forgetting I have priorities that need prioritizing and I have dreams that need actualizing.

“Worry is a misuse of our imagination.”

-Dan Zadra

It took recognizing the ownership of my own feelings and actions for me to realize that I am responsible it. We create thoughts which are manifested by our consciousness (a.k.a the intelligence that lives within all of us) and if you believe it, it’s highly likely that they get translated into our reality. And that is why we need to recognize within ourselves the  thoughts that are real, the thoughts that aren’t real, and what thoughts are healthy for us. 

 

Example of unhealthy thoughts: “I’m never gonna afford a house.” ; “All of this sucks.” ; “My coworkers are idiots.” ; “My partner doesn’t see me.”

 

Example of healthy thoughts: “I love how I can set goals and be proactive about it.” ; “I am hungry, what should I cook?” ; “Maybe Gina is having a rough day. I wonder if I should ask her to go for a short walk with me?”  ; “I appreciate how my partner shows up for me when I need him / her the most.” 

 

It helps to write down ill feelings so they don’t live inside us. There is an exercise that I learned from a book called Clarity Cleanse by Dr. Habib Sadeghi that is called Purge Emotional Writing 12 or PEW 12. This is basically a writing exercise where you don’t judge what you write, and you write for 12 minutes (I set a timer) whatever is bothering you, your soul, your thoughts, or any clutter that might hinder you from loving your life and your productivity for the day. And the best part is you don’t read what you write, you crumple it, throw it away, or burn it. I like burning mine.

 

Learning to unclog our heads and our hearts truly help in letting some new energy flow inside of us. 

“Every moment is an opportunity to grow.” 

Who is the thinker? Who is the doer? the answer simply is YOU. You have all the power to steer your whole being in whichever direction you want it to go. 

I saw some similarities on how I can better take care of myself the same time I was learning how to garden and take care of my plants last year.

What I learned is that we are the gardener of our own being. A good gardener sets his / her grow up for success so the plants can thrive and produce well. A gardener watches out for pests and gets rid of them so the plants don’t suffer and die. 

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Everyday we learn something new about ourselves and how we can continue to thrive in a world and a culture that sometimes fill us with doubt. The key to avoiding permeability, is to ignore the rest of the chatter and do our own thing. 

Do more of what makes you happy.”

WHAT WE NEED TO GROW (because we are full of life).

  • Room to Grow. The first thing we need is space. We thrive when we give ourselves enough room to grow, for our roots to go deeper, for our branches (relationships, work, interests) to extend and stretch and grow healthy leaves. So continue to clear your physiological (outer) and psychological (inner) space. It makes my work easy to manage when I have a clear head. I work from home and I notice when our home has less clutter, I can think better, I work better, and get satisfaction with my output. 

 

  • Nourishment. Eat well by finding what your body likes, and what it doesn’t like. When I was younger, I usually ask, “what’s good to eat?” now that I’m a little older and can feel my body more, I added an evaluation process before I put something in my body and ask, “what’s good for me to eat?” As we grow and change, our needs change as well. So always keep a listening ear to your inner voice and how your body feels. 

 

  • Proper Care. Apart from nourishment, we need a good amount “shut down” time. We are thinkers and doers and all that can be exhausting. So know when to take a rest. After all we cannot do our best when we are tired as hell. I find that creating simple hacks for our day to day helps add manageability amidst the craziness. I am learning to plan our meals when I know it will be a busy week for both my husband and I. 

 

  • Accountability. What are we truly responsible for? Who are we when we show up to ourselves? Who are we when we show up to others? Who are we when we show up to our community? I feel good when I take care of my own needs, and I feel even better knowing that I am doing my best to take care of my family’s needs. 

 

  • Creating opportunities for ourselves. Daydreaming is a healthy way of exercising our thoughts. And when we dream good things for ourselves and for our family and friends, we breathe in and invite the good energy. We take more actions towards self-actualization than we procrastinate. Because truly, if it hasn’t happened yet, we can make it happen and we can take steps towards our goals. 

 

  • Some opportunities disguise themselves as failures. Growth comes in many forms. So don’t take failures too hard because what it really is is another opportunity for us to grow. We bounce back and we try harder. Because we can. 

 

  • Openness. Being open is setting aside our fears and embracing and appreciating our vulnerabilities. Being open brings us blessings that can change our life in an instant. There are words that I come across everyday that I will remember for the rest of my life, from books, from a friend, from my husband, etc. There are people that have come and gone in my life that have made a huge impact on the way I see some things to date. The idea of being open has taught me how to tame the part of me that was judging and rigid. 

 

  • Self-love. This is perhaps the biggest and most important factor I can attribute to in jumpstarting my stunted growth. Self-love is listening to our voice that wants to love ourselves and treat ourselves so very kindly. Self-love has to power to heal the damage of our early years and it will protect us from further suffering and damage.  Self-love is treating yourself with a kind inner voice, with forgiveness, and compassion. Self-love is having the courage to stand up for yourself. Self-love is sharing the love you have for yourself with the people you love, your creatures, and your environment.

 

  • Movement. The importance of adding exercise to your routine is as important as feeding our body the right nourishment that it needs. Movement connects our inner self to our outer self. when you create movement in our body it is as though these two are dancing together in unison, celebrating YOU. Exercising releases a happy hormone a.k.a endorphins that make us feel really good about our life.  I think about it as though I am ‘cleaning house’ because it feels really good internally afterwards. There is a moment of stillness that comes after a long walk, or a workout session. I love that. 

 

  • Surround yourself and your space with beauty. Our environment is key in helping us thrive. This is one of the aspects in our lives that is often overlooked but is actually really important in our health and our growth. Whatever beauty means for you, I hope you surround yourself with it. 

 

  • Interests. Our brains love healthy interests. Curiosity can give us hours and hours of brain and physical activity. My work (for a living) interests me, and I have other interests outside of work. Sometimes a day is not enough to cover everything I want to learn because I have responsibilities outside all of this too. This gets me so excited to wake up the next day and pick up right where I left of.

 

Keeping the mind, body, and heart clean, healthy and alive will keep us growing and thriving. I wish you a happy day ahead! and happy growing! 🙂