Tag Archives: Transformation

What does it mean to be ready?

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A lot of my healing over the years stems from the need to accept myself – my whole self. I think everyone has varying degrees of this experience embedded in their lives – wanting to fit in and feel “accepted” by their families, peers, communities – whoever it may be. For me I experienced a heightened sense of this need growing up adopted-Korean in a predominantly white community. Being inherently different on the outside forced me to make peace with the world one part by accepting myself and one part by trying to fit in desperately. Let me tell you only one of these parts worked.

As a teen attending Korean Culture Camp, I went through self-esteem classes each year. Definitely one of my least favorite aspects of camp. Really all I cared about was mandu (Korean dumplings) and plum candy. (I paid for that care later in life – will save for another post). But the self-esteem classes at the time weren’t especially helpful or practical. I just thought of it as fluff – acknowledging that my peers and I were prone to lower self-esteems than everyone else and yet not recognizing that we were not feeling open or receptive enough to share about it or even identify this about our very nature. It was one of those classes you just go to to only wait for it to be over. You maybe even feel worse about yourself, afterwards knowing that you have a bad self-esteem. It’s victimizing. So then what to do with oneself? [Go to the camp store and buy some more potato snacks, right?]

Well years later I can say an important part often missing from those early self-esteem talks was the readiness factor. It is possible that at camp they touched on the idea of self-compassion, but it took me until my post college years to really understand that practicing self-compassion could alter the effects of low self-esteem. Funny how education and learning works…you can only retain and understand the message when you are ready, and messages become clearer to you when it becomes personal.

At the same time, if we all waited until we were completely “ready” we would never move forward. (This is a popular topic among the new parent camp, believe me, I hear it all the time :)). So what does it mean to be ready? And why does it matter?

Of course there is no simple answer. But I find there is this delicate balance with the readiness factor – you cannot push yourself somewhere you are not ready to be (or you can, but you may force yourself into a healing crisis), but you also must push yourself beyond what you believe is possible at times. The key I’ve found for me is not doing too much of one or the other. Do a little of both. Let the busyness inside you settle, and stir up the well-rested parts within you.

I always say in my yoga classes, if you tend to move and breathe slowly, allow yourself to increase the pace of your breath, or viceversa, if you are a person who breathes fast and is moving quickly all the time, let yourself slow down your movements. It’s good to switch things up, it keeps us well and it challenges us to be better people.

In what parts of your life are you putting on the brakes because you are not ready and sincerely need more time? In what ways are you ready to move forward but are stalled because of habit or fear?

Challenge: This week find a way to either slow down or speed up something that needs attention in your life.

Self-care for coaching & for life

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As work life picks up and since talk about starting a personal business began, (in addition to summer’s arrival?) self-care has been more important now, than ever.

We all know that we must take care of ourselves in order to take care of others/our business. I think to the flight attendant example, as they step kindly to the middle of the aisle  to remind us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help our children or neighbor.

airplane

We don’t need to be in a plane crash to learn and live this simple idea. We can take care of ourselves now, and we don’t have to feel guilty about it. It’s part of our responsibility to ourselves, our communities, and the world.

I feel blessed because not only does my work improve when I take care of myself, it is a requirement and demand of my job. Recently I have come to embrace that fact and take it to heart, because I have to. If I want to excel at my job and support my clients, I need to take care of myself. Period.

Coaching is not a service profession, it is a modeling profession. – Jay Perry

As the above quote mentions- my work is not about a service it is about modeling. Self-care means to be a master of my well-being. My clients grow and feed off my energy when I am well-cared for, and they experience greater and more meaningful transformation, when I take care of myself. With my coaching and yoga clients, I know that it is not the mastery of my technique that matters, but it is my presence – a way of being with people – that makes the difference. The quality of our connection plays a bigger role in the transformation process, than does the handouts/tools/information sharing that occurs. 

This realization gives me a lot of freedom because it makes me realize that it is less about my certifications/degrees/articles that I accumulate, and it is more about me just being who I am and making a genuine connection with someone. Yet at the same time, it adds the challenge of practicing presence and self-care in real life. It’s easy to conceptualize the idea – in fact it’s almost so easy its boring. But to live it is awholenother adventure…

This all came up by the way, as I toy with the idea of teaching yoga at a studio. As I find myself considering the option more seriously I realize that in order to do that I will have to take my self-care game to the next level.

Am I ready for that?

You betcha 🙂

Self-care for life – Some exercises to try:

1. Take a little assessment. On a scale of 0-10 (0 being “not so hot” and 10 being “totally rad”), how would you rate the health of your finances? Environment? Work-life? Self-care practices? Relationships? Thoughts? Energy? How can you give more attention to the areas in need? Think about it, and then do something about it (or seek support in finding the answers you need to help you do something about it).

2. Make a list of activities/ways of being that bring you pleasure and serenity. How often are you engaging in said activities? If possible find 10 things on this list that you can do to practice “self-care”. Block off time in your calendar to actually do/be them for one week. Notice how you feel after a week of taking care of yourself.

3. When you are feeling out of balance, come back to your list of self-care items and ask yourself what you really need. If possible, give yourself what you are needing – it may be on the list, it may not be. That’s okay. If you listen, you will know what to do. Sometimes we think we need a candle light bubble bath to relax, but in reality we may really just need an extra hour of sleep. Be honest.

We are all one

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This month I am fortunate enough to start a series of classes with Elder Kaia Svien. The course aims to build upon inner resources so we can be our best selves in face of uncertainty in the world. With the beginning of a new year and a new job, the timing has been impeccable, and I feel so fortunate to cross paths again with such a wonderfully in-tune mentor and role model and a like-minded community.

In class the other night, like in life, I was so up and down. We were asked to introduce ourselves with an animal movement. While I was thinking whale and moving very slowly with my back to the circle – trying to figure out how I would express water coming through a blowhole – when it was time to turn around and share our move with the group my body went all penguin on me, which is a very happy feeling by the way. You should try it. Anyway, despite feeling elated and fortunate to be present that evening, moments later when we had to share about what we were grateful for, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. The only thing that kept coming to my mind was all the planetary and personal and collective sacrifices that have occurred along the way (some intentional and some not-so-intentional) so that people like me could live the privileged life that I lead with ample choices that I make for better or worse. They were tears of joy and sorrow, hope and grief, fear and love, but mostly of gratitude and indebtedness. After sharing what I was grateful for, I was to talk about something I loved as a child that I still love now. Once I finished cry-talking about my love for animals, like a crack of lightning, I came to realize how ridiculous I’ve been leading my life lately, and how I have lost touch with my indebtedness to those that went before me and those that will come.

Here I am in a big life transition, an honor that has only been grounding and challenging and inspiring, and I have spent more time than I care to admit focusing on the “I wish this” or “I wish that” or “I wonder if” or “if only… I did this or did that or that they did that or didn’t do this.” You get the picture. Or I will get that overwhelming feeling, “well what can you really do?”

Well in that moment of exalting my love for my dog, Yuki, as I mentioned something in me seriously clicked and it’s like I actually finally get it. It’s hard to explain. But I know now, that now is the time, and the time is now. We need each other now more than any other time, and I’m ready to be a part of the solution. I’m not just saying this (I have just said this before). I know that our time is precious and the more I spend my energy on the “I wishes” or the finger pointing or the judgment, the less time and energy I have to be the change I want to see in the world.  There isn’t enough time to continue wasting life because of fear and because we are holding back our truth. And that’s that.

So I came on here partially for selfish reasons – to sort it out, but also because I wanted to share this thought process with you in hopes that you will join me in entertaining the possibility of just being once again but in a way that is coming home to our authentic selves and not turning away from our deepest fears and desires and to the fact that we are all connected.

I can’t go without saying that I owe this recent shift in consciousness to a number of people, places, and furry friends in my life – my parents/families (that includes you, Anne!), my teachers past and my teachers present- Kaia, her teacher, Joanna Macy, my yoga teacher, Tanya – and my current supervisors and place of work.

The greatest thing I’m finding about really recognizing that I am part of a whole, is that the whole has plenty of room for all of us – for the penguin moments and for those uncontrollable tears tied to deep grief and pain. As Joanna Macy says about the pain – it is simply the gateway into which you go into a communion with the living world that is fearless.

So tonight, not without regard to the pain and suffering in the world, I offer a toast to celebrate our connection to one another and to the whole. Here is a happy feet, penguin-like kind of a song. Call me cheesy, or call me real. Today, this song’s words resonate with me and I hope they resonate with you, too. Now let’s take care of the world and one another – and for some of us that means starting at home with ourselves, our friends, and our families.