In working with my new life/business coach, he said, “I can’t promise that your manuscript will be a bestseller. I can promise that if you do it out of service, you won’t regret it.”
We chatted yesterday about my intention behind this project, about what’s holding me back.
I’ve placed everything I’ve ever wanted in my life behind this book, putting it as an “over there” phenomenon, so that I could have an excuse if I didn’t get the things “over here,” since I hadn’t completed this “thing” that I had talked about for so long.
Every dream of mine has always been in my grasp. I never wanted to be an astronaut or an astrophysicist, I just wanted to do what I’m passionate about and make a difference in a big way. I’ve always joked around that I want to become the “Asian Oprah,” or as a favorite bodyworker of mine said lately, “You mean, she’ll become the black Judy? Because you’re going to be much bigger than Oprah.”
People have always told me that they see something special in me, a powerful force that can be felt from the first moment that they meet me. I often wonder what it is they see, because it seems to me that I do believe them, but I’m so in it that I don’t have the experience of the full breadth of it.
So yes, what if I write this book and it doesn’t become a best-seller? Then what? Will my life mean less? My coach says that after one finishes their first book, everything else becomes much easier, the next manuscript and the one after that. People in the publishing world tell me that I do realize most first books never get get picked up? Yes, I realize these things, but something has always told me that I needed to write and share my story, because somehow someway, it’s meant to be seen.
I’m not doing this out of ego. I know I’m a good writer and that I’m smart, but that there are countless more brilliant and accomplished people out there. I also know that I’m a good person who’s always wanted to do good in the world, so that’s been my driving force of everything. When in doubt, I pause and ask the Universe to please help me be of service to whatever the Divine would like me to do, and I feel reconnected to an idea that it’s not all about me and that I can do good in the world.
It’s everything I’ve ever wanted. My life is so possible and I really am more afraid of my greatest potential than anything else. The first time I heard that quote, it sent shivers down my body and it was like the gates of consciousness opened up and finally, I was on my path. It was an absolute a-ha moment.
May I please live into my fullest potential and remove all the obstacles that are standing in my way of being great. May I live in trust rather than fear. May I continue to go on and forward with love and light:
Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
I once heard a speaker somewhere share that no one in our developed country has truly ever been really hungry, to the point of starvation like in many third world countries.
I beg to differ.
I’ve starved. I’ve felt that gnawing need to eat deep in the pit of my soul, only to have my mind overpower these primal urges and deny my survival mechanisms. I’ve felt what it’s like for my body to hollow out, for the skin to pull against my bones in extreme tautness, for my head to become my faint, for the world to tip over as I almost chew on the insides of my cheeks to prevent myself from consuming more calories.
I know what it’s like to starve, because over the series of multiple months when I was 17, I became anorexic and lost 30 pounds. On a 5’6″ frame, I was too thin for a size 0 dress, even shocking myself when I went to the Jessica McClintock store on Rodeo Drive to shop for something to wear to prom.
Even more than not consuming food for my malnourished figure, my soul was beyond emaciated, subsisting on a diet of anger, rage and resentment force fed by my mother and father into my awareness rather than being spooned unconditional care and affection.
Before it ever showed up on my body, I was famished in my heart. Before ever discovering what anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating were, I knew that I was starving in a way I did not know I could survive.
There have been so many things that’ve been happening lately, that it becomes a bit overwhelming for me to even begin. That, and the fact that I’m on the computer all of the time, so that sometimes, I just don’t want to touch it anymore. My computer has indeed become like another appendage, or safety blanket. There’s nowhere I go, where it doesn’t come with me, and not often anywhere I am, where I’m not searching for wi-fi, so that I can type away.
Jesse says that I need to devote a certain amount of time each day to writing, and by the end of the week, I turn in my pages to him. Whatever set amount that is, and I can ask him to read it or not, but this is my focus now. This is my job. This is serious.
“Even if it’s not good, it doesn’t matter; just keep writing.”
And so I am. Rubbing my temples and squinting my eyes. I notice how often my forehead wrinkles now with focus or concentration or concern? And, I wonder if that’ll contribute to wrinkles. It’s late, I’ve been up since very early, and for the next 6 weeks, will be getting up early every morning to do a women’s-only workout that I signed up for, because I feel I need the cardio and perhaps the camaraderie.
This is me, writing anyway.
Lately, I’ve been considering working with a life/business coach. The previous one I hired left a sour impression, so I was hesitant, except for the fact that the moment I chatted with Jesse on the phone, I knew energetically that he is the right fit. And, if the only lesson I learned from the previous experience was to trust my intuition whole-heartedly and not to put my end goal in front of what I know to be true for me, then it was worth the investment. Plus, it got me realigned to how much I want to write my manuscript.
The thing about Jesse is that he’s quite a substantial upfront investment. Do I trust that he’ll help me get to my next level of being? Yes. Do I believe that the effects of working with him will go beyond business and into my personal development? Absolutely. Do I feel like this is the right decision to make? Yes, because I feel that it’s going to bring me to a profound new way of existing.
So, what’s my hesitation? Leaving behind the life I’ve always known for the life I want to have. Or, even more accurately, leaving behind the hopes for how I wished my childhood could be to accept what was and move forward — finally.
I’ve been doing this in bits and spurts, much like the ways I’ve been trying to write my manuscript. Start a little here, do a bit there, sometimes even accomplish a lot. Then, get stuck, avoid it, or seemingly stumble backward multiple times.
Now, my soul is ready.
What I realized today while taking a shower (I’ve learned now not to have any music or distractions while I’m in the bathroom, because the ideas, reflections and thoughts that flow through the hot steamy streams of water are very worthwhile) is that Jesse will offer me what I’ve been missing in my life that I haven’t been able to find in any other way.
And, that like so many other people I’ve been blessed to engage with in my life, he’ll offer lessons I wish my parents had been able to. He’ll be like the parents I never had.
A long time ago, I heard the adage that you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, and a lot of the times, your friends do become your family. For me, even being around friends can be a bit much, where I feel I have to be “on” all the time and not fully reveal my vulnerabilities, fears, and concerns. While it often seems that I do, because I talk very candidly about matters many others would be too shy to share about, the true marker for my being present with another person is my ability to just breathe and be in silence. To let go and not have to feel like I need to entertain in any way or say the right thing or do the appropriate act.
So, the place I’ve turned to for solace has always been therapists, bodyworkers, and others in the healing profession. It’s in this dynamic where I feel that someone can be fully focused on me, and even though there’s still a bit of guilt attached to it, I am much more able to receive and find a bit of reprieve from the rigidity that I’ve created about how I falsely believe that things are supposed to be.
My parents provided no guidance whatsoever, other than to teach me about every way I would not like to be, so I’ve always had to seek it elsewhere. Luckily for me, I’ve chosen these outside resources wisely. I’ve found guides in teachers, holistic practitioners, colleagues, professionals I’ve hired, and yes, friends.
Jesse will be another one of these for me, someone who I can learn how to practice complete trust and vulnerability with, someone who’s focused solely on me and I don’t have to reciprocate in any way, someone who will provide unconditional support and love, which I rarely experienced in my formative years — if ever — and which I still deeply struggle with. He’ll be a male energy with whom I can practice being feminine and letting in to deeper interactions, so that I can begin to foster healthy relationships with men outside of this coaching one. And he’ll help me create a foundation from which I can truly thrive and flourish. Without these roots, I’ve felt that my entire existence has always been on alert, aiming to maintain balance on a bed of marbles, unsure of how to bloom. I’ve asked him to fill in the gaps of my life, and perhaps by doing so, I won’t feel so exhausted and lonely anymore.
I can see how I’ve needed to go through each and every other healing opportunity before arriving at this one, but this has been my journey. And hopefully, by finding my own kind of parents, perhaps one day soon, I can reframe the idea of having to parent myself in a more positive light and, if I ever decide to have children, become the kind of guardian and guide they need, want, and deserve.
Why is it that when things go well, I still have this desire to sabotage? I’m so used to worrying, to being small, that being large and in charge feels so good, I suddenly… eat too much.
It’s as though I feel guilty for feeling good.
As my friend said, “When I feel good, I want to stay there. When you feel good, you do something to move away from that.”
It’s time for more releasing homework so that I, as I taught today in yoga class, can get out of my own way.
Yesterday, I was at a cafe with a friend who has a masters in psychology and currently works as a school counselor and extension education professor. We often have interesting conversations revolving around what she’s currently teaching her students, and it always happens to be related to something I’m currently experiencing in life (of course).
This time, we talked about “oral” and “anal,” as it pertains to Freud, because it’s occurred to me long in the past that I have an absolute oral fixation, just like my bodyworker had pointed out when he noticed my constantly doing something with my lips. I’m sure this related to how I constantly need to be chewing, drinking, snacking, and eating.
“Me too!” she exclaimed. “That’s why I bite my nails! You know what it’s about, right?”
I shook my head ‘no.’
“Freud says that if you don’t get your needs met when you’re an infant, like if you’re not fed enough or taken care of enough when you’re being nursed, you might become an orally-fixed person. This means that you might need constant oral stimulation as an adult, or depend on others to get your needs met. And, they also say that if you have any problems during toilet training, you can become really anal as an adult, like being too rigid or perfectionistic.”
I was surprised, but completely believed her. Again and again, it keeps cropping up, the things that I need to remedy now, because my needs were not met when I was young.
Whew! In one day, I’ve spoken with Kathryn Budig, Compassion it, Donna De Lory and Wavy Gravy (the inspiration behind Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor and the emcee for all three Woodstock Festivals!). The stories these individuals have shared with me are all phenomenal. Again and again, they reveal how we’re simply human beings looking to connect, live our truth, and make a difference in this world we’re all a part of.
It also makes me realize, for those of you who read the Steve Job’s book or heard his graduation speech, that the dots really do connect — we simply have no idea how that unfolding will happen.
When I was young, my mom forced me to spend a summer in junior high taking a typing class. This was the best thing that she ever made me do, as I can now type over 100wpm, a skill that helped get me a job as a professor’s assistant in college, where I had to transcribe crazy scientific lectures.
What do I do now? Transcribe these amazing conversations with inspiring people in subjects that mean a great deal to my heart.
My mom (yes, she was a Tiger Mom) also forced me to enter into Mandarin speech competitions, where I had absolutely no idea the ancient poems I was reciting. I had to add dramatic hand gestures and get up in crowds of hundreds of people, crying and resenting her every step of the way until I got on stage, sucked it up, and did it.
Now? I have no qualms about getting up in front of people to speak, which lends itself well to a client and friend recently asking me to put together a proposal for a TEDx Talk in San Diego, which if/when it happens, will be one of my greatest dreams come true.
My parents also relied upon acupuncture when we were young to heal any maladies that came up for us. In junior high, my English teacher required us to do an i-Search project, a 20-page paper that included a 20-minute presentation. Of course, I was the ultimate procrastinator and being that this before the age of email, I crammed a semester’s worth of work into a couple of months. The subject could be anything I chose, and since I had no idea what to do, mom “suggested” acupuncture and Chinese medicine. I typed up letters on a Word processor to different experts I found in the Yellow Pages asking for interviews or my research paper. The interviews I ended up doing blew my mind away!
It spurred an open-mindedness to all sorts of holistic medicine, causing me to be fascinated at any opportunity to learn about a culture’s native methods for healing mind, body and spirit, and sparked a love of hearing about people’s experiences and stories, which has bode well for me in career and personal interactions. In fact, this inquisitiveness will become part of my international travel game plan for this summer.
Lastly, when I graduated from college, the lil’ startup I worked for offered a membership to a local premier gym as one of our employee perks. That’s the first place I ever took a yoga class, and the teacher was so unbelievably good, he kickstarted my journey towards eventually becoming a yoga teacher myself, which is undeniably one of the greatest blessings in my life.
Last year, I randomly won tickets to a yoga benefit event in Rancho Santa Fe and happened to place my mat next to Sara Schairer, founder of Compassion It, a movement inspiring more compassion in the world. While it’s been almost 365 days since we first met, Sara and I connected today to spontaneously cultivate ideas that will help both of our passionate business endeavors.
There are plenty more experiences that all tie together, but because we as human beings enjoy stories, because we yearn to see someone else who has overcome suffering, because we need reminders of how everything can work out in the end, that’s why I share the things I do here. Do I have concerns I’m putting too much out there? Sure. Do I worry people will judge me? Yes! Do I have doubt about this and much more? Absolutely. But the more I’m me, the less I focus on what others say or believe, because in the end, the people who will want to be in my life will be there, and the folks who don’t? Well, they won’t be.
As Kathryn reminded me today, “Have you heard that quote from Esther Abraham-Hicks? It goes, ‘My happiness depends on me, so you’re off the hook.’ I love that quote.”
Yep, me too.
I released two admonitions tonight, “Men will be like dad” and “Men can’t provide.”
In the process of doing so, I realized this is why I haven’t found a good love — I’ve been terrified that the man I choose will turn out to be like my father, who had his intentions in all the right places, but could not execute.
Today, I listened to a podcast that discerned between liberty and freedom. Liberty is having the luxury of choices all around you; freedom is having the power to execute upon the choies you do have. I may have had a lot of liberty in my life, but I’ve been shackled by a belief system that was ingrained in me long before I knew it was happening, something I’m battling my way out of now.
After dinner with a friend last night, she shared that one of her good friends is a leading Harvard-trained psychiatrist. His observation has been that the two things that’ll destroy a woman the most are her relationship with an ill-equipped father and her inability to conceive children.
Father represents love in relationship, spiritual love, faith and trust in the Universe. I have had to fight with every fiber of my being to get to where I am now, but when I come face-to-face with these admonitions, I realize that there are still things holding me back that I have to surrender into an unconditionally nurturing force much greater than myself.
Actions speak louder than words, and my father’s actions were rooted in heart-in-the-right-place-but-couldn’t-ever-do-the-right-thing. He did the best he could, I think. But his best was often the very worst for us.