Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reflections & Musings: How do I manifest the life of my dreams?

"What you're making is a new kind of life,
one that satisfies deep down,
one that speaks to others and leaves a legacy.
What you're making is art."
-a quote from my vision board

"You're a powerful manifester," my mentor and friend said to me the other day, when I was asking her for advice. "Ask the Universe for what you want. You know what to do." 

It seems that everywhere else in my life — career, achievements, interactions, experiences — I have no problem asking for what I want. I have unwavering faith that things will turn out just as they are meant to, and often in ways that make me happy. When it comes to true love however, I hesitate. I become confused and uncertain that the Universe will heed my call. Underneath it all, I still don't feel worthy to ask and receive the love of my life, like I still need to work on being more perfect inside and out in order to have another soul love me as much as I would like to be loved. Even as I type that, I see that there's still a gap in knowing how to love another human being as a whole person rather than someone who's half-empty and needs to be filled.

That's changing today. Sure, some things in our lives take time to shift while other things can happen in an instant. This process of learning to love myself through and through has been in the works for years and today, I'm declaring this the turning point. Rather than be upset about the things that aren't working in my current relationship and feeling upset about where I now stand, I'm taking the same open and trusting attitude I have towards everything else and applying it here — to intimate love.

My beau hasn't held me back. I'VE held me back. I've made up excuses in my head of why I can't speak up, why I can't continue pursuing my dreams, why this or that. I created an anchor out of someone who isn't perfect, who is human, and who only wants me to be happy. We have kinks like every relationship does, and some are things that may not be able to be banged out, while others can be smoothed over time. Now, it's a matter of what I want to commit to. 

I commit to my dreams. I commit to travel writing and being asked to pen stories for top tier publications: The New Yorker, Conde Nast, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Dwell, and more. I commit to being a devoted wellness practitioner who infuses these healing practices everywhere I go and in everything I do, including writing. I commit to living healthfully and eco-consciously, to take in valuable nutrients and expel toxins that do not serve me, to honor the environment I'm a part of as best as possible, to give back and to learn how to truly receive. I commit to writing a memoir that will help others live their greatest lives, and to having so much fun touring the world over through speaking engagements that further encourage every individual to find real happiness, contentment and joy. I commit to becoming a fabulous wife, a wonderful mother, a good human being. I commit to bringing more beauty and creativity into the world, more sweet space for self-acceptance, more pure happy. I commit to being healthy, hopeful, joyous, generous, self-respecting, playful, sensual, and really, really happy.

I'm now manifesting a partner who is absolutely kind and loving, completely supportive and knows how to challenge me in nourishing ways. I'm manifesting someone who is romantic, who likes to have fun, who's mature and can see the long-view as much as the short-term perspective. I'm manifesting someone who puts my happiness above all else, and in so doing, creates a safe environment for me to grow my heart bigger and do exactly the same. I'm manifesting someone who understands my past wounds and from there, knows how to help me co-create a different type of present, one where we're conscious on all levels mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. I'm manifesting someone who's romantic and surprising, thoughtful and considerate, generous and open-minded. I'm manifesting a true partner, someone who teaches me how to be less self-centered and selfish, someone I can learn valuable life lessons from. I'm manifesting a wonderful husband and father, a devoted man who I thank my lucky stars has chosen me as much as I have chosen him. I'm manifesting someone who's intelligent and creative, sensitive and sweet, expressive and active. I'm manifesting a beautiful soul who loves to enjoy food and cooking and wine and family. I'm manifesting someone who appreciates the wonder of the world, who helps me to feel safe in being vulnerable, who feels safe in being vulnerable with me, who is driven and relaxed all at once. 

I'm manifesting that we live in numerous beautiful places, that we can pick up and go as we please, because have purposely decided to create a non-traditional and fulfilling life with one another and for our family. I manifest that we always have abundance, because we appreciate all that we do have and practicing gratitude constantly to beget more things to be grateful for. I manifest that we're both doing work we love that gives back as much as we receive. I manifest that we inspire a new generation of kind and caring human beings. I manifest that we make a positive impact on this world, because the two of us together are much stronger than either of us could be individually, but it's in being strong solo that we know how blessed it is to have found one another.

I don't have fun enough, so I commit to having a blast! I take things so seriously, so I commit to lightening up and realizing what's really important. I get caught up in aiming to do it right rather than fully appreciating what's unfolding before me. My sense of control is out of control, and I was reminded of that this past weekend when Emil, a friend I haven't seen in a few years as he's been trotting the globe pursuing his own dreams, pointed out, "I can see how much you're struggling between letting go and having faith, and still wanting to control everything.

Today is my day off. And what have I done for fun so far? Clean the house. It's necessary for my sanity, but this is why I get bitter when I see other people enjoying themselves for the pure sake of enjoying themselves. So, I decided to switch that up. I'm writing, which makes me happy; I put on upbeat music and started dancing; I'm going to go climbing, maybe do a little yoga, have a great dinner, and most importantly, continue shifting my perspective around.

As hard as this might be, I'm manifesting my dreams by becoming the greatest artist of my entire life. I am creating my own masterpiece, one moment at a time.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reflections & Musings: Loving one another enough to say, "I hope I see you again."

Tenderly

Tenderly, I now touch all
things,

knowing one day we will
part.

-St. John of the Cross


This has never happened to me before. I've never been in love with someone and simultaneously felt the need to leave them, yet that's exactly what's happening now. I love my beau very much, as he does me. And, we both realize that it's time to part. Not because we want to, but because where we are in our lives has become more challenging to be together than to go apart. Denial hasn't prevented nature from working her magic, so that we're no longer on intersecting paths. Instead, we find ourselves on parallel and diverging ones.

I think of this man, and how he has made me laugh so wonderfully. I think of how his face brightens when he sees me walk into the room, and how much I will miss that smile. I think of how he has taught me to not take things personally, how he has affirmed that my intuition is on target, how he has shown me what it means to genuinely take another person into consideration — and all of this has not been easy to learn, sometimes through conflict, sometimes through late-night discussions, sometimes through compromise, but always necessary to help each of us grow as human beings. By the two of us sharing our lives together, I have learned to love myself more, to have confidence in my beliefs and truths, to better accept others who differ from me. He has helped me embrace my Taiwanese culture, speak my truth louder, become clear on what I want and how to express that to others. I now understand the colors of anger and how to mix my own palette of emotions.

I think of all the things that I will miss — our meals, surfing, climbing, trips, hugs, kisses, cuddling in bed at night, planning our adventures, habits, dependabilities, envisioning, forgiveness, compassion, learning, gratitudes — and how I don't know how I can live in the same town and not want to call him when something new happens, when something old happens, when anything at all happens.

"I've had some of the best moments of my life with you," he shared with me the other night, as my tears fell on his bare chest. The photo of the red iron chairs above is from our trip to Hawaii at the Maui Dharma Center, where he found a Tibetan singing bowl that made the shopkeeper tear up. We have gone to Mexico, Taiwan, Yosemite, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and many more itineraries we were hopeful for, but haven't yet hopped on a plane, train, car, buggy, rickshaw, or dingo to experience in person.

I wanted to believe that he was The One, the one who I would make a home with, the one who I would create a family with, the one who I would spend my days looking forward to seeing again and again. But instead, One of us wants to go all around the world aiming to help in every way, big and small, spontaneously and adventurously not knowing what will come next. The other One of us helps others too, by having a plan, taking it slower, leaning towards being settled. One of us lives completely from feelings and energies, connects with everyone outwardly. The other lives with linear thinking, structure, intellect, and connects with others inwardly. One is a floating goddess of two worlds. Here, there, everywhere. The other is a wise old sage. Grounded, reliable, solid in support.

The One has become just 1. Each of us, now just 1. We tried to go in the same direction, but our internal compasses kept revealing a different True North for him and for me. We are the same in many ways, yet our perspectives differ so substantially on fundamental matters that our words become sparks that ignite the embers we constantly try to tamp down. How the flames engulf when two dragons fight. Rather than lick our wounds and see that we're both hurt, we snarl in protective growls and retreat into far away caves. Darkness, where Light has a hard time finding us to bring us together.

Plenty of people go through broken hearts every day. And life goes on. We heal. We mend. We learn. We change. We hope to find our fit somewhere else with someone else. But what happens when the both of you don't want that to be the case? You don't want to admit what's staring you in the face? What happens when the love is still there so strong, but both realize that the way to genuinely love each other best is to let one another go? How do you do that?

I cannot imagine my life without this man. I cannot imagine that I will not keep turning my key in our door, and hearing his voice in my ears, and feeling his affection in my heart. I cannot imagine parking my car somewhere else, then going days or weeks or months or even years without another "Hi babe!" in that boom he has. I cannot imagine how it will feel not to have his body near, not to feel him walking by and always knowing he will give me a sweet pat on the hip, the shoulder, the small of my back. Or, perhaps even more painful to start, I cannot imagine what it would be like to still have this man in my life and know that we are meant to just be friends.

We wish each other well. We truly just want the other person to be so happy and healthy. And, we're working on a way towards the sunset of our relationship, coming together to go apart, embracing all that is good, all that we've learned, and leaving everything else behind. There are no rules, only suggestions. We take it minute-by-minute, day-by-day, enjoying the time we still do have together until it's gone. There's no way of knowing how things will be. All we know is that this is what is meant to be right here and now.

So I practice faith. I choose love over fear. I practice letting go and letting a power greater than me help us both continue to move forward. I take solace in the reminder that if it's meant to be, we'll come back into each other's lives again one day. It's hard not to ask the Universe for a firm date on whether or not that'll happen, to make a date with my beau six months from now or more to check-in and see how things are, because what if we do, only to discover the even harder realization that we made the right choice?

How do you love someone so much to let them go?

The only answer I have is to be with him tenderly now, knowing one day, we will part.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reflections & Musings: Can we be okay with the mundane?

"Accept — then act. 
Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.
Always work with it, not against it... 
This will miraculously transform your whole life."
-Eckhart Tolle

The other day, as I was driving to teach a Restorative Yoga class, it finally dawned on me — I need to find my contentment when things are IMPERFECT rather than waiting for the moment when everything is exactly right. Because right now, things aren't perfect. They don't look the way that I'd like them to look or feel the way I'd like them to feel, and so here I am, not stuck, but being present in the best way that I can.

I don't think anything will ever be perfect, except how I perceive things based on my response and viewpoint to what's actually happening. For example, at the moment my intimate relationship is in a state of review and I don't believe this is a bad thing. I believe it's actually the best thing that could happen, because I have never before felt more primed to own my power and trust my instincts and wholly comprehend that I am worthy of genuine, uplifting and supportive love. I'm open to seeing the ways in which I should shift my understandings to embrace a greater good that benefits everyone involved, not just me. I'm open to letting someone else own what's theirs and not taking responsibility for it, or apologizing as though it were my fault. I'm open to being vulnerable and not being in control of every single moment, action or experience, in terms of needing to dictate how things unfold. 

A private yoga & Reiki client of mine said to me the other day, "Your relationship with your partner is the one that will bring you closest to God." 

Absolutely. My relationship has humbled me and brought me to a point where I see that the Universe is indeed supporting my growth and evolution. It's funny, because people who haven't seen me in awhile keep saying, "You look amazing." or "Whatever it is that you're doing, you should keep doing it, because you look more beautiful than ever." And I tilt my head to the side in response, brows furrowed, wondering how that's even possible.

Inside, I feel turmoil, frustration, anger, annoyance, impatience. But, I think that what's actually happening is that I'm feeling the whole gamut of the human experience, so that I can choose how I want to be and breathe and live and love. I am building faith, letting go, surrendering. 

I like the dramatic. As much as I don't want to admit it, I'm a writer and these bits of action in a storyline make for intriguing reading. Yet, I'm finding many starts and stops to penning my book, because what I'm also seeing is that I don't want to keep dwelling on the huge pitfalls and wounds of the past. Rather, I actively want to seek the joy in the present to grow a pleasant future. 

My business coach says that the mundane is good. He suggests we've become totally skewed in thinking everything has to be substantial in our lives to mean anything, that we're seeking the huge ups and downs to give our lives meaning instead of understanding that it's the everyday normal that's healthy. Instead of looking for that next exciting moment to Instagram or Facebook status update, proving on a superficial level  that we're worthy of being remembered, can we be okay with just being ourselves? 

Washing the dishes. Folding the laundry. Reading a book. Taking the car to get an oil change. Fixing a flat tire.

Sitting. Still.

I don't have it all figured out. What I do have are these little moments that happen more and more frequently, where I realize that nothing's really that big of a deal. That there are so many elements that are constantly intertwining that to take things personally is a waste of a time. There truly is a perfect order to the Universe — even if I don't get it right here and now. And, especially when things aren't going right, that's when the Universe is doing her beautiful magic. 

I accept what's happening. I may not like it, but I don't think that was part of the deal. By accepting it, I've taken one step closer to seeing the opportunity in every experience to grow and move one step closer towards peace. And, by letting go, I am learning how to have more fun being me, in this life, mundane or otherwise.

Om shanti shanti shanti. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August Newsletter Etc. — Feel Good Tips!

Photo credit unknown.
"Jumping for joy is good exercise."
-Author Unknown

If you're looking for more play time in your life, and aren't sure where to start in finding fun things to do, here are a few suggestions that'll hopefully help spur off other ideas that suit your fancy!
  • Try a singing lesson! Whether or not you have pitch, tone, or harmony, this is a great way to open up the throat chakra to speak your truth your readily (as well as to hear truth spoken in turn).
  • Turn up the music and start dancing! Music is an inherent part of cultures around the world and our bodies are designed to move. See what Shiva Rea says about it, too. I recently found a place in downtown San Diego that plays 90s hip-hop on the first and third Fridays of the month — there is just nothing like getting your groove on to the Humpty Dance by Digital Underground!
  • Get in touch with your sensual side. If you're a woman and lookin' for great cardio to boot, try a pole dancing class. It is a phenomenal workout and a sexy way to tap into that Divine Feminine. If you're a man, I can't really speak from experience, but I do have to say that practicing yoga has seemed to open up plenty of men I know to many more fulfilling experiences in their lives.
  • Go outdoors. Surfing, rock climbing, hiking, running, beach walking, canyoning, mountaineering, sky diving, paragliding, mountain biking, road cycling, body surfing with hand planes... the options are endless. And, not only is fresh air and sunshine good for you (remember to use sunblock!), but it's a way to connect with a force greater than yourself — Mother Nature. What a humbling and beautiful experience that is.
  • Do the opposite of what you would normally do. This piece of advice was given to me by a friend when I hit 25 and it's always stuck with me. If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always go. So, what would be the complete opposite of what your normal tendencies are? Why not see where that takes you today? 
  • Get pampered. There are plenty of affordable options for massage and facials and mani-pedis and a whole array of ways in which you can be the receiver for a change. Let someone else care for you — as challenging as that might be. Check out sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for great deals. 
  • Make something. When I was going through a challenging time recently, I took all of the energy I was investing in sadness and wallowing and turned it into a giant vision board. I began to imagine all the ways in which I would like my life to be, and found images and words in magazines to support what I'd like to manifest. It was a phenomenal way to lose myself in daydreaming about all the possibilities and potentials, and shifted my mood completely around into hope and happiness. Make something with your hands. Try ceramics or baking or painting or oil pastels or soldering or even a handmade card to someone you care about. Everyone (who I know) loves snail mail and what a lovely way to brighten someone else's day, too!
  • Pay it forward. I was told by Nischala Joy Devi that one of the ways to get out of your own head is to volunteer within the same cause that is causing you pain. For example, I suffered from an eating disorder for almost 15 years of my life. One of the ways in which I can reframe my experience is to volunteer at soup kitchens, where I will be reminded of what food really means in the grand scheme of things and what it truly means to be hungry. Often, we compare ourselves to people who have more than us and subsequently make ourselves feel worse. It's rare to compare ourselves to those less fortunate, but when we do, we are humbled by all of our blessings. VolunteerMatch.org is a fantastic way to start searching for different areas of interest and neighborhoods near you, where your helping hand would be absolutely valued. 
  • Take yourself out on a date. I really enjoy going to movies by myself. There's something comforting about being in a cool, dark room with others who you don't have to talk to, but who you know are there sharing space. Plus, the events unfolding on the big screen are a great way to lose yourself in the moment and press pause on your daily life to revisit it with a fresh pair of eyes. There are plenty of people I know who don't like to do things on their own, afraid of what others might think or say. None of us ever know what others are thinking (unless we ask, and even then, we need to trust if they're filtering what they share), so spending time worrying doesn't do us much good other than to make ourselves feel worse. My lovely friend Kathryn Budig taught me that when you're looking at someone else in class who's doing a pose you can't do, remember that there are people looking at you the same way. Love yourself best by taking yourself out on a date to do the things you wish someone else would do for you — buy yourself flowers or a coffee, send yourself a small gift, take yourself out to your favorite restaurant, leave little love notes in your pocket. There are plenty of ways that we can romance ourselves and not have to wait for anyone else to do it for us!
  • Plan a trip. Mini-getaways are great for feeding the soul. A piece of advice I was recently told during my travel article to Aspen is that you should spend as many days as hours it takes you to get to your location to feel like it's a full vacation. Drive somewhere or take the train for a couple of hours and see where you arrive. Stay overnight. Be adventurous. Meet the locals. The world is SO BIG that you have no idea who you could meet and how your life could change in ways big and small from it. 
  • Use your reward points and splurge. If you have a credit card that gathers reward points for your purchases, check to see how many you've got. Then, apply them towards something! You can make it random or make it indulgent, but make a choice to get creative with your resources and invest in yourself.
  • Calmete! I believe that because our society is so fast-paced these days, we start to become addicted to the busyness and then crave it in our other activities. For me, I can't just do one sport, I suddenly have to jam them back-to-back, so that I'm yoga-ing before surfing before climbing. It's ridiculous. I literally have to shove my phone somewhere that's not accessible to me and tell myself to calm down (or calmete! in Spanish). If you'd like to feel really good, try taking a break from everything. Turn everything off, shut the door, close the lid of the computer, then just lie on your floor and open your arms and legs wide in a five-pointed star position, and release. Surrender. Melt. Let go. Be in the moment where the Universe around you starts to give you exactly what you need to rebalance. 
There are plenty more things to do, but this can provide a launching pad for your quest for fun. Let me know how things turn out! 


And, if you're looking to simply brighten your mood, I find that these are wonderful ways to do so:
  • Ellen. I love her show, because her positivity and pure joy just radiates from everything she does. I laugh at all the ways in which she encourages people to be silly. And if Ellen doesn't do it for you, then find what will make you laugh so hard your belly hurts. It's an amazing kind of therapy.
  • Type in #puppies into Instagram or other social media outlet. If the pictures of these cute cuddly creatures doesn't just make your heart melt into a million chocolatey drops, I don't know what will. There's also CuteOverload.com.
  • Watch sea otters crack open shells to eat. I had no idea that sea otters cracked shells against rocks they place on their bellies to get to their food! Ah, nature. Oh, and this baby panda sneezing makes my heart just squeal.
  • Follow George Takei on Facebook. He played Sulu on Star Trek, and while I never really watched the show, I have loved all the random jokes he posts on his Facebook page. He is also someone who looks like he's loving life with all the laughter he shares.
  • Check out damnyouautocorrect.com. I don't remember where I learned about this from, but I do remember that once I started reading it, I was sweating so hard from the chuckling and almost falling out of my chair. I sent it to friends, who told me that their coworkers were starting to think that something was seriously wrong, because of all the commotion they were causing in response to the things they were reading! Most of them are tinged with sexuality, so don't be surprised. Ah, smartphones
  • For all the nerds and geeks, listen to Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! on NPR. I love podcasts and some of my favorites are This American Life (you must hear Tig Notaro talk about her run-ins with Taylor Dayne), RadioLab, OnBeing, Fresh Air and, as mentioned earlier, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! The Stitcher app on iPhones is great for not having to download or sync podcasts, but to listen to them streaming. Wait Wait is an hour of listening to comedians and everyday people playing around with today's news in quizzical ways.
  • Smile. If you haven't heard the saying, "fake it til you make it," it's been proven that smiling does in fact create a likewise response all around. Plus, it doesn't hurt to try. And y'know, they say it takes way more muscles to frown. :)