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What Does It Take?

My breakfast looked like this: Instant Oatmeal with blueberries or Rolled Oats with mixed berries or Extra-Thick Rolled Oats with blueberries and mixed berries. Exactly! I needed more variety.

I checked out a few cookbooks from the library and a week later, I tried baking my first batch of granola. And? They came out slightly burnt. Then I tried my second batch. And? I tried too hard and the whole thing came out COMPLETELY burnt!  I was upset. I read the recipe books. Why didn’t my food come out perfectly? Isn’t reading recipes the equivalent of cooking?

I had neck pain. I wanted to do more yoga. I checked out Yoga DVDs from the library. However, after three DVDs on “Yoga Quick Fixes”, my neck pain still wasn’t getting any better. How come watching “Yoga Fixes” didn’t fix my neck pain?

I wanted to be good at meditation. I read about meditation, talked about meditation and listened to podcasts about meditation. I read “ The Science of Enlightenment”, and why am I still not enlightened?!

I learned about Nonviolent communication from multiple sources, and I wanted to speak with “I” languages, but often times, the first word that came out of my mouth is still “You”!

I wanted to write better. I took an online course on writing. Shouldn’t I be on the “Best Sellers List” already?

I watched five youtube videos on “How to take out the stopper from your bathtub?” Why did I still end up frustrated with the stubborn stopper in my bathtub?

What does it take to turn an idea into a craft; the intellectual knowledge into embodied skills?

Interest? The capacity to withstand the drudgery? Patience? Resiliency? Commitment? Self-knowledge? Time? Practice? And what else?

In order to cook better, more than collecting recipes in a folder called “cooking” along with many subfolders under it, I need to get my hands messy in the kitchen.

In order to do more Yoga, I need to walk away from the computer and get on my hands and knees on the mat.

In order to be a better meditator, I need to plant myself on the cushion regularly.

In order to communicate in a new way, I need to practice speaking in the new language day by day;

In order to write better, I need to sit down and write.

In order to fix the bathtub stopper, I need to call my landlord.

I will go back into the kitchen and try again. If it still doesn’t work out, I will either keep trying or get Steel-Cut Oats instead. But I will be content with my oatmeal because now I have the humility to understand that the mastery of any skill takes serious practice.

If I didn’t…

If I didn’t eat, I would have less bloating, but I need to eat;

If I didn’t write, I would have more time reading, but I need to write;

If I didn’t need to connect my laptop to the internet, I would have one less chore, but it needs to be connected;

If I didn’t connect with people, I would have more alone time to recharge, but I need to connect;

If I hadn’t asked him out again, I wouldn’t have had gotten a “No”, but I value courage over fear, growth over certainty, and engagement over avoidance.

I need to see other people’s pains and dissatisfactions, so that I would know that I am not alone;

I need to be nice to people, so that I can see my own kindness.

I need to engage, so that I would know that I am living.

“Home for Sale” and Lateral Thinking-Part 2

“Home for Sale” and Lateral Thinking-Part 1

Do I see myself buying a million dollar house here in the future? No!
When people work for Amazon, Microsoft or Google alike, I guess the affordability isn’t an issue. But for me? Even the future me?

In the long term, becoming an employee of Amazon is not my goal. I’m not interested in working like a slave and sacrificing my mobility all for a multi-million-dollar debt.

In the short term, in order to be a part of the communities that I’m interested in, to live the life I want, I need to move to Seattle or a close by town with shorter commute.

I can’t afford the rent in Seattle, unless I share a house with a dozen roommates. Then if not in Seattle, where can I move to that is closer to it but more affordable? Does such a thing exist?

If I don’t plan on getting into the high tech industry which pays for the standard of living here, what am I doing here?
If I can’t be a part of the communities that are invaluable to my happiness and vitality, what am I doing here?

Does my short-term action align with my long-term goals?

*****

I read a book called “Smartcuts” by Shane Snow a couple of weeks ago. The book is about Lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is a manner of solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.

After talking to my neighbors that evening, a voice spoke to me loud and clear when I jumped out of the bed the next morning, “What if I move to Portland, Oregon?” Wait! What?! Where did that come from? Really?! Wow!

Did my intuition cook something up overnight out of the place of despair?

Was this Lateral thinking?

I looked up Portland online.

Quality of Life: Seattle #13, Portland #14 (Tie)

Traffic Index: Seattle #9, Portland # 40!

Cost of living Index: Portland is 38% LESS expensive than Seattle.

Weather: Same and with a Bonus of 15 mins more day light each day as we speak.

Kizomba Dance community? Tai chi Community? Good doctors? Yes! Yes and Yes!

My intuition may have cooked up something marvelous. Maybe all I need to do now is to embrace it with gratitude.

My lease is due in 6 months. I have some time to change my minds around.

“Home for Sale” and Lateral Thinking-Part 1

Believe it or not, I’m not in Seattle. I’m 20 miles away from it. And believe it or not, with the traffic, it can take one and half hours to get to it. I’m in a city called Woodinville which is on the “Eastside“. With Lake Washington in between, the Eastside is connected to Seattle by two busy bridges.  I’m not a big fan of driving to begin with, So I don’t get to enjoy many fun things that a city like Seattle has to offer, such as the Kizomba dance community and the Tai chi community that I yearn for being a part of.

Therefore, I have been frustrated.

My downstairs neighbor had a sign “Home for Sale” up. Because I just started getting to know them, I was surprised to see they are moving. I forgot that impermanence is in the nature of things.

I ran into them one evening, “You guys are moving! Where are you moving to?” “We are exploring the option. We want to buy a house.” They said. “Oh, more space for the kids.” I nodded. (They have a young child and a toddler.)

I forgot people do that: upsizing for expanding families.

Houses here start around 1 million dollars and it can easily become multi-million dollars. I thought no one can afford buying houses in this area and everyone values simplicity. I had woken up unexpectedly from my narrative. Just because I can’t afford it, it doesn’t mean no one can. Just because I don’t want to do something, it doesn’t mean no one wants to. I forgot that everyone’s life is different and intentional living looks different for everyone.

“Home for Sale” and Lateral Thinking-Part 2

Episode 1. The Laundry room door

One of my cats likes to go to the laundry room for retreats after he eats. One evening, after I fed them, I took the clean clothes out of the dryer and closed the laundry room door behind me. He instantly appeared in front of the laundry room and started meowing. With experiences, I knew he wanted to get into that room, so I opened the door, and he stopped meowing as expected. However, he didn’t jump onto the shelves in that room as usual. He was just sitting on the floor, by the open door, licking his paws. 

That was interesting… I wanted to see how he would react if I close that door again, so I did that and sure enough, he started meowing again. I tried this for a few times, and eventually I gave in. He won. The laundry room “door” is now open 24/7. I was amused and questioned him, “Now the door is open and you aren’t even using it! Why do you insist on it to be opened?” 

In a little while, after making sure that he still had access to the laundry room, he went to his meal bowl and started meowing there. He now was meowing for more food. I knew he had plenty of food for dinner. He wasn’t meowing because of hunger.

He made me laugh. I said to him,“ You can never be happy, always wanting more, either more open doors, more food, or more cat nip… but soon after you have it, you would go to the next thing you think that you want. This isn’t about any of those particular things, is it? Why can’t you be like your sister and be content with what you have?” 

Wait a minute! That sounds like a description of myself. When it came to the next “Add to cart”Item online, my urge to own “the thing” was so intense that I believed my life simply couldn’t be “whole” without it. But by the time the package arrived, I didn’t even remember what I ordered. When I opened the box, “ Oh, that. Now, what do I need this for again?!”

Ally With The Rain

It was raining again, drizzling rain. I had planned to go out for a morning walk, but with the rain, I was having second thoughts. Maybe I should wait until the afternoon? Maybe the rain will stop, but I know most likely, it won’t.

After some restlessness, I put on a hood and walked out of the door. It was uncomfortable. Cloudy, rainy, and cold. However, after hiking up the hill for 20 minutes, I started to enjoy the fresh air, the temperament winter and the occasional sun that peaked out the clouds. The rain was still there. I could see it, but I could hardly feel it, nor was I bothered by it. I was cheerful.

This time, the rain did not control me. My fear of the rain did not control me. I chose to face my fear and leaned into the discomfort; I chose to ally with the rain instead of avoidance. I felt free and empowered.

I wonder, what are the other “Rain”s in my life? What am I avoiding because of fear of the discomfort? What am I trying to avoid feeling?

Headaches? Boredom? Disappointment? Failure?  Refusal? Abandonment? Heartaches? Emotional exposure? Vulnerability? The Truth?

But when I choose to ally with avoidance instead of the “Rain”, I’ve also chosen to stay away from Joy, Growth, Connection, Compassion, Love, Authenticity, Reality and ultimately, LIFE.

Redefining Failures and Successes

The discussion topic at the Seattle Shambhala Meditation Center last week was “What do failures and successes mean to you?”

I have been redefining failures and successes in the past few years since my divorce and the brain injury. Both had altered my life dramatically.

Prior to these two life events, success to me, meant to be successful in career, marriage, and life; to be perfect, once and for all. When I failed this definition of success, pain along with my resistance to the pain took over me. Because Pain x Resistance= Suffering, unquestionably, I was suffering.

However, when I lived with the pain and suffering for some time, I started to see that the pain was providing me invaluable information. It allowed me to see my old patterns and my false expectations to life. My pain was a teacher that I never expected, and it was a brilliant one.

From then on, my definition for failures and successes changed.

It is no longer about “succeeding” once and for all, instead, it is about having the strengths and courage to get up and try again after failing. My failures aren’t about useless suffering any more, they are my gateways to resiliency. I failed before and will fail again, but that doesn’t make me a failure. It makes resilient. 

Don’t know mind

I had been doing my vision therapy religiously. My blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue had all been reduced. I was thrilled! I’d found the key to my recovery, the answer to all the mystery, the 20% of the efforts that yield to 80% of the results!

Then, one day, after a morning walk, my blurred vision came back, along with the headaches and fatigue. It was the same walk I’ve been taking. I hadn’t missed my vision therapy in the morning and not for weeks. What went wrong?

I thought I had found the answer, but now, I don’t know…

Continue reading “Don’t know mind”

Homemade eczema cream with shea butter and beeswax

When I don’t pace well with my activities, I’ll get headaches; When I don’t do yoga and PT, I’ll get physical stiffness and pain; When I don’t meditate, I’ll get emotional chaos. Just kidding, even when I meditate, I can still get emotional chaos pastedGraphic.png.  When I didn’t lotion my hands, I got itch rash on them.

After waking up in the unbearable burning itch on my hands for a while, I went to the doctor. “It looks like Eczama.” She said. “ What?!” I didn’t want to believe it, but when I think about it. My hands have been very dry and ignored. During this travel and transition time, I lost my good habit of keep my skin moisturized.

Life is like that. We think we are immune to all the human sufferings and illnesses, until it happens to us. Now I’ve joined a new club-The eczema club. Continue reading “Homemade eczema cream with shea butter and beeswax”

Cats and Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Hello, my name is Cricket and this is my profile picture for United when I flew across the county.

I’m a sweet, gentle, loving, considerate, highly sensitive introverted girl. In fact, I’m an INFP(Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception)according to the Myers & Briggs personality type.

Continue reading “Cats and Myers-Briggs Personality Types”