Choice

Last Thursday I received an email which contains a shocking news: Jane Beach, the minister of Conscious Living Center decided to retire by Jun 1st. She decided to write a book and conduct some workshops for other churches.

I was really sad to hear it since conscious living center is my spiritual home and Jane is such a mother figure to me. So when I read this email, I was shocked and felt abandoned, it is like losing a mom in a family.

After I process it for two days, here is what I realize: Everyone has the right to choose where do they want to go, so does Jane. She deserves a fulfilling career, she needs a bigger audience than our community to spread out her love and wisdom. Maybe it is time for her to move on. That is a good opportunity for her.

Her leaving stirred up lots of my old pain of being abandoned or lack of security. But this is a perfect opportunity for me to practice it. We all had some old scar in our heart, maybe it is the toy we want but we can never get, maybe the reality is not what we expected to be, but this too shall pass. We have a choice either struggle with the reality or accept it and move on. Struggle is a deny of a reality, it is also a vulnerable place grow lots of stuff like: Maybe I am not good enough or maybe I am not worthy. But just like we won’t keep the dish of yesterday, whatever happened in the last moment passed already. Now we had a new moment, we have a choice: We can either stuck in the past or we can smile for the future. I choose to smile for the future. I know that God loves me so much that he will give me the best of everything to my life. Conscious living center will soon have a new pastor leading us and all will be well, and so it is.

My business or God’s business.

Long time ago I read a book from Byron katie ‘Loving what is’, in the book it says there are 3 parts of business: your business, my business and God’s business, and I am only responsible for my business. For example, if I want to get up at 6am today to run, this is my business. If you want to get up 6am to run with me, that is your business. And if it is raining or not, it is God’s business.

I feel human being is so empowered today, especially people live in California, each of us are almost self sufficient. We have enough abundance to get whatever we want, we have enough power to make everything we want to make happen, we have enough knowledge to do whatever what want to do. Gradually we feel we are so powerful that we don’t need anyone else in our world, we even feel so powerful that we are the god of our life. We thought we can control everything in our life, that is the source of our unhappiness, because when we see gap between our expectation and reality, we feel powerless.

I feel today it is time to let God do it’s business, if it will be earthquake tomorrow, if economy will be crash tomorrow, those type of things I let God to control instead for myself to worry, all I can do is to believe that God has a good reason to do everything to this world.

it is also time to let other’s to do their business: Starting from small things like if they like me, if they don’t like me to big things like how they like their life to be, they are creative, resourceful and whole, they have good reason to make whatever decision they like and I also believe that they are making the best decision they can to make the best of their life, whether I like it or not, it is their life that they are responsible for.

Then the rest is my business. I need to decide how I want to live my life and I am responsible to the happiness of my life. For example, recently I feel I am so lack of exercise, so I plan to go swimming twice a week and hang out with friends more. When you give the power of God’s business to God, give other’s business to others, you let yourself shine by what you chose to do with your life.

Live everyday as if it is the last day!

Yesterday, there was a car crashed on North fork of 85, not sure of what reason, a Chinese mom parked her car on the highway shoulder and left her 8 years daughter inside of the car and stayed outside with her son. Turned out a car on the back just crashed her car and the girl died immediately.

I was shocked when my co-worker told me this story, because that high way is right next to my place. I don’t want to comment how she parked on highway or why the guy behind hit her car, all I feel is: life is so fragile, enjoy each moment when you can.

Put myself in that mom’s shoes, maybe yesterday she was worried about lots of things: The housing price is so high, where to go to vacation, what clothes to buy for someone’s birthday party. But suddenly, all those things are not important anymore, then everything she used to have become so precious, even a simple dinner with her daughter became a luxury for her now.

We often like to save something for the special moment, we often feel we should work hard now then relax later. But sometimes, that later may never come. So what will you do differently if you know tomorrow is the last day of your life? Go travel? Buy something you don’t feel ready to buy? Tell someone you love them? How about make a bucket list, so that you can do it whenever you have time?

Life is mean to be enjoyed!

Coaching –> Empowering

When I first learned coaching, I felt that since I am the coach, I need to come up a solution for them during the session. Unconsciously I carry my client’s baggage on me and the result is often no good. Who said that you need to have 100 lousy coaching sessions before you become a really good coach. :)

After several years of practice, I now have some new understanding of coaching: I coach in Co-Active Model. The corner stone of the co-active coaching is: People are creative, Resourceful and Whole. When we believe people are creative, resourceful and whole, we believe that everyone has the wisdom to solve their problem, since they know how this problem was created and what is the best for them. But sometimes people are stuck in one perspective, usually a negative one. And we think that is the reality, that creates the problem and make people small.

As a great coach, what is the best a coach can do is to help people unstuck from the current perspective and move forward. It usually can be done several steps:

1. Client name the problem. What you resist persist, so face it is always better than avoid it.

2. Watch client’s emotion, work with it. It can be a good venting process. But watch Client’s feeling about it and mirror it back always a good self-realization for client.

3. Park the problem, go back to the source to see who this person really are. You said you need a new car/house/clothes/bag. But you are far more important than that. Finding the who the person is, what do you truly want(The big agenda) is always more meaningful than the object itself(small agenda).

4. Let the client recover to self, the true place of who they are, then they will have the wisdom of their big agenda.

5. Base on the new awareness, let the client chose what do they want to do for this current problem.

So in a nut shell, coaching is never a problem solving process. Because problem solving is fixing. Coaching is support client to be their best self and come out with their own solution base on their wisdom.

Vipassana meditation — Things I’ve learned afterwards

I officially ended my 10 days vipassana on Jan 2nd at 7:30am. One mistake I made which I wish you don’t is: Leave some buffer for yourself. Since I was out for 10 days, so I didn’t have any vacations left, so I came back directly to work. The draw back is:

1. I almost lost all my learning. Since I immediately switch back to my busy mode, I didn’t leave any space for Vipassana to sit in my schedule right after I came back.

2. I burned myself out. Sitting, doing nothing but sitting there for 10 days is not easy, my body got burned out. My body was in fatigue mode for the following two months. I experienced an extremely down physically for the following weeks. Emotionally I am really steady and awaken, but physically I am just tired. So I slept all after work, during weekend, got lots of massage. Until early March, I gradually felt I am back to normal.

So I would strongly recommend you take one or two days off, process everything you learned there, put your thoughts in proper space before you re-entering the real world.

One thing I also noticed about myself is, after I came back from Vipassana, I appreciate the food more here. During my meditation, I used to eat one banana in the morning, eat lots of salad for lunch and one banana/apple for dinner. I was surprised that I didn’t feel hungry during sitting, and I also didn’t lose any weight from it. But I do plan to go back every year for 10 days. The only draw back is, as a return student, you only have lemon water for dinner now. Guess it will helps me fasting.

Vipassana Meditation – The Process of Transformation

I shared my blog post to one of my friends. He came back said: Mmn, it is very insightful. I think I need to come up a new name for you: Monk who looks good in Prada. I laughed after I saw it. Monk world used to be so far to me, but after my 10 days Vipassana retreat, I felt it was no that bad. Oh, talked about Vipassana, I still need to finish my blog post about it. I’ve wrote two posts about it in Feb, now it is April already. I asked my heart: What is that you are resisting? What makes you hang there. After process, I realized it is again the fight between my head and heart, there are lots of vulnerability there that I unconsciously try to avoid. Well, what you resist persist. Now it is time to face it, so here it comes:

On the 4th day, we were taught a new meditation technique: Vipassana. The technique itself is very simple: With equalinamous mind, you observe your body from head to bottom. You think nothing, just observe, scan through your body one inch at a time, from your scalp, to face, to shoulder, to front body, back body, legs and feet. You will have lots of things come up during your scan, but you don’t name it good or bad, just observe your emotion rise up, then pass away, then another emotion rise up, then pass away. Because the only constant in this world is change, nothing good or bad, just observe it.

There are a sea of emotions came up for me during my meditation: I thought about my ex, when we first met. Happiness moment, sad moment, I suddenly realize it is totally me who attracted everything and made the result as of today. I thought about my China trip. one workshop I lead which is extremely important but I screwed up. I felt shame, then I ran away. I suddenly realize I need to redo this workshop and stand up in where I fell, even to do it for free. I thought about people I left behind, I thought about songs I used to sing when I was young, so I secretly sing it in the garden during break. I thought about my job, my travel. I suddenly had a n urge that I want to go to back China every four months, to see my parents and my friends. I thought about lots of feelings that I thought I forgot, but it was there deeply in my heart, somewhere in my body, I don’t even know it exist, through the meditation, it all rise up, then I make myself peaceful again with it. Then I went to a mode of extreme happiness and peace. I opened my arm, reached out to the sun, because it is never so sunny in my world. I embraces the wind, the mountain, like I never did before. I wrote down lots of things matters to me but I’ve forget through my day to day job. I feel myself wants to fly.

Doing vipassana for 5 days is such a transformation journey that I finally changed thinking pattern from outward to inward, I connected to my body, truly feel my own feeling without any judgement and see everything happened to me in truth. So I do it while I sit, I do it while i walk, I do it even while I sleep. One night, I woke up in middle, so I can’t help but do it, when I scan through my shoulders, I feel it is so heavy that I hold on so many things on it, so I just told myself remove it, then I feel something hard on my shoulders are dissolving, until it is totally gone. When I scan through my heart, I feel something is heavy there, so I told myself, remove it. So I feel the heaviness is gone. The next morning, when I wake up, I found my body is so light, then I realize: this shit works!

During my meditation, I often think, I have not talk for 9 days, what will be my first word to say after I am allowed to talk. I never figured it out, then the seemingly long Vipassana came to the 9th days, it is the day after the morning meditation,then we are allowed to speak. The teacher first teach us a new meditation technique: Metasana, basically it is like sending out love and compassion to your surroundings and give them blessings. So I practiced, it is the first time I found out I am so powerful, I can spread lots of love out. Then we meditate and meditate, then I was waiting the teachers give us some word, some closing, just like I usually do when I do workshops, but they said nothing, just left after the meditation music is gone.

Then I sit there, don’t know what to do. The girl sit next to me said? Is this the end of Holy silent? I said, yes, now we can start holy gassip. Then people all realized that we can talk now, so they started to laugh, to talk, soon the room became really loud at the first time. I sit there, a question kept on play inside: Is this it? Is this the end? I can’t believe it? How come you gave me so much and you just said nothing and left? How dare you? Then I realize, it is actually nothing, nothing between me and my God. Nothing between me and my growth. It is my own work, never someone else. Through this, I learned that the highest state being a coach/teacher is to become a tool and let them learn it. You can never push it. Just give them the tool, let them learn it. After that, I started to cry, my tears just came out heavily. I almost wanted to shout. So people around me asked: Are you ok? I said, Yes, I am ok, I am just too happy. So I walked out of the meditation hall, I cried in the sun, near the tree, I am happy about my new stage of life. I knew that my 15% was healed completely, in a way I never thought of, I cry about I find myself back. I cry about my new learning. I cry about how beautiful this damn world is!

I cried almost an hour, then I took a hot shower, blow dry my hair and changed to a new clothes, because it was Jan 1st, the first day of the new year. I know I will have a fresh start!

Embrace ‘Negative Feelings’

Life is a journey, we will have lots of experiences. Human brains likes to categorize our experience into good experience or bad experience. For example, if we get promoted for job, we consider it is a good experience. If we lost money, we consider that is bad experience. But the truth is, who knows what is good and what is bad?

Usually we open our arm to welcome all the so called ‘Good Feelings’, like Love, Joy, Peace. We try to run away from ‘Negative feelings’, like fear, loneliness, sad. Whenever we see ourselves or friends experience negative feelings, we go into the problem solving mode: You should go out to meet more friends. You should stay outside more. Do more exercise. They are all good suggestions, but it is more like fixing. Since we don’t like to see ourselves in bad shape, so we run away from it as soon as we can. This morning, I received a letter from my coach Emily Peng. Definitely she has some great opinions about how to deal with ‘Negative Feelings’:

Don’t run away from the fear, loneliness, any feeling you dislike experiencing. They are our shadows of the soul. No one can shake off the shadows until you stop and bring them to the light. (here I mean the light of awareness). The paradox of change is that change only happens when you accept as it is. This is another opportunity for you to dive into the sea of emotions and fully experience the feelings. Your inner wisdom will guide you out of the water instead of the ways you currently are following. We are trying so hard to fix all the problems we create by our own originally.

I smiled when I saw her email. It takes courage to face our emotions. She even goes one step further to embrace it and learn from it. Great learning today!

After a bad hair cut…

Sometimes it is very interesting to witness myself. I constantly amazed by my reactions to things. Here is a recent example:

I went to a barber shop for deep conditioning, the barber recommended me to have a hair cut, since it is getting longer, so I agreed. After the hair cut, I realized that is not the style I want. But the hair can not grow back. What shall I do? I witnessed myself in several modes:

1. Self blame mode: After I came out of the barber shop, I started to have all kinds of reasons to blame myself. It is very interesting to see how easy the self criticize comes. One voice said: How come you are so random, you just let anyone cut your hair? Why you are so easy to trust other people. The other voice defended, we should go with flow, right? The hair is getting longer, we should cut it. But, the critic voice said, why not you find a better barber? Why today? Those two voices are quiet noisy for two weeks.

2. Problem solving mode: Since I am such a big fixer, once I realize the hair can not grow back in one night. All kinds of problem solving technique emerged: We should get a new hair brush, so that we can style it this way. Maybe a new hair gel. Maybe a new spray. Maybe color it. Maybe find another barber to fix it. I found that a bad hair cut is such a great way to stimulate economy. After I tried all kinds of ways, after i have so many new hair product in my bathroom but it doesn’t really help much. The fixer mode decided to give up.

3. Grief mode: I noticed that I gradually get into a mode of sadness. I feel sad about my hair, I am afraid that I am not looking good. I noticed myself don’t want to social much when this happens. Then I asked myself: Why you need to look good all the time? Why you need to always be in control? Are you allow yourself to look bad for couple months? What is good of looking good? Why it is so important to you? What matters of your hair with your identity?

4. Acceptance mode: After one month of struggling, I gradually get used to it. I accept good and bad part of hair as part of myself. It is by now, I am more peaceful. Then maybe a new thing comes in, then the circle begins again.

Is this experience sounds familiar to you? What did you learn about yourself from each incidence?