I just found this TEDx talk by Weiyang Xie dealing with shame. Her solution: practice compassionate self-talk. Shame is just a habit of negative self-talk. Being consistently kind to yourself can become a new habit.
I got this message, this feeling, a while ago, and I’ve had the consistent urge to record it. So here it is:
I am here for the Earth.
When I think about life purpose, this is what I get. It’s not only that I’m here to help the Earth, but I am here to be on Earth. It’s that simple. I just need to anchor in the energy that needs to be here. This sense goes hand in hand with my other one:
Spread love throughout the Earth.
Everything else is just a game. So I shouldn’t sweat it so much. My main job is to make time each day to connect to myself, to Heaven, and to Earth. The energy will take care of whatever needs to happen. My soul and my subconscious already know what to do. I don’t need to learn anything.
But, I do need to unplug from my phone, hehe (easier said than done nowadays). Doing clearing practices such and Dahnjon (energy center) Tapping, Intestine Exercise, Belly Button Healing, Jigam, Sleeping Tiger, Bowing, and all the other Brain Education exercises I’ve learned are really useful for clearing my mind and energy and helping me focus so that I can connect with my inner knowing and everything can work as it needs to. I’m very grateful for learning these and for Ilchi Lee for developing them.
While going through old folders, I discovered an essay I wrote that I can only guess was written in high school, perhaps for a college application. Reading it 25 years later, I am saddened by my writing ability and fear it hasn’t improved much. Actually, I have a lot of mixed feelings about the content of this essay, so I thought I would use this blog post to help me sort them out.
When I first read it recently, I was impressed at my level of consciousness. But then, as it sunk in, I was actually disappointed. It described a very positive attitude but also showed I was clearly not a leader. Every measure of success and self-help guru tells you that you should be a leader. What does that really mean for me? Should I change? Or should I recognize the value of how I instinctively want to act and contribute? And is how I’ve lived so far what I really want deep inside? Have I suppressed my leadership qualities because I fear expressing them would hurt others instead of help them? Have I tried to be a leader in the past and received disinterest, or even derision?
Let’s look at this essay again (I wish I knew the essay topic or question that I was responding to):
To be a complete person, to be valuable to myself, is my hope. By being a complete person, I can then be valuable to the people around me. I have known that to become a complete person, I would have to be consistently responsible and enthusiastic about life and work. I would also have to be considerate and conscientious with regard to others and to myself. This fulfilled and valuable person would be someone whom others can turn to in time of need. Throughout my life I have tried to nurture these qualities and have tried to develop my personality and talents to their highest potential.
Throughout my entire academic career, it has been important to me to conscientiously hand in all of my work on time. In elementary school, this was relatively simple. However, I learned in high school how difficult it can be to divide your time between schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and home life, and successfully complete everything. I felt, however, that in order to be the good student that I wanted to be, I would consistently have to hand in quality work. My teachers attest that I have.
As a member of the Stage Crew for Suffern High School’s Spring Musical in 1992, my contribution was to be always available to perform any task, and perform it to the best of my abilities. I could not hammer nails quickly enough to be of great help while the crew was building the sets; however, I performed small tasks such as fetching tools, carrying lumber, and helping to clean up afterwards. Then, while we were painting the sets, I meticulously painted whatever I was assigned to. Because I could be patient and paint a straight line, I was often asked to paint borders and small details. It was important to me to be a necessary part of the crew and the play. The work helped to give me confidence and to develop my abilities. It became a part of myself. When the dates of the performance drew near, the stage crew was asked to go to the practices in order to assimilate all of the aspects of the performance. I spent all of the day in school, not going home until ten o’clock at night. I ate dinner and did my homework during the time between stage crew and the practice. Because he knew I could be responsible, the director of the musical rewarded me by asking me if I would work one of the spotlights.
I dedicated myself to Suffern High School’s Swimming and Diving Team as well. I stayed for any optional meeting or event. I went to every event I could and tried to become more involved by volunteering to time the races in the meets or keeping score. I did anything someone told me to do, swim any race or perform any task, great or small.
To be consistent, conscientious, responsible, and enthusiastic means to be the complete person I value. This desire has influenced the work I have done. I set high ideals for myself and then tried to mold myself in their likeness. I cannot reach these ideals, but the mistakes I make are additional pieces of the puzzle that is myself.
I wonder . . . I think I did value these things, but in writing this essay, did I just think of things I was already doing, find examples of them in my life, and put them in the essay? What I mean is, was the picture the essay paints retroactive and subconscious? Maybe it wasn’t entirely subconscious. As I mentioned in my previous post, I really did try to be consistent and responsible in high school from the very beginning, which lead to great stress.
Maybe trying to decide whether I should put a feather in my cap or give myself a few lashes over what I wrote in high school isn’t a good approach. But it isn’t an entirely wrong approach either, because through my reaction to this essay, I am trying to decide what my values will be moving forward. As I was typing out the essay, however, I realized that I wasn’t approaching it from a zero point. My hangups may be interfering with my goal of realizing my values, and I should return to my center in order to see everything clearly. Instead of looking back at high school for my values, I should focus on the now and move forward.
But I feel better just having typed out that story here, because I’ve wanted to do it for a couple of months at least. I’ll thank the person I was in high school and say good-bye to her. Here’s to a new start!
Someone asked me to share about my high school experiences related to mental health. I was highly resistant to this at first, because I haven’t been in the mood to share lately. But I decided to take a stab at it. What would I actually share if I sat down to do it. Here goes . . . .
For most of my life, I’ve been shy and self-conscious to varying degrees. As it may be for many people, high school was a pressure cooker. It was a time of rapid growth, and that growth felt like it was being done in a fishbowl; everyone can see you and judge you. That may not be true, but that’s what it felt like at the time.
I wasn’t a popular kid, but I had some good friends that I liked. I could never understand why they liked me, but I was always grateful that they did. I’d take it. I was always like that, which sounds kind of pathetic when I write it. But I genuinely liked and admired these people, so I guess it’s OK. And some of them (not all), like me, didn’t party, drink, date, or any of that stuff. It was like a never been kissed club for a while. So we had each other to do things that we actually liked.
I was pretty good in school and could get top grades most of the time if I put in effort. I liked learning and I liked listening in class. I’ve never really liked studying, but until high school and college, I could get away with just listening in class, doing the homework, and reviewing the things that needed to be memorized. I was socially rewarded for doing well in school and proud of that.
I went to a small parochial school through eighth grade and then attended the local public high school. So my freshman year, I was suddenly thrown into a big pond with lots of strangers. I really wanted to do everything—and do it well. My Earth Science teacher emphasized consistency in order to do well. So I spent my freshman year in a constant state of stress. Although I fell asleep at night easily because I was tired, I was even stressed while I slept. I had picked up so many balls and I was afraid of letting even one of them drop just a little for fear of what that would mean. Would it mean I was incompetent? Would I even have a future if I can’t handle this? It felt like a time that would define my life. I was stretching myself so much, trying new things, while not knowing at first who really liked me and whether I was good enough. So of course I was stressed. I had no sense of security or safety outside of my family. My family was helpful, but even that had limitations.
I realize now that it was natural to feel stressed, and that I don’t need to be stressed about being stressed. But at the time, I thought that maybe I was bad, because everyone else seemed to be handling life with relative ease and even seemed to have fun sometimes. And everything seems bigger and more dramatic when you’re younger, growing, and subject to hormonal fluctuations than when you have some experience and your life and body have stabilized.
My first semester freshman year of high school, it got to the point where I even broke down crying during our swim team practice. So my wise and warm-hearted coach recommended I visit the school counselor. I started seeing her regularly, and it was helpful. At one point, she pointed out that I was not only taking on my own problems, but felt like I was responsible for everything and everyone around me. I laughed out loud with relief at that and started to chill out more. That was a big relief for me.
Of course, with time, I got used to high school. It was a lot of work, and I was still trying to to better, but I wasn’t having emotional breakdowns like my freshman year, when I felt like I had no time to stop or think or feel. I became at least a little more confident socially and academically, although I did have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after having a mild Epstein Barr infection my junior year.
By the end of high school, though, I was so burnt out. After college, I was even more burnt out, and that memory has made me resistant to making something so important that I feel too burned out. Burning out, though, makes you slow down. That taught me that slowing down or not doing well is not the end of the world. Life goes on. So you always have a choice.
One thing I can say is that although I was self-conscious, I was looking for my own values in high school, exploring what I wanted to value. My teachers, family, friends, and the media influenced that, but it was a calculation my brain was constantly making without my explicitly asking it to. I was trying to figure out my world. It wasn’t like I was only trying to fit in, although I did try to some extent. But I also wanted to express myself and be seen as who I was (which I thought was a fixed thing at the time). So I was resistant to changing myself too much for others. I’m still like that today, although I’ve become a bit more flexible.
Nowadays, I still want to do well yet never feel like I am. I also retained my tendency to take responsibility for everything, although I end up actually taking responsibility for nothing. But now I have tools—Brain Education tools. Through Brain Education, I’ve realized that my desire to take care of everything is a natural desire of my soul, which is connected to everything. Brain Education taught me that if I keep my energy full and bright, I can handle that responsibility. And by keeping my energy full and bright, I’m actually fulfilling that responsibility. I’ve also learned that if stay consciously connected to myself and the universe, the energy I need for my intentions will come to me. I also know how to gather that energy in my body in a way that let’s me use it effectively. When I do this, I don’t need to worry so much about burning out.
On my Brain Education journey, I’ve been able to discover my true self and true value, which is independent of my environment, including other people’s thoughts and opinions. It’s even independent of my own thoughts and opinions! Having a visceral experience of this has helped me tear myself away from any self-flagellation I may initiate out of habit, hormones, or low energy levels.
I wonder . . . how would my high school years have gone if I’d known Brain Education then?