Loving Your Weakness

When I was growing up, I always disliked my sensitiveness. I always thought it was my weakness. It seemed male around me did not feel as much as I did, or care about other’s feelings as much as I did.

Good and bad, strong and weak, and right and wrong are all our judgments. It is our creation. Rainy day is not good or bad inherently. Our judgment of good and bad about rainy day is contextual. If you are having a job interview and the parking space is far from the building where you have the interview, you may see the rainy day as bad. If you are a farmer who is growing crops, you may see the rainy day to be good especially after not having much rain.

A bamboo tree is very flexible and grows fast while an oak tree is very rigid and takes time to grow. Wood from the oak tree can be used for a structure of a building but a bamboo may not be suitable for it. Every person has different qualities that may be suitable in a situation and may not be suitable in another.

Although you may consider your quietness, introvertedness, or being emotional as your weakness, those exact qualities can be also strength as well.

Your stubbornness is your determination. Being sensitive is being caring. Being emotional is being understanding.

This is why comparing yourself with another is useless, especially if you ended up feeling like you are less worthy or less whatever (less beautiful, less smart, etc.).

You have what you have. You are what you are. Whether it is your body, mind, or spirit, you got what you got from the Universe (or God).

Instead of feeling less desirable by comparing, just count what you have. Your generosity, kindness, determination, and compassion.

Love them with all of your heart.

Out Of Love

It does not matter how much money you make, how much contribution you make to a non-profit organization, how many hours you volunteer, unless you love yourself and are happy because whatever you do is just to mask and cover up your unhappiness (fear) rather than sharing you and your talent purely out of love.

Think about tax. We pay tax. Do we like it? Most of us probably say no. Then, why do we? Because we don’t want to get in trouble with IRS. In other words, we do it to avoid a negative consequence. Do we have a choice not to pay? Yes. Definitely. But we don’t like the negative consequence of not paying tax. So we do it out of fear.

What if we can change our thinking? We could think we pay tax because we want to. We want to contribute to having public services. We want to contribute to having smooth paved roads and highways. When we do it because we want to, and when we say (put into words) we want to, our attitude changes. We no longer have resentment of “have to” in our action.

There is no “have to” in this world. If you don’t want to, just don’t. Who cares what other people say? Just do what you want to do.

Up to this moment, we have chosen what we wanted. Always. Even when we said “I have to,” we chose the option because it was what we wanted. Even if we are under duress, we choose to oblige because we don’t want the negative consequence, thus we are choosing what we want.

Think about what we do day to day. Are we choosing it because we want to? Or awe we choosing it because we want to avoid something negative?

Then, think about how we think about ourselves. Are we great? Or are we bad? Are we happy? Or are we unhappy? So if we are doing things to make ourselves not feel unhappy, because otherwise we feel unhappy about ourselves, we are just masking the real issue.

So let us start within us. Let us face ourselves. Let us work on the issue we have. Let us be happy with who we are authentically and completely. Let us act out of love.

Out of love, we would truly contribute to the world.

Have Fun

When I was working at a farmers market to sell my handmade jewelry over the weekend, I had a moment to sit and think when I was not busy. I was under the pop-up canopy tent and sitting in the heat. Although it was hot, there was some breeze going through. When I looked up, I can see the sunlight coming through the branches and leaves of trees.

 

And I thought, “This is fun.”

 

I never thought I would have a booth with the pop-up canopy tent at the farmers market even two years ago. Nor I thought about having fun while working. It didn’t feel like working, but rather enjoying being outdoor.

 

Not that I love Texas heat in August, I still appreciated the fact that I am working, not in the office without windows, but out in the open under the tent, selling what I created with love. I felt like things were going well, especially when I was having fun.

 

I often hear professional athletes having a great performance when they let themselves have fun. Most recently I saw Tom Daley, who is a diver from UK, talking about making himself have some fun during the competition, which consequently lead him to become the world champion after disappointing performance in the Rio Olympics.

 

How is your life? Are you having fun? I am not just talking about your job. Are you having fun while cooking? Are you having fun while driving? Are you having fun while taking a shower?

 

When you are working towards your goals and what you want, it’s good that you have a specific vision about them. But if you are too strict, too focused, too rigid in your thinking, you may possibly be making your chance and opportunities to make them come true smaller.

 

It is okay for us to have fun while we work hard towards our goals. Having fun and working towards our goals are not mutually exclusive.

 

So let us take big deep breaths.

Let us immerse ourselves in this moment.

Let us have fun.

Big time.

Actions Open Doors

Why do we get stuck? In my opinion, we get stuck because we don’t move from where we stand. We stay where we are and think, think, and then think.

 

Why do we stay in the same spot?

 

Sometimes we are complacent. We are comfortable with the same routine. We are comfortable staying in our comfort zone. We are comfortable having the same people around us all the time.

 

Sometimes we are afraid. We are afraid to face the reality. We are afraid to fail. We are afraid to discover what we can and who we are (and consequently what we cannot and who we are not).

 

Sometimes that is all we know. We think that is all there is to it. We think we have reached our limit. We think there is nothing else out there. Or at least we make ourselves believe it.

 

I am not saying thinking is bad. You may list pros and cons of your plan. You may evaluate strengths and weaknesses. You may consider opportunities and threats.  However, without taking an action, nothing progresses. Nothing.

 

Actions open doors because taking an action leads you to a new learning.

 

Without lifting something heavy, you won’t know how strong you are.

Without running, you won’t know how capable your body is to sustain the cardiorespiratory activity.

Without communicating how you exactly feel, you won’t know what it is like to be understood by others.

Without climbing a mountain, you won’t know what a view at the summit looks like.

Without going abroad, you won’t know what is so unique about your own country.

Without asking questions, you won’t get to know the answers.

 

Without taking an action, the rate of your progress is zero 100% of the time.

 

So let us take a deep breath.

Let us have courage to try.

Let us have a faith in ourselves.

And just go dive in.

Once In A Lifetime

Every moment we have in our lives is an once-in-a-life-time opportunity.

There is a Japanese saying “ichigo-ichie.” This came from the Japanese tea culture where people gathered to share green tea in a small building that was made for that reason. Those people who showed up were not the same every time so each gathering was once in a life time to be present with each person. Thus, the saying was to teach they should treat that moment as if it is their last to be with those who were present.

We are so used to live our lives unaware of how precious each moment is in our day-to-day lives. We put off things. We think we can do it tomorrow. We think we can say what need to say next time.

Then, we face a terminal disease in someone. We lose someone we feel close to. We experience a tragedy. We remember our life is not guaranteed. We don’t have forever.

Unfortunately soon after the realization, we go back to our regular routine.

Whether we are feeling grateful or upset, that moment is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because the same moment and experience will never come back.

So let us appreciate each moment and what we are experiencing at that specific time.

This is our once-in-a-life-time opportunity to get frustrated with traffic.
So we get to practice mindfulness and patience and we can feel grateful when there is no traffic.

This is our once-in-a-life-time opportunity to get mad at our bosses.
So we get to know what we want in leadership and we can feel grateful when there is a good and caring boss.

This is our once-in-a-life-time opportunity to get injured or sick.
So we get to learn how to take care of ourselves and we can feel grateful when we feel great.

Each moment is giving us a choice.
Choice to feel grateful.
Choice to be aware.
Choice to live our lives in the way we want.

Be Happy with What You Believe

Each of us has grown up with a certain sense of spirituality whether it came from a religion in your household, your personal value, and life experiences.

Doing what I do as a psychic medium, I often meet clients who have struggled with their own sense of spirituality mostly because what they come to believe or discover from their life experience may not agree with what they were taught when they were young.

I am not here to criticize nor make a judgment about a religion or spirituality. But I would rather like to suggest something to help you understand your own faith: consider your faith to be fluid and flexible.

I believe each of our own human experiences shapes who we are. It changes us because we experience something new and we learn about us. We are not to stay the same forever. We are not to be in the same emotional space forever. As we change and grow as a person, our concept of who we are changes emotionally and spiritually.

It might be comforting to believe faith is something that has been written in stone with what you need to do and should do as guidance. However, when one statement about spirituality is considered true to a person, the same statement may not be considered true for another person, because each person is uniquely different and no one on this earth will have the same emotional and spiritual experiences.

So let us give ourselves permission to change what we believe. Let us be free to believe what we want to believe. Because in the end, what matter is you being happy with what you believe by believing what you want to believe.

Making Allies

As a psychic medium, I often get asked if I get scared (or used to get scared) when I see a ghost or sense a spirit.

When I was a kid, I was often frightened by seeing or sensing a spirit as I had no clue why they were there. Now I get startled when I am not expecting but I rarely get scared as spirits have been part of my daily life.

I want to share some tips dealing with spirits. Obviously, these are just from my experiences, so they might not apply to all situations. Also, these are meant to eliminate some of your fears, and not intended for you to go ask for some negative energy to mess with.

When you feel a spirit is not nice or you don't want spirits to be there, especially in your home, you can tell them to leave and go away. You can act as if they are regular people. If guests show up unannounced or uninvited, you would tell them to leave. The same goes with spirits.

It is okay for you to tell spirits not to startle you or scare you. I used to get images or feelings that were shocking or scary, so I told them to show me a bit less shocking images, which worked for me.

When in need, you can ask spirits of your loved ones (who are on the other side) to help you. You can ask them to protect you from unwanted energies and to help you remove unwanted energies.

In addition to your loved ones, you can ask your house, car, furniture, etc. to be your ally. Everything is energy. If you want to be protected, you can ask whatever you have to be your protector. I tell my car, Henry (he told me that is his name), to take me safely to a destination, and also thank him for keeping me safe after driving. It is important to show your gratitude for what they do for you.

I hope these tips are helpful. You don’t need to scared. Moreover, you don't want to attract more fearful energy by being scared. Make yourself happy and make your house happy (whether by decorating with what you love or by painting with colors you love). That is your best protection.

A Matter Of How

The other day, I had a conversation with someone that involved me coming out as a psychic medium to that person. As usual, I got the questions of “How long have you been doing this?”, “When did you know that you have the gift?”, and “Do you really really see the spirits?”

And at one point, she said, “I don’t think I can do that (talking to spirits)” after telling me that she has felt a spirit in the past.

I replied, “I think you can if you practice.”  I told her about the sixth sense. The phone call you get from a friend just right after you think of her. Knowing that your family member is ill/sick/in need without talking to him directly. That sort of things. She said, “But those are coincidences.”

After saying, “I don’t believe in coincidences,” I told her I believed everyone has a psychic sensitivity, and that with practice anyone can develop psychic skills by unlearning what they have learned.

That conversation made me think. I thought about the story we tell ourselves in regards to what we can do and what we cannot do.

For instance, you love music. You may see a musician who plays a guitar. You want to learn to play a guitar.

Learning to play a guitar is always possible. What you want is always possible.

Then, you think of “how” part of learning to play a guitar. When you think of how you are going to learn to play a guitar, you may think, “I don’t have time (how often can I practice?),” “I am not talented (how good can I be?),” “I don’t have money to pay someone to teach me (how do I pay for it?),” etcetera, etcetera.

Just think about it. You may not be the greatest guitar player or famous guitar player. But you can still learn to be a guitar player. Being the greatest or famous may not be what you want, anyway. It does not matter how slow you learn. It does not matter whether you learn from someone or by yourself. You can always decide your “how” that fits you the best.

So don’t let “how” be the reason not to pursue what you want. Like there are so many ways to get to point A to point B, there are so many ways to achieve what you want. It is just a matter of “how” you need to figure out that best fits you.

(Posted on Newsletter)

Peel Your Onion

As I may have mentioned before, often the messages I deliver to my clients are the exact things I need to hear. Additionally, sometimes how my clients react to messages that I am delivering is the exact thing I need to see. 

There was a few readings with different clients who acknowledged what I was saying and replied, “I have already dealt with that.” And yet the spirits told me to re-emphasize the same messages because there were more to “deal with” for the clients.

Recently, I was reminded of how my childhood pains, fears, and insecurities still creep up here and there in my life for me to further work with them and to release myself from those pains.

When I was a child, my parents were not necessarily the parents who took care and helped children solve their emotional issues. I always felt that I just needed to take care of myself because I just didn’t find my parents helpful in many situations including when I was dealing with a bully and when I had my money taken by another kid.

And to be honest, I have had worked on those issues to release myself rom those pains, fears, and insecurities. But what I am realizing is that those pains, fears, and insecurities may be like tattoos that you want to remove. Just because you go thorough the laser tattoo removal treatment one, the skin does not go back totally blank as it used to be. (For those who might be wondering, I don’t regret about any of my tattoos!)

However, at the same time, the fact those pains, fears, and insecurities pops up in our life in different situations may be a sign that we are peeling our onions; we are making a progress as long as we feel lighter every time we work on them.

So keep working on peeling your onion. Keep working on those issues that come up. As long as we keep working on them, we can move forward and become lighter. 

Count Your Blessings

(Posted on Newsletter)

If you have ever get a reading or session from me, most likely you may have heard me talk about thinking about and doing what makes you happy.

"Count your blessings."

It is not just a saying to make you just appreciate things you have. It is actually a practice that train your brain to focus on what you want.

Watch this YouTube video (https://youtu.be/ELpfYCZa87g). Our brain has a capacity to change our neuropahways. That's how we can bring a new change in us. 

Let's say you decide to start a new workout resumen. For a while, it takes a bit more effort to think about what you are doing (let's say body weight squat). You think about how to stand, what part of your feet you put your weight on, how to execute the squatting movement, and how to breathe.

In the same way, it takes some effort for you to change your thought pattern. 

Why am I talking about thought pattern? Because we are so used to complaining. Talking about what we don't want. Talking about what we don't like.

Think about your last conversation that you had. Did you talk about what makes you happy or what makes you unhappy? What about the previous conversation before the last? What about the one before?

If we want what makes us happy in our life, we want to talk about what makes us happy. If we want what we want (goals, relationships, money, etc.), then we want to talk about what we want.

In order to make what we want come to us, we want to focus on what we already have. Because focusing on Have's bring more Have's in the future.

Avoid talking about Not-Have's. Avoid comparing yourself with others. If someone has what you want, and be happy for them to have what you want. Being happy brings more "being happy." Thinking about Have's brings more Have's in your life (it does not matter who has it).

So count your blessings. When you do that, you can only think about what you have. You cannot be thankful for what you don't have.

Practice makes permanent.

Taking Time For Yourself

(Posted on Newsletter)

Like many people for whom I do the reading, I grew up with the mentality of “go, go, go!” Somewhere along the way, I picked up this expectation that I need to be working hard constantly to achieve what I want.

On one side, this mentality got me what I wanted in terms of my education (1 doctorate, 2 master’s, and 1 bachelor’s degrees) and certifications/credentials in the fitness and wellness field as well as in the metaphysical world.

On the other side, I always felt guilty for taking time off or doing nothing. I always felt the need to be productive and to be doing something. I was the hamster on a wheel. Just running, running, and running to no end.

As I became a self-employed intuitive/psychic medium (and also grew up as more aged human being), my body just made me rest, rest, and rest by not recovering quickly, especially after I had emotional readings back to back. I always get drained when I am with people all the time as a typical introvert. But being emotional in some of the readings is always taxing for my body.

It was such an adjustment for me to change my mindset to feel okay with resting, because I just kept thinking I was not productive or I was just being lazy. However, I started to realize I am actually being productive by doing nothing because my body is getting recharged.

When I communicate the message to my clients saying they need to take care of themselves before taking care of others by using an example of the oxygen mask on an airplane (“please put your mask first before you help others to put theirs on.”), I know the message that I am communicating to my clients is also for me. My guides are using those opportunities to tell me to take care of myself first.

So let us take care of ourselves without feeling guilty. Let us enjoy being where we are. Let us enjoy being productive by resting. Let us listen to ourselves, our bodies, and our souls.

Thank you. I love you.

Opposition vs. Competition

(Posted on Newsletter on 5/17/17)

I was reading a book called “Medicine Woman” written by Lynn V. Andrews as I am very fascinated with the Native American Culture, specifically Medicine Man/Woman/Healer/Shaman in their culture. I came across the concept of opposition and competition.

In the book, Lynn writes about her conversations with Agnes Whistling Elk, who is her mentor, and Agnes talks about how great it is to have an opponent. Because you having an opponent makes you work hard, horn your skills and grow, so you can be a worthy opponent to another worthy person. And in the process, you are learning and growing.

She adds, “In true opposition, there’s nothing to gain or lose. You can only benefit. If you start think that you and the opposition are mutually supporting, you can lose a lot. You can’t depend of your opponent. You can only depend on yourself. No one is going to save you.”  Further, she states,

“Competition is self-centered, but opposition is ennobling.”

“What an eye-opening concept!” So, I thought. The book mentions you don’t want your opponent to fail, because then, you will lose your model. I have heard so many athletes in their interviews talks about their focus on bettering themselves in their skills and strategies to beat an opponent.

In a way competition always includes comparison. It’s the nature of competition because it will produce a winner.  For me at least it made sense when I read competition is self-centered and opposition is ennobling. Is it important for me to win over someone or be better compared to someone or is it more important for me to be better than me yesterday? My answer was the latter.

Vishen Lakhiani, who is an entrepreneur, author, and speaker, talks about 3 questions to ask when it comes to your life goals. Instead of making goals of having a specific job, specific amount of money, and specific credentials, which are based on the cultural concept of security and safety net, he suggests creating goals based on 3 questions of 1) “what experience do I want to have?”, 2)  “how do I have to grow?” in order to have those experiences, and 3) “how can I contribute to the world?” He states that this way of goal making leads to fulfillment.

I believe any and all of our life experiences exist in our lives so we can make a choice to grow ourselves. Without difficulty, hardships, and/or pain, we are less likely to learn with an experience, change ourselves, and grow.

So let us ask the question; “how can I grow from this moment?”

Then, we can make a choice in the way we want to get what we want in our lives.

Thank you and I love you.

You Are In Charge of Your Healing

(Posted on Newsletter on 5/9/17)

Everyone goes through tough time. Everyone has some past stories that are not shared with others. We often get stuck in life where it seems like anything that we do won't matter.

As we went through our life experiences, we learned that we have rules to follow, expectations to meet, and borders we should not cross. Whether those were created by others or ourselves, to some extent, those rules, expectations, and borders kept us feel safe or feel we belong to a group.

As we get older and learn more, those rules, expectations, and borders start limiting us, keeping in our comfort zone, and prohibiting our growth.

It is up to us to start questioning our values, beliefs, and assumptions that created those rules, expectations, and borders. Each of us can create a new set of values, beliefs, and assumptions that actually match what we hold to be true.

However, it takes a courage to take down those walls of rules, expectations, and borders, because we have been so used to it. It is like jumping into a cold water. As we jump in, the cold water takes our breath away, we need to concentrate on breathing and staying afloat.

As we get used to the cold water, we feel the freedom of letting go. Letting go of those rules. Letting go of those expectations. Letting go of those borders.

No one else can jump into the cold water for you. No one can ever take down those walls for you. No one can experience life for your soul to grow, except you.

You are in charge. You are in charge of making your decision. You are in charge of taking an action. You are in charge of your own healing.

I am here to tell you: "I am here for you" and "I love you."

Get Outside

(Posted on the Newsletter on 3/23/17)

I have been under the weather a little bit lately. When you are not feeling well, it is easy to go down the spiral of not feeling good.

Yes, a part of me wanted to stay home and not move much because I was not feeling well, but another part of me was getting an itch to get out and move.

So I decided to go to White Rock Lake to be outside. It was a bit windy. As I sat by water, I could feel the splash on my legs. I could feel the warmth from the Sun. When I closed my eyes, I only heard the sound of wind and water.

It was so refreshing. I knew I definitely needed the time to be alone outside in nature.

Energetically speaking, it is important for us to spend time in nature. We are all connected to nature. Our urban environment filled with concrete and asphalt is not suitable for our energy body. There are many scientific benefits of being outside (http://www.businessinsider.com/scientific-benefits-of-nature-outdoors-2016-4).

So if you are feeling down, exhausted, stuck, lethargic, please find time to be alone in nature. You will find yourself again when you are surrounded by trees, flowers, and birds.

Change Your Life with an Action!

(Posted on Newsletter on 3/14/17)

Have you ever tried to make yourself healthier? You may have done some eating habit changes or exercise habit changes. In order to change your life, an action needs to be taken.

I always use this analogy. If you want to learn how to ride a bike, you need to do the action of riding a bike. Debating which bike to buy, thinking about all the places where you want to ride a bike, learning about how to ride a bike by reading a book or watching other people ride a bike would not and will not ever make you better at riding a bike.

Some of us are perfectionist, but we cannot be perfect at all with the first attempt. Some of us cares about how we look, but we cannot get better at what we do, just by carefully selecting a perfect opportunity or perfect outfit. Some of us are very research-minded, but gaining head knowledge or book knowledge will not get us anywhere.

So let us take an action to work towards what we want in life. Maybe for you it is to love yourself wholeheartedly, to forgive someone, or to practice meditation. Whatever it is, it is a daily routine and practice that get us towards what we want.

Narrow Ladder

(Posted on FB on 3/2/17)

It took a while for me to decide to write this post. This topic has been on my mind for a while. Maybe it took a while because I have no clue what the solution is.

Since I was young, I was very motivated. I knew what I wanted and always got myself on the path to get what I wanted in my life.

I remember that I want to take on languages and go abroad when I was in middle school. I watched a lot of movies which of them were often foreign films. Whether I watched them in theater or at home, it was either dubbed over or subtitled. The reason I wanted to study languages was just so that I could watch those movies in their original languages.

I went to a university in Japan to study English (and other languages). I went for about 2 years. There were some aspects I enjoyed, but mostly I was not excited about what I was learning and how I was learning. I didn’t care about the history of international relations that is taught by a Japanese professor speaking in English (which was really awful). Another one I didn’t like was English Literature. This professor gave us a handout of a few pages from “The Adventure of Tom Sawyer” and just discussed what was going on.

I realized a language is just a tool. Speaking English is great but I didn’t want to learn to speak English just to speak it. I had a part time job at a fitness club while in college in Japan. Eventually, that’s what I wanted to learn. So I researched universities in the States to study Exercise Science.

I came to the United States, took a major in Exercise Science in undergrad, went on to a grad school to major in Wellness Management. I worked for higher education institutions as staff managing fitness and wellness programs. I have gained working experiences, certifications, and presentation experiences. In the mean time, I got a doctorate in Education, thinking I would like to teach at a college level someday.

When I didn’t want to manage fitness and wellness programs any longer, I took a job as a lecturer. This was the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to teaching faculty positions at a college. No tenure, no research requirement but also no fund or time for research, and no place to move up to.

Anytime I looked for another faculty position, it required research background as well as “securing external funding for research” experience. Sometimes a position required a very narrowly specified experience such as “research experience working with cardiac rehab patients” or “research experience working with elderly population.”

Maybe those job postings were written just to hire a specific internal candidate they had in mind already, and this job posting process was just a formality. Whether that was the case or not, I felt I was totally defeated for the lack of those specific experience requirements.

I have two Master’s degrees and a doctorate degree. And yet, I felt like I was such a loser. I felt stuck.

No matter how much of positive self-talk, there was always this standard I was measured against and I always fell short. Obviously, this was entirely in my head. But at the same time, there was no external affirmation or validation that I was a good candidate.

As I am introvert, I am naturally an observer. I notice subtle things. I pay attention to facial expressions and body language.

When I was in that environment of academia, here were my questions I wanted to ask others who were in it. Are you happy? Can you die today without any regrets? Is how you perceived much more important than how you feel? Can you tell honestly your kids you did the best you can as you tell them to do so?

Then, I realized these were my questions for myself. Am I really happy? Can I die today without any regrets? The answer was no.

So I exited. I exited this world of endless systematic rat race. I am not sure how much of my story of experience in the higher education field is applicable to other fields of professions, but I think it is common.

Somehow our society got so much better at narrowing our focus on just one specific knowledge field and experience, just so that we can keep the machine working more efficiently and effectively.

But I don’t believe we, as human beings, are just limited to do the work, get tired, and sleep. Where is our organic and authentic sense of curiosity, exploration, learning, and reflection? Where is our genuine connection beyond what we can see, our imagination, and our creativity? What about vulnerability, honesty, and cooperation?

As I said, I don’t have the solution. For me, one solution was not to be a part of the system that produces the things I don’t want in my life. Maybe it is working. Maybe not.

Please ask me when I die how it all turned out. At least for now, I don’t have to regret for not trying.

Constant Comparison

(Posted on FB on 2/28/17)

I grew up in Japan. Now I am in early 40s so I am not sure how much of what I experienced as a child/adolescent still exists as I have lived in the U.S. for the past 20 years or so.

I remember going to a cram school/tutoring school (called “Juku”) in the evening after going to a public school during middle school. In Japan, we take an entrance exam to go to a high school. Within a school district in a city, there are high schools, which are also ranked from the most academic to a low academic occupational high school.

I remember taking mock entrance exams that made us practice taking tests in the cram school. Every time we did this, the score of our test results were posted in the hallway. So I knew exactly where I stood among my peers.

I ended up going to the most academic high school within my district after getting a good score in the entrance exam. Even at this public high school, our test scores of mid term and finals got posted in the hallway. So after each exam we waited in the hallway to see our ranking posted.

I am not sure if that is the only thing that made me or influenced me to compare myself with others (I am sure there are much more), but consciously and unconsciously I picked up the habit of constant comparison.

Even after I came to the States, I wanted to be the one with more certifications, more experiences, and more connections besides getting a degree.

Now out of a full-time employment, I have gained a new worldview. Even prior to my resignation, I knew I was a very unique individual, who was authentic enough that I could not continue what and how I was doing. And especially after my resignation, I came to the realization of how I thought and how I saw the world was so limiting.

When I was with the full-time employment, I thought I was doing fine and I was doing what I was supposed to do. Until it became suffocating. Everything I was doing became suffocating because there was always an element of comparison. This employee is better than this one. This teacher is better than this one. There was always some score of measurement. I told myself time and time again I was not just a number and I was much more than a score.

Even outside of my full-time work, I compared. Whether it was about salary, or accomplishment, the mindset of constant comparison stayed in my personal life.

Now I am a recovering comparison-aholic. I am not surrounding myself with a system of comparison. Day to day, I make a conscious decision not to compare and just accept things as they are and who I am as I am. Without the system existing in my life, it is a bit easier and a bit more freeing.

So now I can officially attest that comparison is a killer of joy.

Embrace The Feeling

(Posted on FB on 2/26/17)

I have dealt with depression for most of my life. I have never been clinically diagnosed, but I always had it in my life. A while back, I decided to take only cold shower which helps me tremendously. I keep a regular routine of enough sleep and eating habit because I feel worse when I am not sleeping well or eating well.

Recently I became more accepting of the fact I have depression. I realized just because I experience depression time to time, it does not mean I am a depressed person. I am rather a happy-go-lucky person. I am not a sad person. I just experience depression time to time.

I used to think that I needed to make myself happy when I get depressed. I used to force myself to got outside of my room and meet people, thinking it would get me out of my low mood. I usually got so emotionally tired from doing that and did not feel any better.

Now I am realizing that may be it is okay to just embrace the feeling of my low mood. Instead of forcing myself to do something to make myself feel happy, I can just observe. Observe my feeling. Savor it.

When I am observing, I am not making a judgment about it or putting a label whether it is good or bad, productive or unproductive, healthy or unhealthy. I just feel the feeling. No judgment.

Funny thing is that I always thought being in this low mood was bad, unproductive, and unhealthy. I have no clue where I got those impressions. But at the same time, I was rather alone in my introvert nature when I was growing up. People around me was outgoing and loud and I have never seen other people spending time in solitude or making a conscious effort to be alone.

I know I am okay. I am doing fantastic.  At least now I know I don’t need to struggle to get out of my low mood. Because I know eventually I get out of it. Maybe my body is giving me the low mood as a time for me to count what I have and my blessings, and to make a choice of what I want.

Reading has been, is, and most likely will be my best friend. It has helped me tremendously when it comes to understanding myself. I just need a book when I am in the low mood moment.

So feel the feelings you feel. Embrace them. There is no right or wrong feeling.