The story of a human being

I just finished reading a memoir yesterday. It was one of those night when it was already past my bedtime, but I couldn’t put the book down. Being deeply immersed, it was as if I’ve walked inside the story book, witnessing the unfolding of the author’s life. The intricacy and complexity of human experiences never cease to amaze me.

Many years ago, I landed a job at a Crisis Residential Treatment Program in San Francisco after receiving my Bachelor degree. Honestly, I was not consciously planning to become a counselor, or to work with this population. It just happened. 

It turned out to be the best entry I could ever imagine, into this profession, in the mental health field. Throughout the year, I had the privilege to listen to countless stories of human beings, from all walks of life – about their past, the predicaments, their dreams, and the regrets. Each of these meetings were truly special to me. I still remember some of these individuals, about the moments we shared. The terror and despair they’ve been through, and the opening of my heart and soul as I witnessed them recalling their journey, reclaiming their sense of self after tragic moments.

Too often we are so guarded and protective of ourselves that we miss the opportunities to connect, deeply with other human beings. We’ve been hurt, we carry our baggages from the past, we are afraid of being judged, we are too scared to open up. Yes, being vulnerable is scary. It brings up all the insecurities, all the pain and wounding we’ve accumulated in our life. But the loving connection that flows between human beings, as we open our heart and share our stories – raw and messy, but real nevertheless, is magical. As if a beautiful rainbow suddenly appear at the end of a storm. This connection embraces us with warmth and gentleness, with a sense of magical touch – which heals and fulfills our soul with sacred love.

I witnessed and participated in those magical moments – when a group of random humans came together, and shared their feelings, their hopes and dreams with each other. No fabrication, no facade, just real life, real story. And suddenly the group transformed – into a sacred circle. And we found out, we are more similar that we thought we were. As we bear witness to each other’s journey, our heart expand, our consciousness grow.

Being connected is a beautiful thing. But first we need to learn to listen. To truly listen to another human being means we need put our judgment and preconception to rest, even for just a moment. For it changes the energy in the interpersonal field, and open up the space for the other person to be themselves. For it sends a message that conveys acceptance and love. 

This is a gift we can keep giving to each other – the courage in sharing our own story and the willingness to listen. 

With Blessings.

 

 

 

In the flow of origami boats – finding joy and ease in difficult circumstances

I have this fond childhood memory of origami boats. I was too young to know or remember what actually happened, but from time to time there would be flooding – inches of water flowing right outside the door of our little home- the little studio apartment we lived in. And while the grown up were hustling around, attempting to scoop up all the water out there with plastic buckets, my brothers, sister, and I decided that we would keep ourselves busy folding origami boats. I remember how fun and magical it was, to be creating these boats from paper and putting out one after another little white origami boat on the water, and watched it float – effortlessly down the stream, passing through the feet of the grown up who were out there remedying the flooding situation, while the little boats waving hello to each of our neighbors. 

This is something I love about my family. It is this ability to find peace and calmness, to have a little fun, while going with the flow in life’s circumstances. Perhaps life hasn’t been easy for us when we were kids, but we were never stuck in hopelessness or excessive worries. Somehow, as far as I remember, we were always able to find a way out, through joy and laughter. Through the power of our imagination.

Yes, it might feel like an irony. To be folding origami boats while the city is flooding. But isn’t it also the best time to play, as well? The grown up might disagree, but the scene of white boats floating down the stream was quite serene and beautiful. It helps us to remember the essence of life – the intrinsic beauty and love in all situation, even when it wasn’t apparent. Yes, we could be easily baffled – by the frustration of things not going the way we want them to. But with a little twist, a little humor, we could create a vehicle, get in the flow, and shift our experiences completely. 

Young children often knows the secret of effortless being. It is when we became adult that we have forgotten how to be, and we try to grasp on to things as they are changing. And we get frustrated, upset at others, and throw a tantrum. We’ve lost touch with our soul – with the nature in our inner flow – where inspirations come effortlessly while we meet each moment with love and curiosity.

What can we bring to each moment – of life’s success and challenges? What kind of energy, what intention are we putting out there in the current of life? Perhaps if we can all remember that regardless of the circumstances, there’s always a choice in how we show up, and how we engage. We can start to realize that , even in difficult circumstances, we can still have a little fun, feel a little joy, and be at ease. People might think we are weird when we are dancing in the rain,  but the sense of freedom in flow is so worth it. And seriously, who cares what others think anyway? 

May you find lightness and joy in life’s circumstances. 

 

The Healing Power of Words – feelings, reflections, text therapy

I’ve experienced a sudden loss of a dear friend recently. It was horrible, tragic, and heartbreaking, to say the least. It was an unforgettable scene, with all of us being there, weeping, and talking ceaselessly to our unconscious friend at the ICU, I was once again reminded of the fragility, the impermanence of life. 

Yes, this human life is impermanent. This body that my soul is residing in will stop working one day, and decay. And what, what remains? 

The hardest part of witnessing the unconsciousness, and eventual death of someone you care about is that –  there’s nothing much you can do. The feelings of helplessness was extremely unpleasant, and strange. I guess, I am just so used to having controls, or living in the illusions that I have controls over situations.

Perhaps it was out of my habitual pattern, to stay busy and avoid facing my feelings, my heartache, and my grief, I started to put together a little photo book, as a little gift for his family. 

As I started to gather photos from my friends, to put together this album, I received one that feels very very special. It was a picture of a post-it note he had written. It was a powerful one, at least to me, to see his writing and to feel him again. It was as if his message in this little handwritten note somehow came alive. His spirit present, and we can almost hear him speak these words again. Who would’ve known that a little post-it note would hold such treasure?

I was suddenly reminded of the moment when I was at my father’s apartment alone, going through his belongings after he suddenly passed away. I was amazed, and my heart touched when I saw that he had kept a random message that I’ve written for him, as if it was a treasure. It was in that moment which I realized, that I mattered. It was a very healing moment for me as I tried to come to terms with his departure. 

Yes, I love to write. I love words. And I have even started working as a text therapist in addition to my more traditional practices. To be honest, I was very skeptical of the validity of text therapy before I gave it a try.  And now? I’m loving it, and I am amazed by the deep emotional process that happens between me and my clients, between the exchanges of written words. It is such a beautiful way in connecting and working through deep emotional wounds. 

P.S. If you’d like to work with me through text therapy, and/or remotely through video sessions, I am on the talkspace.com platform. Just request me when you talk to the matching therapist.  (You do have to be a California resident, though. As it is where I am licensed.)

May you be blessed with words.

The Sacredness in Impermanence – love, life & relationships

It is interesting how life unfolds some time. We just never know what will happen in the next second, the next moment. We can never predict who will stay, and who will spiral away. 

The apparently random circumstances bring people together, forming little communities, or soul tribes – for a more sacred term. When we were younger, we are usually surrounded by our birth families, or whoever raised us when we were children.  Or perhaps we grew up in spiritual communities, where we were connected to each other, in the shared love and faith of the beyond. And as we got a little older, we somehow gathered with our special groups, in the purpose of learning life’s lessons. These special groups were brought together as we happened to go to the same school, or work at the same place.

Perhaps I am romanticizing, but I like to think of these groups of special people as little soul families. As if there was a hidden soul contract we have agreed upon, to serve as a certain role in each other’s life. As if we were caught by the web of fate and casted away in the succulent garden, playing out the game of life. 

Human beings are funny,  we just take ourselves so seriously some times. In the meetings and mingling with others, we could experience some very extreme emotions and feelings. Love, hate, jealousy, irritation, frustration, admiration, thoughts such as “I can’t believe you did this.” , or feelings such as “I just can’t deal with you anymore.” All the feels from love and adoration, to hate and disgust. It is in relationships that we feel the full range of human emotions. 

It is in relating to each other that we grow, as we get to know ourselves better in each other’s presence. We support and cheer on each other as we face challenges and become our better self. We goof around, laugh and have a good time. We create memories and take pictures that remind ourselves of the special connection we shared.

 Was it really coincidence that we happened to meet each other, and become schoolmates, friends, colleagues, or families? I don’t think so. These connections in life are just too special and specific, in my opinion. And in the ebb and flow of life, even the most special connections goes through the cycle of converging and diverging. I have come to realize that, it is okay to ride though the waves of life – the many endings and beginnings. For it is the law of the universe , where change is the constant. And I trust that if we are meant to meet again, we will. For our soul will be attracted to each other, and our sacred connections will take form.

In life, or in dreams.

 

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.”  – William Blake

 

 

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