Days 323 and 324

Moments of Clarity

I’ve had two wonderful days that have served as reminders of my own brilliance. By brilliance I mean that part of me, which I believe all beings on Earth possess, that is connected to Source energy and that manifests as the steady, calm, confident voice of my true Self. She spoke often over the past couple days, and I listened, and I feel as if I am getting closer to believing her.

Yesterday was day two of the two-day English camp at which I taught. On that day, the students interviewed us teachers. The students were separated into groups of seven or eight, and each teacher was assigned to a different group. The students took turns asking the teachers questions about themselves and their countries. One of the students in my group asked me, “Do you have a dream?”, and it was as if a switch turned on in my head. With absolutely conviction I said, “I want to write lots of books that help people achieve their dreams, and I want to travel around the world teaching people how to make their lives better.” It felt as if it was completely out of the blue, I hadn’t fully articulated my dream before that moment, but when I spoke I knew it was exactly what I was meant to do. All of my soul searching had led me to that point of crystal clarity which allowed me to answer the question, “Do you have a dream?”

I was filled with gratitude for the opportunity that moment gave me to articulate exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I was filled with a sense of purpose and unwavering confidence that I was on the right track. I felt excited and determined, and uplifted. I felt like I was in total alignment with my life’s purpose, and it felt fantastic.

I know it was my true Self speaking when I answered the student’s question, and I wanted to have that feeling of clarity and self-assurance a little longer. However, I haven’t gotten there yet. Luckily,I experienced it again during a coaching session I had this evening. She spoke again with clarity and conviction reminding me of who I am and of my purpose. Again, I reiterated my desire to write and to tour the world spreading my message of unconditional love, compassion, and validation. When I declared my life’s purpose again, I felt empowered and certain that I could make my dream a reality, or rather it was the knowledge that my dream was not a dream but a glimpse of who I am, and the promise of coming to terms with that, accepting that, and owning that.

So, who am I? I’m L’Shawn-a work in progress with the promise of brilliance.

May you find that brilliance and hold on to it.

More to come.

Peace.

Day 322

Today’s lesson

Nothing really remarkable to report about today. It was my first day teaching a two-day English Camp for junior high school girls. Lately, I’ve been feeling rather inadequate as a teacher. I often compare myself to my ambitious colleagues and find myself lacking. I’m not doing enough research, or publishing enough articles, or attending enough conferences. I don’t have a teaching niche in which I can claim to be an expert. So I have a low opinion of my quality of teaching.

However, today stepping out of my routine and seeing myself in different teaching context, I felt differently. I was reminded that if I really look at myself and my abilities without comparing myself to others, I feel good about my teaching. I feel competent and comfortable in my element. So, today’s lesson is to stop comparing myself to others and recognize and appreciate where I am now. I will do my best to carry that throughout my journey and make it into a core belief.

More to come.

Peace.

Day 321

Can I really be more than I am right now?

This post is going to be short, as I have a long day tomorrow and it’s after midnight here. I’ll just touch on a fear that has been occupying my thoughts since I made the commitment to start coach training. It is the fear of not being good enough. It’s the fear that I’ve peaked and it’s all down hill from here. I’m just fooling myself that I could ever be more than I am right now. It’s actually a rather new fear; one I haven’t been up against before.

I’ve always gone after my dreams with complete faith in a successful outcome, so to pursue this dream and to be met with self-doubt is quite off putting. I know I have the tools to delve deep and get to the source of this fear. However, I’m afraid to investigate too deeply because I don’t know if I’ll like where the journey takes me. Nevertheless, I am compelled to go forward even though what might be lurking in the shadows could reveal a truth I am not prepared to face. What compels me, you might ask? Well, it’s the promise of progress and moving forward because right now I’m just standing still, and that isn’t where I want to be. And so, although my legs are shaking and my breath is caught in my throat, I take the first step back into the shadows.

More to come.

Peace.

Day 320

Putting Myself Out There

So becoming a coach is like not being able to swim, and standing at the deep end of a pool contemplating diving in–will I sink or swim?

There are so many anxieties around this whole process. I had my first teleclass today and it was pleasant, but I couldn’t help comparing myself to the other trainees. They all seemed to have coaching experience, and the instructor talked as if we were all experienced coaches. It was intimidating at first, but I took a deep breath and said, just listen and learn, which was great because the class was about powerful listening.

After the class, as part of the graduation requirements, I had to post my reflections on the course forum. Not knowing exactly what to do, I just created a new post and wrote about my impressions, sharing the reflections from the class module. Shortly after that, I messaged two potential peer coaches, and introduced myself to my study group. The whole time I felt vulnerable and exposed. I kept thinking, “Am I doing this right?”

With no clear guidelines as to what to do and how to proceed, this process is a bit scary. However, it is good. I am autonomous. There’s nobody saying how I should do this; I know the requirements; I just need to fulfill them in my way. It’s finding my way that is anxiety inducing.

Venturing into new territory sheds light on so many uncomfortable truths. My inner children are screaming for my attention. I hear them, but I am not quite ready to meet their needs. I’m frozen by fear.

I know I have the tools I need to integrate these parts of myself I had abandoned, or that are trapped in the past due to trauma. I know what to do, but I’m rusty. When I started this journey I delved deep into the recesses of my psyche almost every day, but now, I avoid those unexplored parts of myself. It will be like starting for the first time.

Well, the vacation’s over. Time to get back into the swing of things; time to make my needs a priority. Time to get to work.

It’s a labor of love of course. More to come.

Peace.

Day 319

110 days later…

I’m back after a very long impromptu hiatus. To those of you following this blog, I apologize for my absence. Life just got really busy.

Where to begin? Well, my aunt passed away in November. I went to her memorial service, which was beautiful. It was a family reunion of sorts. My three siblings and I spent some time together after what must have been years. My decision to go to the memorial was a last minute one, but after hearing my mother describe her plans for the ceremony, I knew in my heart that I would regret not being there to see it, so two weeks before the service, I did what I could to be there. It was only for a weekend (I left on Friday night and returned on Monday night). I’m glad I gave myself permission to go back. It strengthened my sense of self-love allowing myself to honor my aunt’s memory with my relatives.

On top of my aunt passing away, my daughter started really struggling in school.  She can’t seem to learn the material, and she has trouble paying attention, staying in her seat, and working with her classmates. My husband and I think she has ADHD, and we’ve had her talk to a counselor, who confirms our suspicion; however our counselor is not qualified to diagnose our daughter in Japan because she was licensed in California. Anyway, we’ve been trying to get her evaluated by someone who is qualified, but up until recently, we were under the impression that the process started with her school making a referral.

After several meetings over the course of three months, I have recently found out that we were wrong about that. In fact the school has no authority in the matter. I wish I had known that weeks ago. I was so frustrated and disheartened by the whole thing. But that’s water under the bridge now.

The experience with my daughter’s school and my aunt’s passing has made it clear to me that I have got to stop talking about change and actually do something. So, I recently enrolled in an online program for coach training. In about a year and a half, I am going to be a certified coach. Not sure what that is going to look like, but I feel that it is a step in the right direction.

On the one hand, I’m excited to try something new and learn new skills that won’t just be valuable for a new career, but also for my own personal growth. On the other hand, I’m terrified that I may have chosen a career that may not support my family. Becoming self-employed is a risk, but then again, so is being employed by a company. Nothing is ever really guaranteed.

It’s hard to believe there are more days behind me than in front of me on this journey of self-love. As I look back, I feel that I have learned a lot about myself and what I want in my life. I’ve given myself permission to be flawed, to listen to my inner voice, and to trust my heart, and to walk my path even when it feels unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Looking forward, I can see there is still so much I need to learn, but I am optimistic about my future. There are only 46 more days left on this journey, and even if it is just a few lines, I am going to write something on every one of these remaining days.

I’ve just started my coach training, and I have a couple months before I start teaching again. There’s no telling what could happen between now and day 365, but I have a feeling it’s going to be great!

Day 209

This Too Shall Pass

My aunt is dying. Well, at least that is the report I get from my mom when I talk with her. The other day we had a tearful conversation about my aunt’s condition. It looks pretty bleak, but I believe strongly that there is still hope, but I am still learning how to communicate this to my mother and more importantly to my aunt.

My mother and cousins had a meeting with the team of medical professionals who have been taking care of my aunt. The doctors say there isn’t any more they can do for her. Her internal organs are dying because they are not getting any blood. There is nothing they can do to stop this.

I believe that when you’re fighting for your life and the doctors have done all that they can do, turning to the spiritual world is one avenue to take towards healing. Mediation has proven to be effective for pain management and depression, and I believe that with guidance one can go within to find the answers to problems manifesting themselves physically. However, I am still learning how to gain the confidence necessary to share this with my loved ones.

Part of me feels like these possibilities are known to my mother, my aunt, and my cousins. After all, they live in a place where it is rare to find someone who is not aware of  spirituality, yoga, and alternative medicine. I think that if I say something they might interpret my behavior as being self righteous or presumptuous. Moreover, I feel that it is not my place to offer feedback or help where it hasn’t been requested.

Years ago I made a promise to myself that I would not help others unless they asked me, that I would only say, “if you need anything please ask me,” and leave it at that when I see someone struggling or suffering. I made this promise because I believe we all have it within ourselves to solve our own problems, and that is my way of standing by what I believe.

Well, my aunt is dying, and they are thinking about transitioning to hospice care. So it is difficult for me to hold my tongue. I want to say there is still a way to turn this around. Embrace the pain, the disease, and learn from it, but again, it is not my place; it is not my choice. Instead, I choose to offer emotional support, and make my presence known. That is all I will do, and that is enough.

As is my habit when faced with difficult decisions and tasks, I ask the question, “What would someone who loved themselves do?” The answer is, “Be there. Be available. Have faith that whatever is happening or is going to happen is part of my aunt’s path. Accept it. Learn what I can from it, and allow myself to feel, to grieve, and to hope. And remember, this too shall pass.”

To those of you who read this, if you are facing a similar situation, I wish you peace and the strength to find acceptance.

Day 199

An Uncomfortable Truth

Last Friday, I met with my daughter’s teacher along with the Vice Principal and the teacher’s aide that helps my daughter stay focused in class twice a week. I don’t think any parent wants to hear that their child isn’t adjusting well to school life. I certainly didn’t want to be sitting opposite stone faced administrators reporting to me their concerns with my daughter’s behavior and the fact that she was way behind her peers in reading and writing as well as math. I really just wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else than in that room.

However, it happened, my daughter is behind, and worse, she doesn’t seem to be happy at school at all. At home she seems happy, but at school from the description they gave me, she’s restless and has a hard time focusing or following directions. I won’t go into too much detail, but basically, the school told me that they wanted to know how best to help Naomi. I didn’t have an answer. Neither did they.

I left that meeting feeling frustrated, angry, sorrowful and guilty. I was frustrated and angry because my daughter’s educators didn’t seem very helpful at all. They seemed to be looking for the answers from me. I was also angry with myself for not preparing my daughter for first grade. All the other mothers had taught their children two of the three Japanese writing systems from the time they turned three, so Naomi’s peers were already reading and writing when they started school. Naomi started at square one. I was angry at myself for not getting her started sooner, and I felt sad because her struggles could have been prevented. I felt like an utter failure as a mother.

I spent most of Friday night feeling sorry for myself and beating myself up. I hardly slept, but I forced myself to be productive the next day. I reminded myself that it was a new day and the past was in the past, and that the present was all that mattered. I wrote down all of my emotions, the anger, the frustrations, the fear, the regret, the guilt, the forgiveness, the love, and finally the hope. I came out of the darkness into the light facing an uncomfortable truth along the way. It was the answer to why things had come to this, and the answer, though painful and hard to accept was simply that I had neglected my daughter.

As a parent, I do my best, but I feel like I spend most of my time trying to keep my head above water, and I usually succeed a fraction of the time. The rest of the time, I’m focusing on the immediate needs–providing sustenance, shelter and clothing for my family, and getting my daughter to her various appointments making sure she gets her homework done, and attending to my infant son. In my struggle to survive, I’ve missed out on spending quality time with my growing daughter. She’s maturing and growing and experiencing life but I haven’t been present for most of it.  Sure, I’ve been there, but my mind has been else where obsessing over things that didn’t get done or still needed to get done, but rarely on what was happening in the moment.

Being mindful and being present seems to be the lesson I am meant to learn these days. Almost every struggle I encounter is a direct result of not being present. I read in “Living Enlightenment” that the past is dead and we should let go of the past to be free of suffering. I have decided to take this to heart, so I have forgiven myself for not being present in my children’s lives thus far. I have let go of the sorrow and regret that goes with that, and now I am stepping into the present with my eyes wide open and my mind focused on the here and now.

It won’t be easy and I am sure to slip up, but the uncomfortable truth of my neglecting my daughter taught me the importance of being present. It is the knock on the head I needed to get motivated to commit to being present. Tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning, and the unveiling of a new truth–I only have the present moment, and I am going to claim it with all my heart.