Unsync of Brain and Heart

follow your heart“Follow your heart,” most people would say when I share my dreams and frustrations. The human heart is such a delicate and vital organ that we cannot live without. And it governs our lives from the moment it composes its first beat. Unlike the mainstream culture, especially in the Asian culture, I do tend to follow my heart most of the time and choose the roads less traveled. Lately, I kept hearing myself share a part of my past when a simple material comfort was a luxury. It was a time of homelessness, in between jobs and being frugal at every meal. Yet, looking back, that was the most motivating and fulfilling part of my life. It struck me that I’ve been longing for that passion towards life where I lived every day to the fullest and looked forward to what tomorrow will bring. It was a time full of hopes and missions. A time when I followed my heart but somehow left it behind on my way to the conventional success.

Maybe it’s just me. But it seems the more I have, the less content I am and vice versa. This is probably due to that thing we call “greed.” It’s been several years since I had to worry about my next meal. And it has been similar number of years that I feel passionless. There are still many things I’d like to do and places I’d like to explore, though. But as I get older, my brain seems to take over the operation while the heart gets demoted to an assistant position.  Maybe this is my heart’s protest; its asking for attention. There’s an urge I cannot explain. An unstoppable urge to change how I live my current life. But what do I change it into? The brain decides to go on a strike when I pay more attention to the heart. Would they ever sync and work together again like the good old days? Which do I listen to when they don’t agree with each other?

bring your brain

Fear or Pessimism

dandelions

Lately, I’m been haunted by a new business idea a potential business partner proposed. We’ve been talking about working together for many years, and have tried out some projects. I must admit that I haven’t been the most consistent partner and constantly got distracted because I was afraid. As expected, almost all my friends suggested me against this new business proposal which cost more and is riskier on my part, based on my current conditions. Yet, like many other new ideas, I can’t help but think about the possibilities and opportunities behind the realistic stress and uncertainty.

Some say I’m pessimistic as I tend to see the worst outcome first. However, I do not deny possibilities and would usually take actions to test my theories if I can’t seem to turn my brain off the matter. Perhaps it’s my lack of persistence, poor skills or bad calculation. Looking back, it seems as if I tend to act out of impulse than reason most of the time. For a society that makes judgement based on outcomes, I do seem like a fool if I were to go into a business.

For the longest time, I try to make sense of the kind of life I want. The image is clearer and clearer each day. I can now list my strengths and weaknesses without having to think long. And I can now better describe the kind of lifestyle I long for, compared to just one year ago. This new business proposal haunts me because it somehow matches my dream to host travelers. The fear of failure and challenges it will follow; however, keeps my from moving forward.

Yes, I know it takes a lot of efforts and perseverance to start and run a business. And that wouldn’t be a problem if I’m doing something I love.

No, I don’t want to make a decision out of impulse or a mere desire to escape where I don’t want to be. Neither do I want to trap myself in debts before figuring out a way to generate reoccurring income.

Yes, this idea might get me where I want to be and even fulfill my dream.

No, I don’t want to run away from it simply because I’m afraid of failing and pressure.

Yes, I agree it is wise to take calculated risk and not make an impulsive move that might result in a lifelong consequence.

No, I don’t want to give in to physical comfort I have now and continue a life without passion.

Conclusion? Don’t have one at this point. But I decided to keep myself away from conventional expectations, desire to control everything and sheepish thinking. In fact, I’ve been on this experiment for a while and am quite surprised that I’m capable of staying calm when I have no clue what to expect from something or someone. Uncertainty used to drive me crazy. This is why I search for answers to my curiosity about God, something or someone that cannot be understood by my narrow human brain, yet constantly brings warmth to my heart.

As I always believe, what will be will be. If this is what I’m meant to do, I’ll eventually find ways to make it happen. Fear will not govern my life, and being pessimistic is not the solution. NO!

pessimistic

In Love With the Idea?

I love trees! Hence, I enjoy being in the woods, nature and most outdoors activities. However, there were times when I could not wait to get back to the hustle and bustle in the city. A friend once jokingly suggested that I’m more in love with the idea of living in the country than the actual lifestyle. Maybe…

Yes, many projects of mine were left unfinished because I either got bored or lost interest. Before announcing my most recent goal to manage a country B&B some day, I went through my head over and over again what it would actually be like living the country. The housekeeping part of it does not appeal to me very much. However, I do take good care of my living environment and start to enjoy being home-bound more often as I get older. Then I envisioned myself driving on the country roads, and through the woods. What can I say? I was immediately sold to that image with my hands in the air. Yet I must say my friend’s suggestion provoked a lot of thoughts in my head. It seems harder for me to let go because I tend to hold on to the idea of situations. The idea of fear and failure, the idea of being alone, the idea of not having enough money to get by, the idea of…

How silly am I to feel blue for these ideas when they may not be reality? And most of the time, I find myself handling the reality of a presumed scenario better than expected. Then why all the doubts?

To be honest, it has been more challenging than I thought to organize a tour package for a business purpose.  And I have slacked and wondered whether this is going to work. Am I only in love with the idea, like many of my previous “flings”? The truth is, this idea is still more appealing than doing what I do now for the rest of my life. So what if I’m more in love with the idea than the reality of adventures? As far as I know, I’ve taken actions to try out most expeditions that came across my mind when I can. How can one achieve great things if he/she is not in love with his/her own ideas?

adventures

Appreciate

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself. And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

~Marilyn Monroe

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The past couple of years have been an important lesson for me to reexamine my attitude towards life and everything I do. I remember having this enormous will to land myself a job back in the states when I graduated from grad school. There were many bumps and I went through a lot of emotional struggles, but it still happened at the end. I will never forget the thrill and fulfillment that came over me when I held the offer letter in my hands. I did it! For the first few years in my new employment, I busted my ass. I was so grateful for the opportunity that I cherished every moment and always performed above and beyond. It was a great achievement for me at that point of my life. And I was living my dream of living and working overseas at an international corporation.

Little by little, can’t remember when, my attitude towards the job and the company started to change. After all, it’s not easy to stay positive when everyone else around me had negative opinions about the company. So, I started to blame the firm, like everyone else, for not being accepted for other positions I applied for. It’s all other people’s fault. At the final year of my work visa, I had to make a decision on whether to stay or leave. Being so full of hate and complaints, I decided to go backpacking in Australia. After all, it was once in a lifetime opportunity for me back then, as I was turning 30 and approaching the age limit for a Working Holiday Visa. I thought, if the US doesn’t want me, maybe Australia has something better to offer.

Initially, I planning to stay in Australia for at least 2 years by undertaking the kind of employment to make myself eligible for a second visa. I thought if I had more time, there may be a greater possibility for me to find something permanent. Well, my trip ended in less a year. And I have no one else to blame but my own attitude of thinking I’m better than other fellow backpackers because of my background in the states.

Another country did not excite me very much at the time because I’ve lived and worked outside of my home country for many years at that point. Therefore, I did not relate to other young backpackers who were intrigued by every little thing happening around us just because it happened in a different country. Employment wise, I focused on applying for full-time jobs in the hope of elevating my immigration status. After all, I’ve done that before so why can’t I now, right? Well, an important thing I forgot is that I was not in the same country I had been. Therefore, trying to apply the same strategies in a different environment simply did not work, no matter how similar the situation may be. Then, I failed to keep myself on a farm job, which was the requirement for the second visa I wanted. Working on the farm was not at all something I wanted to do, but something I “had to” if I want to move to the next level. Now that I look back, I guess I just didn’t want to stay in Australia that bad. Plus, I spent most the time comparing it to the states and complaining about everything I didn’t get. Was there anything my heart desires? After a traveling spree around the country and another part-time job that I wasn’t really into, I packed up and left for home. 

First year at home, I kept the same arrogance thinking I deserved better, jumping from one job to another. A year later, after many other life events, I finally have the revelation that I need to stop repeating a mentality that clearly doesn’t work. Just over the weekend, I was offered a part-time job opportunity that I would usually consider beneath me. After weighing between where I want to go next and what I need to do now to get there, I decided to accept the offer with appreciation.

Many of my good friends told me that I am terrible at hiding my emotions, as they clearly show on my face. Hence, when I don’t enjoy what I do, it’s not surprising that I fail to do a good job. Having been through these life experiences and ended up where I still don’t want to be, I forced myself to take a closer look at myself. What do I really want? Where do I really want to go? Turns out my heart has always known the answer to these questions but my brain simply wants to argue for argument’s sake.

Having a goal is a powerful thing. It helps develop determination and motivation. Maybe that’s why traveling has always been therapeutic to me. Despite any physical discomfort during the journey, I can always find ways to indulge my mind and soul. And when I know where I’m heading, I learn to appreciate whatever comes in between. Trying to find that goal has made me feel lost and helpless. But I believe everyone has something deep inside that burns. However mild the spark may be, don’t let it die. One breath at a time, and you can bring it back to life. Make sure to appreciate everyone and everything that gives you a leaf, a stick or a branch to grow that fire.

There Shall be a Way, If There is a Will.

This is so far the real-life cottage most similar to the cottage of my dream. Browsing photos of country scenes and cottages never fails to calm me down. As I proceed with the development of country tour packages, many regulatory concerns are brought up. And the practical sides of business have been the excuses I backed down from many other opportunities before.  It just seems to me that building a small business should not be that difficult. After all, isn’t that how blogging started? j/k

Through chatting with friends, I discovered an unpleasant revelation. My passion towards life was somehow lost during my “soul searching” journeys. Nothing could excite me or interest me anymore. Traveling became part of the routine, too. I picked up some ideas here and there, and taught myself some technical skills like creating a simple logo and building a website on CMS. The learning process was fun and frustrating at the same time. Hence, I have not been able to carry out anything I started before. And that’s all because I wasn’t that into those ideas. 

With the shocking realization that I might be stuck where I am for the rest of my life, I started  browsing photos of the beautiful nature to generate some peace of mind. And that was when the longings for a country lifestyle in a cottage started to become clear. With a sense of self discipline to not quit half way this time, I examine my heart’s desire every day with the reminder in the title.

Everything we see now used to just be a thought. There shall be a way, if there’s a will.

Fairy Tale v.s. Reality

 

Many people tell me to “get real” or “dreams cannot be reality” when I share my future vision with them. Some are able to provide constructive argument to support their opinions, while others make denials based on their own life experiences.  Perhaps this is only a photo of a fairy tale cottage from the movies to some. However, the cottage is as real as the computer and the keyboard I’m typing on right now. How else can it be taken photo of? It is my believe that when there is a vision, it can be made into reality. With the company of a strong faith, one will find ways to turn that dream into reality.

THE Cottage

How dreamy is this? Call me unrealistic. Tell me to put my feet on the ground. This is THE cottage of my dream. I could never resist a stone walled country home. So lively and mystical at the same time. Game on, it’s a quest to find that cottage of my dream. No matter where, no matter how far!