Peace of Mind

The past week has been an emotional roller coaster for me. For a long time, I refer to myself as more spiritual than religious. Yet, of all religions, I’m most drawn to Christianity, though don’t really have good enough understanding of it or the Bible. Since a young age, I’ve been sent to churches for kids’ programs and Bible studies. There isn’t any Christian history in my family. Moreover, growing up in Taiwan, Christianity has never been the main stream of this society. Yet, I’ve always built great friendships and received heart warming hospitality from Christians wherever I go. Some recent life events have got me into a magnifying examination of my inner self. And out of the blue, I really wanted to read the Bible. So I did.

The Bible was a harsh read for me at a young age. Moreover, I’ve never thought religion is important for me. I’m still not eager to label myself as anything. But there’s an urging curiosity as to why I’ve been deeply attracted to something I don’t wholly understand and could not really be convinced by the words of its people. And that’s why I decided it’s time that I compile research before drawing any conclusion.

Since long ago, if I do pray, all I would pray for is a peace of mind. For me, anything is achievable as long as I’m able to stay emotionally strong and motivated. Self-help and inspirational readings are also the source of my motivation. However, I still haven’t been able to stay consistently active on moving towards my goals and often feel lost still. Lacking  actions and self-directness are known as my weaknesses.  It just seems that I’ve intellectually understand and accept most part of who I am. Yet, I constantly feel there must be a way more suitable for me to stop the cycle of self pitying, falling back to the same darkness and get temporarily intrigued to try something new which may or may not be finished. Something just keeps hanging in mid-air of my heart and I just need to make sense of it. Being an open minded person, I give everything a try.

When it comes to religion, I ask the same questions most agnostics or atheists do. Though I will not put any label on myself until my heart gets the answer it desires, I cannot help but admire how down to earth most of my Christian friends are. They too have many frustrations and doubts. Nevertheless, their strong faith seems to keep them going even in their darkest moments. What is that? Strong will? Individual perseverance? For once, I’d love to “truly” believe that everything will turn out the way it should be.

Since I started reading the Bible and made a mental promise to learn more about this “God,” I started feeling the calm that I’ve been praying for. Moreover, I started taking actions that move me closer towards where I’d like to be in the future. No, there’s no prove one has anything to do with the other. But for the first time in my life, I actually Want To learn more about this religion that I seem to find most of my blessings from throughout my life. Maybe it’s like what my friend said, that I already have all the signs and answers but simply refuse to believe. Or maybe I’ll find out that I was right not be believe this non sense. Whatever it is or will be, it has made my life easier to deal with so far.

There’s still along way to go. And I pray that this peace of mind stays within me and guides me through more dark hours that are yet to come.

Advertisements

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

Where do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

It sounds like a common interview question, which many of us were probably asked or ask ourselves thousands of times. Are you a planner? Or do you go with the flow and see where life leads you? Or have you achieved everything you’ve wanted. When a friend asked me this question yesterday, it took me a while to come up with an answer. And I didn’t sound as certain as I used to 5 years ago.  5 years ago, I would never have believed the kind of life I’ve had and where I end up now. When I think about “the future” now, it is a much humbler vision than what I had 5 years ago. In the past, the future scared and excited me at the same time. It scared me because I worried that things may not go according to my plans. It excited me because anything is possible. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this conflicting emotion.

Yesterday, I went to a waterfall which takes about a thousand steps to and fro for the 3rd time. Although the elevation was still challenging for me on the way back, I noticed that it took me less time to finish the steps each time. Moreover, I needed fewer stops to rest and was able to catch my breath at the end of the climb. This progress reminds me of the importance of consistency and self-discipline. My bike rides and exercises are finally paying off, despite the numerous temptation to watch movies in bed.

As far as the future goes, I expect myself to stick to my passion and learn from my past. There is no longer certainty or a title to describe the future I would like to see myself in. But this does not mean I do not have a goal. As I get older, flexibility and unconventionality become regular guests of my life. I’ve spent too much time whining and wondering why things didn’t go my way. Yet, most of the time, all I have to do is focus on what I love most and keep doing it without being sidetracked by other people’s opinions. Little by little, like the thousand step climb, I should get closer to where I really want to be 5 years from now.

Heart Warmer

We are all familiar with leg warmers. But do you have a “heart warmer?” Found my farewell gift from previous employment and it certainly warmed up my heart 2 years later. Though I hated that job, and so as many of my coworkers, it was still a period of my life where it was full of achievement and fulfillment. I gained my MBA during that time and through the benefit of the company. I was able to end the shared house lifestyle and afford the first ever apartment all for myself. It was an opportunity of my dream for some time…at least before things turned sour. Even now, 2 years after leaving the job for almost 4 years, I can still remember the routines that went on in the office. Despite the dramas to put up with, I miss everyone I worked with. It was hard to appreciate each other’s hard work when a regular day often felt like going through a never-ending tunnel.

When it was my time for farewell, I didn’t want any big announcement. Though I acted as if I was thrilled to end my misery, I was struggling in my heart not to drop a tear and to hold back my worries about my future. It took me one year to make up my mind to leave. And I must admit that it came with 50/50 regret and relief. I’m glad the regretting part of this decision has gradually faded. It has been replaced by a sensation of freedom and confidence that I can now start building my dream upon the skills I’ve learned from that experience. How wasteful of time to miss what’s passed? Yet, what a chapter in my memoir! Well, at least I’ve regained my vision on the direction I should march towards. As my wise coworker wrote, “Face life straight in the eyes and push forward!”

Everyone and every life experience, is here to teach us something. Marching on with lots of smiles~

Encounter of the Heart

Have you ever wanted something to happen but it’s not something you can control? So you either forget about it or just hope that some day, when all the stars are aligned, it’d happen? j/k

I have been feeling extremely exhausted for the past two days that I almost wanted to skip my weekly workout yesterday. Eventually, my vanity took over. So I still dragged myself out, reminding myself of my goal to tighten up my thighs. It was a good crowd this time, and the workout has been effective as usual. I was glad that I decided to come out and sweat. Towards the end of the session, an acquaintance passed by and stopped to join our seemingly spontaneous street exercise.  It took me a few seconds to recognize him. However, it was someone I’ve been hoping to run into again since our first encounter about 1.5 months ago. 

After the workout, we caught up with each other through great conversations. Some call this coincidence, and some praise God. I have never been religious, but I do feel in awe a lot of times when things simply happen when I least expect. Maybe it’s like what they say, when one focuses on doing what he/she loves doing, the rest will follow. I’ve encountered several occasions so far where certain events trigger the meeting of certain people who bring the resources I need at a time most needed.

It is true that life can only be understood backwards. All the coordinate form after we’ve passed those points. And the only thing we can do at the present is to keep heading that big direction of our goals. Along the way, life will gradually start to make sense with every step we take.

Imagination

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.   —  Albert Einstein

Spent my Sunday evening with some friends and watch them played Dungeons and Dragons. This is my first experience with D&D, and it was like watching a live performance. Before the organizer invited me to observe in the game, he has explained the general ideas and rules. We also watched a few videos just so I can get an idea of how this board game works. Shortly after everyone’s character was introduced and a few minutes into the game, funny accents appeared to mimic the personality of the roles. Sound effects and music were perfectly added by our well-prepared organizer. Although it was the first time for some of the people in the room, and much time was spent going through the player manual and Q&A, everyone still had lots of fun and eventually immersed themselves into their characters throughout the end of the session.

Even as an observer, it was a pleasant experience. And I ended up adding sound effects and actions as if I were part of the scenario. This relaxing Sunday activity gave me a lot of thoughts on my upbringing. Growing up in Taiwan, I was raised to be “practical and realistic.” Imagination and dreams are for kids. It is very common to hear people say “dreams cannot be reality.” Since a young age, I’ve always had a natural urge to challenge that statement. Lacking knowledge and life experience, I always failed to draw convincing references to support my argument. It wasn’t until I went abroad for school and work, I gradually learned through life that success is being able to turn dreams into reality.
When was the last time you indulge yourself in an imagination of anything? How did that make you feel? Can you envision the future you desire and feel the reality of it? If you are afraid, what do you think you have to lose? After all, successful businesses and masterpieces would not exist without a little imagination from their creators. So, why not have some fun with what our brains can do?

Being Productive

Been thinking about putting down my schedule on a spreadsheet as I felt like I’ve been running around for very little productivity. With my constant schedule change, it’s difficult to keep up with everything. Sat down this afternoon, jotted down a To-Do list and started checking off the items. It’s a much clearer view of what a week looks like in my life when I put it on paper. Embarrassing thing is, I’ve been teaching goal setting and time management to my students lately and I haven’t been the best example. Have you ever felt that you don’t have enough time, or are not making progress on achieving your goal because you are not there yet? Besides my weekly planner, I also spent some time going over my financial details since my return home the last year. Before I visualized the numbers, I always thought I’m about to go bankrupt because I’m not saving up to my goal due to constant employment changes. Though the numbers are not pleasing yet, it does show a gradual climb. With a new contract in hand, I’m expecting a more steady earning for the next year.

Ever since I made up my mind on heading towards my country dream, many ideas and doubts came up. Patting on my back that I’m still emotionally enthusiastic about my plan and taking small steps every day towards it. My new challenge is to define daily goals to achieve. Throughout my experience, big pictures are easy to form. However, not being able to figure out what to do every day to get there has always been my weakness. Another important activity is to maintain a progress report or a checklist. What I learned today is that progress is hard to notice as small steps are oftentimes neglected during the journey. Don’t forget to take some time to look at what you’ve come to so far in order to appreciate the effort being put in. Think of it as a weight loss report. Set realistic goals and stay nice and steady on taking all the necessary actions every day. Then celebrate the little progress every other month or so.

Like what I told one of my teenage students who’s struggling to save money, “save $20 every day and you’ll reach your target in 4 months!” His face lit up when I broke down the steps to reach his goal. I guess he never thought it could be that easy. But hey, this is how we live life. One day at a time.