In Your Language

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's a woman thing...

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The father wound sets us up for relational handicaps, but the "mother wound" cripples our sense of self and well-being. I read the article I linked in the opening sentence "Why it’s Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound" by Bethany Webster. This sort of article is so very shaking and upsetting to me because I have not one but TWO mothers: one who lives a parallel life in Korea and an adoptive mother who has been estranged from me for many years. Add on to that significance of the fact that I am a mother to a daughter.

It's true. I find myself feeling a sense of shame every time I admit to my daughter with emotion in my voice that I will never be perfect... that I have feelings too. I feel the weight of every word I say and don't say. I know how much potential I have to emotionally handicap my daughter. There's never a moment that I feel the quality of the influence I have on her. 

The truth for me is that I cannot heal my mother wound, at least not without some dialogue. Spiritually, I do my best to forgive and to bless what I cannot resolve with my mothers. I have two obligations and measures worth of baggage, loyalty and respect. But I've stopped handing them the power over my feeling of well-being. They do not determine how I feel about myself. I don't make excuses for them. I name the way they damaged me. I didn't make a silent vow that I couldn't be okay until everything was copacetic with my mothers. I knew better than to put such an impossible stipulation on my health.

When I see anything weak or unsightly in my daughter, I immediately take stock through my mental file cabinet of my mistakes with her and try to assign my mistakes to her faults. By God's grace, not all of her imperfects fall on my shoulders- but most do. It's just the reality of the situation. We are just too close to each other for her not to absorb some of me that I wish could just keep to my self. 

I guess my situation is a hybrid to the blended family situations of today. Fifty percent of families in America today are blended families. That means, excluding deceased parents, each child potentially has two mothers. I do my best to train my daughter to respect her stepmother and to give her grace. I do my best to help her give her stepmother the benefit of the doubt. I try to impart on her that it is ok to see us make mistakes and that they are ours to shoulder- not hers. 

But that's assuming that an eight year old understands what I speak of and how she might go about making herself impervious the free radicals I've shared with her. The one thing I really really truly didn't want to pass on. I know I'm not perfect. I remember that one time I sat in the hallway pregnant and crying to my black cat "How can I be a mother to a girl?" It was as if I knew she was going to be damaged by me even before she was part of this world. 

It's no mistake that my disastrous relationships with my mothers have set the stage for me to shy away from making female friends. But according to the article, Bethany suggests that friendships where women can support each other and let each other vent and mourn our wounds are the best safeguards against passing on the mothering uglies to our daughters. What is a Meredith to do?

For now, I cry out to God. He aches to fill in the void... as many as I have. But he will only step in if I invite him and invoke his relationship with me. He can cover the sins of my mothers and of my own. He can be that protection, the anti-oxidant that protects my daughter from my free radicals. There is no option to be apart because abandonment is another type of pain. We- are in a conundrum of not wanting to damage and yet not wanting to abandon our children. Lord help us.

So- if you didn't already feel down- I can only imagine you're already there by this sentence. I'm sorry for that. But let me pray over you that God would bless your relationship with your mothers and your daughters. I ask that God supply us with an extra helping of peace, humility, self love and grace so that we may give the surplus to our own children.  God made mothers not out of dust but out of flesh so they could feel genuinely and so we could be set apart from the rest of creation. Let us live up to the expectation that we be the crown of his creation. He wills it so. Passing on God's love to you~ Amen.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Have a Vision for those closest in Your Life

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There is a mysterious phenomena where a person can do something X amount of times and fail whereas out of the blue they end up succeeding. To what do we attribute such a mixed bag out of one person? Aren't people fairly consistent as a whole? Is a cheater really always a cheater because of WHO he or she is, or because of the people who never change their mind about that said offender?
How come one person can get the best version of a wife and the husband can get the worst? How come children get great reports at school and perplex their parents with obstinate behavior at home? Why can't people be the same across the board? Why does it hurt so much to get the short end of the relational stick?

This very conundrum has plague me about myself and others for some time. In fact it touches on changes in self perception and identity. I'll use myself as the example: How can an Asian do very strongly in high school and find college so daunting? Is that really salient enough to warrant changing how I identify myself? Most of my life I identified myself (as well as in the eyes of others) as a nerd with much promise in life. I'm not saying I got voted most likely to succeed, but I did get distinguished opportunities like being a school representative for Massachusetts Girls State. I petitioned to do an AP class as an independent study and was able to do it successfully.
This inconsistency in my academic career was enough to make me shy away from ever doing it again for a good 12 years! I was afraid to prove this worse version of me if I repeated such a performance later in my life. Yet out of school, I continued to read high level literature, found every situation an opportunity to learn, spent time in "independent study" so to speak taking voice lessons, an art lesson or two and a few months taking gymnastics as a late twenty something. I even took a master's level teaching class with the approval of my hiring principal when I hadn't received a bachelor's degree. I was forced to go down new avenues without the luxury of first acclimating with it in the world of academia.
Lucky for me, when my counselor urged me to go back to school- I finally took the plunge. It was scary. I wasn't sure which version of me would come out on top. Not without challenge and timidity, I proved the first version of me to be true. I looked back and saw that that time of inconsistency was a huge time of stress and revelation in my life. I was not prepared to be a student AND take on the new quasi-adult world I was thrown into without the direction of my parents.
As an additional example, I've seen this fear in other people in my life. A fear of failing- AGAIN. A fear of having to judge oneself harshly and possibly change our self concept. That is a painful prospect. But for me, I realized that the safeguard to repeated failure is to first, of course, not do the same thing but also to have a positive vision for yourself. Or, let's say you have a loved one that is afraid to take that leap- I urge you to have a favorable vision for them as well- so much so that it is contagious and future telling.
My marriage is a testament to that principle. I did it for my husband and he's done it for me. We think the other is the most able, valuable and unique. We don't judge each other based on our past. It has been the most redemptive relationship that God has ever provided or will provide for me. It's that future positive mentality, at least for each other, that is a driving force for personal AND relational growth. May today's drudgery increase the glory for your future. I think that the healthiest mindset is to value everything you experience more than the things you have. And when you want something, try to satisfy that with something you already have materially.
As scary as it is to experience these events that challenge our self concept, I hope they give us (you) reassurance of who you are and how you are uniquely brilliant. Give it a try. Failure is permanent if you give up. Otherwise, suspend judgment and do/create. Like Bruce Ballinger, author of "The Curious Writer", suggests: ALTERNATE between judgement and creativity because they counteract each other. Do one at a time. Trust in that idea. Dare to take another stab at it... just not in the same exact way.
So- I challenge you readers to see your loved ones in the best light; even before they give you reason to. That intentional discipline could be the best gift you give to your child, parent, friend or spouse. There is nothing to lose from helping them lock on to a positive life trajectory- you will also benefit from their victory. Nothing is quite valued as much as knowing someone believed in you even when you didn't. Wouldn't you want to influence someone in that magical way as well?

[I pray a humble message over my readers. I pray that they dare to change their minds about that one person in their life that bothers them the most. I'd argue that hope is the most valuable ingredient to future success. It doesn't cost a thing. You could be responsible for someone turning their life around or for the Pygmalion Effect (a psychological concept). As far as I'm concerned, that is what Jesus did for us. He saw value in us, even as sinners. He believed that our best "act" was yet to come. I am so thankful for that...  Amen.]

Updated: 4/3/14

#believethebest #facingfear #selfconcept

When you leave your comment, please link to a post that relates to my post. We all have unique ways of saying the same thing. Thank you for joining the conversation!

Good Luck Adopted Child... a reflection on news about the show "Good Luck Charlie"

The show "Good Luck Charlie" is introducing for the first time a lesbian couple in the context of being parents. Ok, so I'm going to talk about this from the adoptee standpoint of view rather than from my Christian religious beliefs. Because the truth is, we need to get to the root of the problem. The root of the problem is that HETEROSEXUAL people are having BABIES and not taking care of them. The fact that there are unclaimed babies out there to begin with gives same-sex couples the opportunity to adopt these family-needing children. So- shame on us heterosexuals for messing things up!

Also, think about the common phenomena of single mothers (heterosexual) who band to together to raise their kids to any extent (roommates or not). The fact is- it is very common for unmarried women to co-parent (a stretch but the influence is still valid) children together. How about the cliche "It takes a village to raise a child"? That child rearing thing is visceral and a part of us (women) genetically.

I am a fan of a child becoming a part of a family. That should be the end-game. I don't think a child should be family-less just because a homosexual couple unmarried in the sight of the law is pursuing adoption. That is just ludicrous. Two heterosexual people don't need to be married to "make"  and parent a child so why do same-sex couples need to be legally married to adopt? I think if two people want to adopt a child together and share that responsibility for the rest of their lives they should be able to adopt. Parenting is the real deal- there is no breaking of those bonds (unless the parenting was horrendous and the child pursues legal action).

Parenting should be less about body parts and more about the continual sacrifice in the direction of the child and the bond with the other parent. I don't think we need to even consider how parents get intimate. The focus needs to be on honoring the "role" of being a parent. Don't take it for granted. Heterosexual couples- don't parade your kids around the food stamp office while a same-sex couple would die to parent a child and keep them out of government aid. We take parenting for granted- period. It is a privilege whether or not the child is biological.

I think to become a parent (through adoption or otherwise) we should have to furnish a certificate of parent training rather than a legal marriage document. Fertility should be guarded to only the people who will do parenting justice as fallible broken people. Now getting back to the show "Good Luck Charlie," I am a fan of their introducing a same-sex couple FOR THE CHILDREN who have same-sex parents. I'm happy that they can see something in media that mirrors their circumstances. As an internationally adopted child, I yearned to see multi-racial families in real life. I yearned to see Asians in media. That was good for me. I don't care how much you could care less about what I NEEDED to see. I'm glad that I got to see enough of  it to feel good about the things I couldn't choose or change on my own as a minor.

So there you have it, my readers. The above are my reflections on the development in Disney's news-breaking show. Sending my love, blessings and good karma to all parents out there who are doing their darndest for their sons and daughters!

#Adoption should be for #parents who want to do #parenting #justice and not just #fitthemold.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Not sure how to take it...

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     Thankfully, to hear about someone like Rob J. Quinn living with Cerebral Palsy isn't so foreign to a person like me. I haven't lived under a rock my previous 33 years of life, though I will be honest to say that most of my exposure to the variety of people co-existing in the world was when I left the coop and went to Cornell. People had different fashion styles, different languages, different accents, some people knew more than two languages (mostly student visa holders). And then as each door of my life closed and new ones opened, I was exposed to different walks of life with or without "disabilities". I'll be upfront and say that my disabilities are: lack of height, can't draw stick figures, devoid of a sense of humor, reading maps, opening doors that say push/pull, going too many rounds in a verbal disagreement...

     Okay, I get what Rob is trying to say- "Don't make my life a cliche when I'm just trying to do the same thing as you." But let's be real: if we didn't feel inspired that would make us pretty oblivious to the purpose people have in our lives. I don't really believe that he doesn't want to inspire us otherwise he would have kept his "story" private and unpublished. He knows that "inspirational" equals "lucrative." His story sells better than a legacy child. People like Rob ARE meant to inspire. They force us to do a perspective check and help us adjust what we consider to be handicaps in our own bodies and minds. I've never known an inspired person who wanted to commit suicide. Least of all, Rob wanted to "inspire" us to fork over money to buy his book. 

   I'm actually a touch jaded in this area of life... I've read about Joni Eareckson Tada and Nick Vuijicic. I watched the TED Talk of Sam Berns kicking butt while wasting away from progeria, accelerated aging. How about Gianna Jessen who survived an abortion procedure. My stepson is part of the Special Olympics. I worked in the Special Education department of a public school. I've seen people with cancer get black belts. I've seen people with Multiple Sclerosis teach Martial Arts. My former co-worker's twins were both disabled but beat the odds.

     I'd feel like a fool if I weren't touched by a man like Rob, who faces more challenges (socially or otherwise) yet could do X and I haven't even done it yet. If nothing else, I feel convicted of giving my excuses too much power over my life. In a sense, I also have a special story: I stumbled upon a job that connected me with a foundation that sent me to Korea for FREE and was able to reunite with my biological family. Now, going to Korea for free was a huge deal, but still it made no sense that I could beat the 97% odds saying I'd never reunite with my family. THAT HAS TO MEAN.... SOMETHING, right?

     This is a day in age that people are either so absorbed with themselves (loving or loathing) or so sucked into internet role playing/multi-player platform games that there is virtually nothing that can PULL them away from their obsession- EXCEPT FOR people like Rob... and maybe even me. Like I said in a previous post: the magic is witnessed when people go against their appetites (to give up, for the excess, for the easier road). I'd go as far as to say that Rob had a RESPONSIBILITY to share his story- that his PURPOSE is to inspire.

     So- Rob, thanks for the contradicting message of your article. I really hope you start embracing the idea that you were fearfully and wonderful made... to INSPIRE!  I think that is the whole purpose of life is to inspire and to be inspired. The day I stop feeling inspired is when I hope to EX-pire.  But I'm just one girl with a belly button that is off center... not really "disabled" in the inspirational sense.  I hope to be inspired by you one day~ Blessings.

#RobJQuinn #inspired me to write about the #magic of #disabilities.

[EDITED: 4/5/14 ]

Friday, January 24, 2014

I think we need Bill Cosby again...

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     This post is a bit sentimental for me. "The Cosby Show" started the year I came to the United States as a Korean adoptee. If I believed that American family life was exactly like it was for the Huxtables, I would have had no fears for my future. I was born outside of the USA and I never learned to stereotype until I became a naturalized citizen of this great country. Perhaps that is more for the fact that I went from a collectivist country of origin to this individualist country. I figured, if all black people were like Bill Cosby, I had nothing to worry about. I wish that were the case, but that is the lie of stereotyping. I remember an acquaintance saying to me "I hate everyone equally." Well, I guess that is better than singling out certain subsets of humanity.

     I should start by saying I'm not attempting to idolize Bill Cosby. He is a fallen person like everyone else. He's made his share of mistakes. But who is to argue the impact he's made on different levels? According to Wikipedia, he had the first sitcom with a full black cast. He's made comedy his way of paving peaceable race relations. He's been married to one woman AND been a successful celebrity. He has cultivated himself artistically, academically and relationally more than most of us can boast- speaking for myself especially.

     He's shrewd enough to keep his religious beliefs fairly hush hush in favor of not alienating a plethora of his fans. Religion is the new taboo taking the stage of de-segregation. We all need some sort of outlet for our societal rage; so we turn it toward institutions rather than on ourselves. In reality, we humans have done the damage over the ages, not these theoretical models. If we should demonize anything it should be on ourselves... that is the spiritual battle.

     I am a fan of his new sitcom coming out on NBC. Bill Cosby has mastered the art of weighing his words, perhaps as a byproduct of him honing his craft of comedy.  For a time when families are crumbling, we need to see a family that will imperfectly go through the comedic ups and downs of life- together. It would be an more wholesome excuse for my family to be in the same room together. I want "wholesome" to be back on the media market as profitable.

     Like I said in my previous post on the Gosselin's "reality show", I felt disappointed that what they originally represented to me and their other viewers virtually fell apart. We decided that what we saw and perhaps wanted to emulate would not work for our lives at all. Please, Bill Cosby, can you deliver the model for living out life together in the excruciating dynamics of our 21st century life? Can you show us that vows don't need pixi dust to come to fruition; that it boils down to "just do it" like Nike says... whether or not it's glorious or glamorous in the moment... whether or not we WANT to do it or FEEL like it.

    I don't know why people don't acknowledge the fact that most of the magic in our world today is when people overcome their appetites more than anything else! We think candy, food, shopping, money, sex is irresistible- but really- "we" are irresistible to ourselves. I hope that Bill Cosby makes overcoming irresistible to American families this year... with an extra helping of humor.

#billcosby #revival #strengthinfamily #comedyaspartoffamily

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reflection on Korea's "Baby Box"

There are so many points in which this topic relates to my life, past and present. I was adopted from Korea. My birth mother adopted a child. I have two unofficially adopted sons through marriage. This is BIG in my life.

To be clear, I am not for or against adoption. Adoption in of itself is fairly neutral; it has potential for good and for bad. For me, adoption has brought me many blessings, of course not without the curses- but who has the perfect life anyways? I am FOR relationships, biological and otherwise. I'm for blurring the lines between who SHOULD love whom.

There's an argument that only the birth parent can love a child the most in the arena of blended families. But let's pull that idea apart. So- in essence we're saying, we want to exclude the stepparent from being able to love the child JUST AS MUCH as the biological parent. Now let's also factor in the aspect of shared parenting and parenting time. Do we really want to limit the high quality of love available to our child just over a feeling of ownership? As a biological parent of a divorce, I hope to GOD that the stepmother loves my daughter as much as me, or at least strives to do so.

In the construct of the Korean society, single parenthood for the most part has been shunned for all of its history. Within that construct, even if a parent WANTED to keep the child, their world would make it nearly impossible to do so. There is a lack of support available to these potential single parents. Then, if a single parent would want to marry (the society is also against raising children that are not their own) that would be highly unlikely. This single parent would be socially ostracized and be left to drown in a sense.

Now let's say we just take away the box, well- that would not solve the problem of abandoned babies. It would not change their society. I think the point of the box is for the Korea to be so disgusted with itself that it would take on the shared responsibility to helping those babies thrive WITHIN said society instead of on the outskirts. My only idea that will make a dent in this horrible penchant for unwed mothers is to give them a free Visa to go to the USA or Scandinavia that has laws to support single parenting.

I would not criticize the pastor who created the "Baby Box" because he was just creating a humane solution to the societal problem of not valuing their babies. I doubt he'd be driven to do such a thing if he were in the United States of America. It was in the construct of their social environment that such a "solution" would be warranted. What most people don't realize is that the USA WANTS to keep adoptions flowing with other countries because it makes for better International Relations. So it's not entirely a "Korean Problem" knowing that there is a "demand" for their children and babies.

Is it that people are indignant that a religious person came up with a solution? Why is it so ingrating that an imperfect and yet selfless person of God provide such a ministry to strangers? I still find it odd that our individualist society is so PRO single parenting when that practically clashes with our self centered mindset entirely. You cannot be a good parent if you are stuck in that self centered mindset. Even when I wasn't a born again Christian, I didn't take "offense" to religious people doing their thing. Do we ever ask ourselves WHY we take offense to things like this? It's not a personal attack, and yet this gesture toward disadvantaged yet valuable babies creates such an uproar.

I don't think it should take a "baby box" for a society to wake up and take responsibility for their own especially when they profit from it. It's one thing to have such a horrible penchant, but then to profit from it just makes it that much more deplorable. In contrast, this pastor was not benefiting at all- yet he is the target for much criticism. But then again, God never said we would be immune to persecution.

I want to send warm wishes and hugs to all of you out there who read my blog or even the ones who don't know about me that are loving on people regardless of their DNA or legal relationship. This is a spiritual matter and a concern that invokes the question of our level of humanity. We need to see ourselves as a global family to some extent for advancement of world peace. Sending God's love to you and my own. Blessings~

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sofa Talk, Virtual Peptalk: Jon and Kate Gosselin

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     I have to be honest and say that I've been watching "Jon and Kate Plus 8" with my daughter as an opportunity to discuss relationships. I am first to say that I am not a perfect spouse or person. I've been divorced twice. But I can also say that due to my "failures", I have an insight into what went wrong in their marriage. It was a train-wreck, marriage style, waiting to happen. Also, I find it easier to talk to my daughter about how to approach relationships/friendships but from a more distant example rather than her own parent's failed marriage.

     First off, you might ask- why are YOU interested in this family and marriage for that matter. Why are you watching it with your daughter? My response is that I was interested in it because it was a reality show that was rated G rather than my first exposure to "reality tv" with "The Real World." I would not be able to watch "The Real World" with my 7 year old daughter, nor do I really desire to watch raunchy stuff that makes me cringe. I do believe in "too much information" being released to the public that will never personally know the "cast." Also, I was interested in the show and family because Jon is half Korean and I am also Korean. I wanted to watch a show with my half Korean daughter that had other kids similar to her. And thus, "Jon and Kate Plus 8" was the best candidate for our viewing.

     We have watched all the episodes up until Jon and Kate revealed that they are officially separating (back in 2007). To be honest, in reality tv style, my personal reaction was of betrayal. I thought they "sold" us their product of a 10 person family for life. It even entered my mind that their marriage and children were a publicity stunt for Kate. How could that make this horrible decision to destroy such a fragile (by numbers) family?! I felt disappointed and let down. I guess in a way I put them on a pedestal and expected them to show me (who failed 2 marriages) how to do family right.

     I offer my lay counseling (hypothetically) based on my marriage experiences, family and individual counseling, parenting seminars, family seminars, communication seminars and my 1 credit away from an Associates Degree in psychology. My career goal is to be a family counselor and so, I want to exercise my counseling muscle in a virtual exercise of sorts. I've also done "My Virtual Child" and "My Virtual Life" exercises hosted by Pearson (Educational Products and Publisher). 

      So the thing that stands out the most to me is that the Gosselin family was centered on a Christian ideology, at least in theory. According to the Bible, the marriage represents three strands of a cord of relationship with God; one strand is the wife, another is the husband, and the third is God. If a marriage is based and centered on God, technically it should not fail. In that revealing episode, they both proudly proclaimed that they'd do anything for their kids and their kids are their priority. So in my humble opinion, that was the greatest strike against their marriage; they should have made their marriage first and not surprisingly the relationship withered. 

     To expand on the idea of a marriage should not be centered on children, in their case, eight: children are generally made into gods and making 8 gods happy is an impossible task. It is logically more sound to seek to make the one God proud and teach the children how to do the same. Children also make their parents gods (one too many IMHO!) and then demonize them for not succumbing to their every will and manipulation. Children are not consistent enough to balance any such relationship.

     I think that the communication was a huge downfall in their marriage as well. Kate was dominant and Jon was the passive aggressive stone-waller. Even Jon admitted in that episode that he should have "stood up" sooner. Pastor Jimmy Evans preaches that same idea in his Ministry "Marriage Today." He says that the dominated have a duty to stand up firmly and in love. Don't enable the other person to be dominant. I used to be the same way as Kate in the eyes of my husband. It was a harsh thing to swallow knowing in my mind I was not trying to discourage him from adding to the conversations. I wouldn't have cared if he screamed at me, I just wanted to hear from him. From his stand point, he was putting a silent ultimatum on me: either you talk to me perfectly or I'm not talking. Well, demanding someone be perfect is just preposterous as much as many of us would love to strive for it. And so goes the cycle of demonizing goes on and on and on.... Both sides were in a horrible pattern of willing each other to do things the other was un-willing or very possibly unable or not taught to do.

     I admit that I used to think very harshly about Kate. I'd think "Does she even HEAR herself?" My old Kate-like self has been cage by a tamer version of myself (even with my husband's nod of agreement). I find that she has put herself in a position of being a "god" thinking that "I have to get this done or it will never be done or taken on by someone else." But come on- let's just admit that it's a "mom thing" to do and not just a "Kate thing." And multiply that by 8 kids, or 9 if you include the husband.  That's a whole lot to try to be god over, right?!

     I finally came to the conclusion that what we saw was not intrinsic to Kate Gosselin but more to the situation in general. I don't think that any average American could do it much different from her. Either you could be so laid back and your family life be a disaster, OR you could be like Kate and have structure under a drill sergeant. I wish they (Jon and Kate) could have made the right attribution of their troubles to the situation and not to each other.

    In this instance, the Enemy won. He put the wool over their eyes, and ours if we're honest, and allowed us to demonize people who are just fallen and broken like any other person. They were attempting to do family on the scale of 10 right. Let's keep it real, the only "demon" is the DEVIL himself. Let's call him out when he steps into our "meat suits" like Dean say in "Supernatural."  The Devil WANTS our marriages to break up and our families to be destroyed. Let's be clear: this is ONLY a case of spiritual battles. Let's learn to step back and see when our troubles are attributed more to our situations rather than intrinsic to people we love.

     To Jon and Kate Gosselin: I am so sorry for your heartbreak. I was rooting for you. I thought you had an incredible family. If I were a licensed counselor, I would offer it for free to keep you ten together. It's not just for the fact that you were in the spotlight, but because you would be a testament for God's vision for family. I pray that you find a way to forge a new balanced relationship toward each other and perhaps one day you can get re-married. Redemption and grace are so powerful. If my husband could offer that to me, an awful sinner, I'm sure you could have as much of it yourselves.

     I wish blessing over all of our marriages and families. I pray that God magnifies the good (even if it's just a grain of sand) and diminishes the blemishes. We are worth it. Shut out the work of Satan. Live in love of the Eternal kind. I pray this in His Marriage Saving Name, Amen.

P.S. Any other suggestions for "Sofa Talk, Virtual Peptalk" with celebrity or historical couples? Please enter them in the comments box below. Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Go on... promote yourself... everyone's doing it

You have your own personal brand, style, image. Some of it is only perceptible to the eye, the ears, nose; whereas other parts of your essence is combined in the brain and in our emotional centers. We communicate things without a word by our posture, dress, facial expression, and vibrational energy (ever feel like someone drained you of your energy or gave you their overflow?).

I had a weird experience noticing how different I feel with just different kinds of shoes. Slippers make me feel calm and comfy. Sneakers make me feel casual and ready for action. Boots make me feel like I'm a force to be reckoned with. High heels make me feel taller, formal and professional. Yesterday was the first time in a while that I wore pretty heeled shoes and boy did I feel the difference. It made me more apt to do a different array of things~ experience the world in a different way.

I'm not suggesting that we get bogged down with every single detail of the way we look and what we say. It is the composite of all of these things that matters most. There's no sense dressing to the nines and speaking like a pauper, for instance. People will notice what is consistent about you despite your wardrobe changes. In the end, people will be be either drawn to you or repelled by you.

If it matters to you: notice what feedback you are getting. If you are intentionally going for being seen as a friendly and intelligent person, does that match the feedback you are getting? Do you ever ask for feedback? Do you have a mirror (tongue in cheek)? Do you get the feeling that who you are looking at isn't the you you conceptualized in your brain and heart? Does that motivate you to make small changes?

Interact with your world. Do things that will make your vision and goals a reality. Shift your expectations on your day to day experiences and life based on YOUR skills and talents. Be as much what makes you uniquely you as you can because you are the only one who can do it the best. Be the real deal and strive to be exactly what makes you special. If you have a gift of words, run with it. If you can't do anything better than how you make paper planes, build on that. You are a brand that cannot be franchised. Experience life to the fullest, take your ideas to fruition, create in the areas of your life that you enjoy the most. But most of all- don't be afraid to try new things. =)

Thank you for reading. One day I hope to have many "followers", many comments and reposts. Until then, I'll just do what I enjoy the most- writing. Blessings~

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Language is invaluable

My response to watching:

      I have yet to hear two people communicate in silence. Silence is a response but gets lost in translation if used bidirectionally. Not to say that "holding our tongues" doesn't have it's appropriate practice. We don't respect our language. It's grossly taken for granted.

     My new perspective on language and its development is that it closely matches our own development to maturity. People who talk like babies or little at all (other than just "quiet spoken" people) are likely to be in that stage of development. People who speak like professional adults tend to be employed and mature people, even if they are mature beyond their years. I watched a documentary on a 19 year old entrepreneur who speaks beyond his chronological years. At 15 years old he was a college freshman.

     When you have a high level of vocabulary, you are more likely to have more complex, abstract (related to adult stage of development) and creative thoughts. This level of thought, creativity and logic are unique to the individual but many times has a group influence. I think the best way to fuel language development is through conversation, writing (even with bad spelling) and reading. Any lacking in those activities will stifle a young person from (dare I say) maturing and becoming the person they were designed to become genetically.

     I knew a child who did not talk a few years ago. I gave my talk/write/read theory for language (and even relationship) development a test drive. I talked to him when other people tried to intuit with him. I told him that everything he needed to learn, he's already heard for many years of his life (changing the task from learning to recognition). When I developed a relationship through talking (rapport), I then helped him learn to read. His emerging reading skills then reinforced his speaking vocabulary and his sleeping auditory index was awakened. When he gained confidence in reading, he dared to write. And now- he is writing his own short plays and sharing his subject view of the world.

     Language, relationship, and maturation are all so closely intertwined, that weakness in one of those areas wreaks havoc on the other two. The same way I can assure him that a sentence that has the word "cat" will most likely also have a word like "meow", "fur", "tail", "purr" and "animal." I am now helping him sift through the predictable parts of his life so that he can focus his energy on the ones that are growing (like his academic life, relationships, conversation). I'm trying to get him to trust that an arrow pointing in a direction with the plane sign means that if we go that direction- that will take us to the airport. Or, if it it's the first meal of the day- that means it's breakfast. Or, Christmas is always in December.

    Now that he is learning more about the world around him and the words that correspond with those qualities, I hope he'll start assigning words that describe him and his preferences. When his stock phrase was "I don't know," I'm holding out for the day he will say some adjectives about himself. I'm hoping some of those words will be: funny, smart, handsome, interesting, a builder, brother, son and future father. So- not that we can't intuit each others meanings, now we have the words to describe our thoughts and interactions.

     With language, now he has an identity and a very bright future. I hope I can see one of his plays or screen plays on the big screen some day!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Overestimating the damage of conflicts

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Conflicts CAN have damaging effects on relationships. Their potential for harm does warrant using caution in those situations. But potential does not necessarily predict disaster... our past is a better predictor of disaster than what is inherent in conflict. The lie is that we apply the words "always" and "never" to things that are by all means dynamic and not static whatsoever. Conflicts on inevitable so we need to be prepared for them rather than be ready to run.

When we run away from conflict we are turning away from a relationship, or at the very least, the opportunity to forge a new level of intimacy and relational growth. We cannot know the strength of a sword without testing it out. We cannot claim we have a good relationship if we haven't put it to the test... through conflicts.

Conflicts also have potential for breakthroughs and revelations. They CAN strengthen relationships just as much as they CAN destroy them. Conflicts are bad to the degree we do not turn them into an  open forum... allowing for imperfection... allowing for transparency. We can build trust with each other by knowing that we CAN get through conflicts and not getting obliterated in the process.

Perhaps we need to stage conflicts rather than letting them sneak up on us. We can use them as situations where we can learn about each other and honor each others point of view without demonizing each other. Conflicts can reveal points of vulnerability and pain in our loved ones. Using that knowledge and intimacy can reinforce our relationships while whittle away at our fears.

Conflicts are necessary because we cannot meet all of our needs on our own. They are an inevitable part of being in relationship with another person. We can say yes to part of a request; we can concede to part of someone's subjective experience. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. One thing I learned in my International Relations (IR) class is that IR is most defined by the conflicts and resolutions (assuming there are some) between countries. It's time that we harness our inner power for better PR with our fellow man; or at least to know which ones need improvement.

UPDATED: 4/4/14

Saturday, January 11, 2014

More of the good stuff...please

This year I pledge myself to be a giver, rather than a do-er. I had something happen recently that was so disheartening that the only way I can move beyond it is to think of that event as a catalyst for being more generous. I consider myself a moral, virtuous, kind and responsible person. But I have never been good at giving; I gave just when I felt like it but not as a discipline.  I lost something so special to me that I can only resolve it in my mind that whoever has what I lost needed it and is using it for good.

To take it further... I'm compelled to cut my hair off and give it to Locks of Love. I got the blessing from my husband (ladies, YKWIM) to cut off my hair, not all, for those who have lost theirs in a terrible way. I want to give away our past use baby items. I'm terrible at Craigslisting and might as well bless someone else.

This year I want to live smarter, leaner, with less of the excess. I can honestly say that I have too much, my kids have too much and my husband (shh, don't tell him I said this) has too much. I want to steward my talents, time, resources, money and energy for the best condition of my family and for the glory of God.

I want to live like I'm going to die tomorrow. I want to slow down to enjoy my kids and do other things more efficiently. I don't want to leave anything unsaid. I will do what I can to make the impact that God has measured for me. I invoke his will to bring me more or new opportunities to do his kingdom's work. I will walk more spiritual miles this year to understand what this life is asking of me. I will release spiritual baggage and stop stressing over my physical vessel.

I will continue to ask God to give me the desires and appetites for only the things that are good for my mind, body and spirit. I will surrender my weakness to invoke his strength. I will ask him to speak to me in new areas of my life. I will give up my fears, one hyperventilating breath at a time... as he loosens their grip on my mind and spirit. I have found purpose and peace in things that people cannot see. It is my secret world of affirmation and life-giving energy,

Moving forward, I want nothing to weigh me down and keep me stuck in this swift life. I will release this idea that I need earthly support when I have Heavenly support. When I stand alone it is to be in agreement with my God. So- even being alone is a GOOD thing. I shall not fear being judged, rejected or abandoned by people of this life. This life is nothing compared to what is in store for me in Heaven. Thank God.

I want more of the good stuff... that only He supplies. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When it is not a matter of this life...

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I believe that if people knew for sure they'd be rewarded for all the good they do in life, they'd do more of it. People struggle every single day to see any good fruits in their life for the concerted efforts they pour into valued areas. Depending on what fuels their motivation, many of these people will/do pogi-hae (Give up, in Korean).

If we are driven by our egocentric inner god (notice the small "g") complex, then any frustrations or perceived failures will drive us to give up. If we are driven by the truth of what is good and the value inherent in those deeds and the people receiving them, we will generally and more likely continue such unacknowledged behavior. Dare I say, some of those people who persevere are probably followers of God [insert religious figure] walking a path to Heaven.

Those followers of God know that some things will not and cannot be rewarded/acknowledged on Earth but are deemed to be handled during the rest of Eternity. Eternal reward sounds so much sweeter than momentary and fleeting reward in "this" life. You will also be able to sense the mission (perseverance of loving acts) is for an Eternal reward when the Enemy seeks to destroy your mission. Your mission is most powerful if it is in line with the one God has appointed for you. When you are in line with God, you will have more opposition. But- when you are in line with God, nothing can overcome you. [Remember David fighting Goliath not with his own power but with God's power for God's glory]

When you can align yourself with a cause, mission, goal that is bigger than yourself or this world, know that you should proceed with an "Indomitable Spirit" (borrowed from a Taekwondo Form developed by Grand Master Lee Sang Chul). When you are acting beyond yourself you can increase the impact of your efforts exponentially. When you step in line with God, nothing is impossible. See all the small evidence as a nod from him as a symbol of His approval and support.

I would like to encourage all of you to mobilize yourself for your destined and uniquely crafted purpose/cause/goal/mission. Take inventory of your strengths. Remember the messages you resisted about yourself. For me they were: "You are not a good writer. I can't help you" and "Don't devote your life to Psychology. It is a quackery." Resisting those two messages have propelled me further than agreeing with any other weak messages I've received in my life. I decided to prove those messages wrong and have received more positive feedback in those very areas than any other areas in my life!

I am not an expert. I'm not as accomplished as I plan to be. But I do know for sure that you are meant for eternal reward. You have eternal value. See you on the other side...

{Original Post Date: 1/8/14. Edited 4/8/14}

Monday, January 6, 2014

Which group will you join?

Something that has been on my heart is the strength of our curses and blessings. Although the intention is usually not to compound past hurts or join the cheerleading squad of someone's life- but that is essentially what happens during our interactions with each other.

The moment the "receiver" perceives hurt or wrong, the "sender" joins the throng of bullies or naysayers of that person's past. When you decide to talk with blessing, alternately, you join the often smaller crowd of the cheerleaders and supporters of the "receiver's" life.

This concept increases the impact of our every interaction with each other. The limit of this principle is that sometimes a "receiver" will immune to messages in their negative or worse off in their positive form. This is the biggest challenge with pessimists or severely and repeatedly betrayed individuals.

Our divine smoking ace is our Creator God who purports to always be our biggest cheerleaders. He will even use our worst moments for the glory of his Kingdom. Your pain is his clay that shapes you into a person of virtue and character of his design.

Happy New Year!

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