Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Taking a Risk – Path to Innovation

Invest in your idea, take a risk, and watch it turn into gold.

Invest in your idea, take a risk, watch it turn into gold.

“Risk is essential. There is not growth of inspiration in staying within what is safe and comfortable.” – Alex Noble

What would happen to a company if it is not innovating?  What would happen to education if there were no expansions of new knowledge?  What would happen to you and me if we had stopped growing?

I had the opportunity to chat with an ex-coworker over lunch today.  He was frustrated how little the company is willing to risk on innovation.  The amount of dollars the Research department can spend is a fraction of what Development receives.  Even the tools used for cutting edge research are too old to be efficient.  Yet the company speaks of innovation as its culture but somehow forgets to invest in innovation.  Without the proper tools and resources, it is nearly impossible to conduct good scientific research.  On top of that, the company shelves years of scientific research because no one seems to be willing to take a risk in development.  As we know, scientific research is often ahead of its time, and market research will not be catching on until years later.  But without the blessings of the Marketing department, too many breakthrough research were shelved away only to collect dust.

I asked my ex-coworker why so many companies are willing to hold on to their huge amounts of cash instead of reinvesting it into innovation.  He answered,  “FEAR.”  Fear often holds us back when making a decision.  A company often feels much more comfortable sitting with its half a billion dollars in a CD.  Wall Street likes liquidity, doesn’t it?  Why spend the money on possible failures when there’s a guaranteed interest from the bank?  Interesting enough, these possible failures might just turn into the next best cure for cancer.  Fear is probably the reason why companies are not moving ahead based on scientific intuition.  Fear is definitely the reason why many companies are willing to be stagnate and safe instead of stretching further for just a bit more possibility.

Thinking back to my days of stagnation…  I too have chosen to stay constant instead of reaching for just a bit more possibility.  I too have hold on too tightly when I needed to expand.  I too have sold out my personal innovation and growth for the safety of security.  During the days of my safety, I have found that I nearly lost my soul because I was no longer living.

Risk is essential to grow and expand.  For the goodness of self and for the goodness of mankind.  There is no growth of inspiration in staying within what is safe and comfortable, the safety of one’s own boundaries will only one day turn into a jail for the self that slowly kills the soul.  Friends, let’s choose to be courageous with me, let us walk forward – be willing to take a risk, be willing to innovate, and be willing to fulfill our ultimate destiny.

July 29, 2009 Posted by | Choices | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Choice

A teacher's comment changed the direction of my passion

A teacher's comment changed the direction of my childhood passion - now it's time to find that passion again...

It was nearly 24 years ago…  Yet it still hurts like a fresh wound from yesterday…

The day was hot and humid, I gazed out the window and hoped for a breeze of cool air.  I fantasized enjoying a good novel in my favorite tree top instead of having to sit through the painfully slow second grade language class.  I never cared for my teacher.  She seemed like a bitter woman who probably has never allowed herself to experience love.  She was old, stiff, and never been married.

I knew she didn’t like me much.  But somehow, on this hot and humid day, her gaze was fixated on me.  I was a bird trapped in her prey.  Finally after a long struggle of discomfort, she called me to stand up.  Suddenly I felt the first silky breeze of cool air that day…  The entire class stared up, did not know what to expect.  The breeze didn’t last…

She picked up my essay from the pile, held it chest high, and read it out loud, laughed after each line.  My classmates looked at one another, puzzled, but soon caught on and laughed with her – not knowing exactly what the humor was.  After what  seemed like a century of hot and humid days, she finally stopped, cutting into me deeply with her intense blazing gaze – crap, I knew I was toast.

“How can an inanimate object such as a washing machine sing, dance, and have feelings?”  She waved my essay over her left shoulder and demanded an answer.

“I don’t know madam.”  I was certain all objects in the world have sensations and feelings but I couldn’t prove it.  My excitement to befriend and personify my new washing machine clearly caused a short circuit in her head.  This short circuit has somehow sparked pain to  both of us.  She picked up her red marker, wrote a large “59/100” on the top of my essay and firmly handed back to me.  I felt the volcano of anger boiling up inside of me as I swallowed my pride and sat down quietly.

“Class, don’t let you imagination run wild.  Stay within your pre-defined assignment to get 90s in your essays.”  She passed out the rest of the essays one by one while lecturing how an honor student like me could instantly turn bad when instructions are not followed.  Mostly everyone in the class got 95s on their assignment while I sat in shame with my 59.

“Don’t grief something you ain’t got.  Know that you will never be successful as a writer.  Come to the math club meeting tomorrow afternoon since that is the only thing you can manage.”  Her words of semi encouragement did not seem sincere.

Today, I’m 31 years old and have walked the life of a scientist and engineer.  I did find safety in math.  Within the numbers, there are no subjective observations or room to make an excitement of a personified mistake.  Pre-defined perimeters will always make scientific choices for me.  And no one questions my judgment as long as the computer says “yes”.

Somehow, my heart has always yearned to sing its own song and my soul cries out to live its own passion…  No matter how risky it all seems.  I now desire for greater risks and even greater rewards!  I wish to step outside of my safety and live for me and no one else.  Isn’t it time a bird learns to sing its own song?

July 23, 2009 Posted by | Choices, Tears | , , , , | 2 Comments

Learning Moments

There are no mistakes - only learning moments

There are no mistakes – only learning moments

“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.” – Richard Bach

I have often asked myself – why is it happening to me?  Sometimes the external circumstances are too frustrating, too strange, and too unpredictable.  I never truly feel in control of my own life and yet I have noticed that there is a certain kind of pattern to my perceived circumstances depending on the quality of my internal states…

Interesting enough, things have not been rosy and happy for me this week.  I’ve had a lot of challenges with my health as well as my emotional state.  I feel like I’m in a constant state of catching up deadlines and meetings, sucking the energy out of my body.  The more I do, the less I feel; the more I plan, the less I accomplish; and the more I think, the less thoughtful I become.  Until I am no longer a human being but a humanoid robot.  “What is going on?!”

The funniest thing happened today.  I walked in to my bank knowing that I can get a refund on the charges appeared in my statements, but somehow I was not able to.  I noticed myself getting annoyed, critical and judgemental of the bank manager who tried so hard to protect a few dollars while selling me something I did not need.  I nearly granted her a frontal verbal assault she unconsciously asked for.  Suddenly, I realized that I did not like the person I became and yet I was unwilling to choose my attitude differently.  What is going on?

The body never lies.  As I watched my body tense up the whole day, my mind was tense and unforgiving as well.  Nothing seemed to work – especially when I’m totally rigid in my body, mind and spirit – not allowing anything outside of my desire to manifest.  Ohhh, ahhh, interesting…  When we are not allowing, we tense up.  Two tense minds can only end up in a deadly ego struggle – like I experienced earlier during the day.  The bank manager is probably so focused on her bottom line that she has lost her heart’s compassionate ability to help me.  I was totally focused on getting a few dollars back that I was not operating from my heart space.  When both of us are operating from such a mind struggle, the result is tension, irritation, and hurt feelings.  So what if one becomes soft and fluid like the willow tree, what if I was more allowing, and what if I was more forgiving?  Would she have responded differently?

Hmmm, what if…  This was another learning moment gifted to me today.  The next time I shall choose differently – from choosing to be more allowing and operating from my heart center while stepping away from my attachment, I can then calibrate the “right” behavoir in any given circumstance.  I don’t have to operate from an eye for an eye prespective.  I can be the bigger person and become more allowing while offering others the space to experience their internal growth process.

Happy learning moments everyone!  May you turn your struggle into your spiritual golden nuggets.

July 17, 2009 Posted by | Inner Growth, Self Realization | Leave a comment

Learning from a Pistachio

Pistachio is also called the joy nut or open heart nut in Chinese

Pistachio is also called the Joy nut or the Open Heart nut in Chinese

I was snacking on some shelled pistachios while writing in my journal the other day.  By the end of the plate, I got to this beautifully smooth pistachio.  It was off white, perfectly shaped, and nearly glowing.  As I held it in my hand, I admired its beauty and wanted to dig into its shell to retrieve the nut…

Quickly I realized that this particular pistachio was hardly open…

I was getting more and more frustrated putting way too much energy into getting it open…  I finally had to give up…

You are probably asking “why would you be frustrated with a pistachio?”  I asked myself the same question.  Why something this small ended draining so much energy from me is a very good question to ask.  The answer is “well, there’s probably a really big lesson in this!”  Hmmm, what lesson can a pistachio bring to me?

Suddenly I realized that in Chinese, we call the pistachio an open heart nut.  It opens gracefully to allow us the access to its core beauty while offering itself in service completely.  A pistachio nut gives itself up fully to become us, without reservation.  A pistachio’s purpose is in its service.  Only when a pistachio is fully open, the nut can then be retrieved, and the purpose of the pistachio is fulfilled.  Only by opening its heart fully, its beauty is revealed and its life is worthwhile.  In this particular case, the very pistachio I was holding only opened its heart “half-heartedly”.  Maybe it didn’t think it was good enough or it was too afraid to open up completely.  Nevertheless, the result of a half opened heart is an unfulfilled purpose and a wasted lifetime.

The fate of this pistachio is a potential fate of mine!  I know that I would like to be of service to mankind and yet I am holding back and only opening my heart “half-heartedly”.  By doing so I am not living up to my highest potential and robbing away my ultimate service to the world.  I asked myself, “isn’t it time to open up my heart fully and completely without reservation?”

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” – Rumi

Interesting fact: Open Heart = JOY (in Chinese).  Hmmm…

First published on March 5th, 2009 on Atomic-Flow

July 8, 2009 Posted by | Self Realization, World Transformation | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

At the Core of Everything…

We fight, we misunderstand each other, but at the end of the day, at the core of everything, there is only love.

We fight, we misunderstand each other, but at the end of the day, at the core of everything, there is only love.

I was in tears.  I couldn’t understand why my simple expression had such an impact.  I’ve never seen him so angry with me.  Why did he react?  Why did he nearly yell at me when minutes ago things were so nice and peaceful?

It all started when I knocked on the door and called out grandma.  But instead of calling grandma, I used the endearing term she and I have always used with one another – “gotata”.  That’s when dad appeared out of nowhere and stared me in the face and told me to NEVER EVER use that word again.  I was taken back, trembling in shock, I did not know what to do.  He was so emotional.  I could tell somehow this word had hit a major nerve.

But why?  What is the lesson in this?  Did I trigger something in his unconscious mind?

At night, I still couldn’t fully forgive him without a better understanding.  Knowing my dad, he rarely talks about anything beyond the boundaries of the intellect, being emotionally intimate with anyone is impossible for his psyche.  Nevertheless, I HAD to know.

During our night walk with mom, I couldn’t help myself and brought up the incident that had happened earlier during the day.  He told me the word “gotata” is not in the dictionary.  “So what?” I replied.  He was getting more heated, “do not use words outside of the dictionary!  I’ve held back for 30 years and every-time I hear that word it feels like a cat scratching my chest open!”  Now we are getting somewhere.  Somehow this word does touch a sore spot in him.  “So what if I use a newly created word that is not in the dictionary?  Shakespeare does it all the time!” I noticed myself getting even more emotional and I might actually explode.  He couldn’t explain.  He just stood there in anger.  I had to push more, maybe the explosion will be more productive than the 4th of July fireworks surrounding us…

It back fired.

I ended up walking alone for miles when mom and dad went their separate ways.  Cried my silent tears, I sat on the curb side wondering what just happened.  I wanted to laugh at how silly this whole thing was.  We were fighting with such intense emotional explosives  over a word.  Not religion or politics, but A WORD!  As I quietly walked home in the dark, I hoped for a revelation.  There has to be a lesson in this vivid experience…

This morning after my meditation, grandma finally told me the true history behind of the word – “gotata”.  When I was an infant, I did not smile much.  Grandma did everything to make me smile.  She would make funny faces, give me toys, even sing and dance.  Finally she noticed that certain sounds made me laugh.  And after experimenting for a while, she found “gotata” contained the perfect magical ingredients that made me laugh in a consistent manner.  This was the birth of our endearing term.  She and I have called each other “gotata” as long as I could remember.  This word contains so much love for my soul that I refuse to ever let it go.  This is the love that grandma and I shared, it is special and eternal…

A few hours later, after an intense internal forgiveness process thanking the potential gift from dad, I went on to see if he was still angry.  As soon as I walked up, he apologized.  I knew he loves me but he did not know what he was apologizing for.  Me neither.  Somehow I had a sense that being the ivory tower intellect that he is, he wanted his daughter to look, act, and speak the part as well.  I asked him if he would feel small if we spoke in native tongue, he said yes.  “I love you too dad,” I told him tenderly as I gave him a hug.  “I want you to have more vision and communicate at a higher level.”  He gazed into my eyes with such sweetness.  Dad had to fight the Chinese government and corrupt officials to even get a fair chance to begin his ivory tower education.  And the intellect means the world to him.  Naturally he would project his beliefs onto me.

I understand it all perfectly now.  At the core of everything, there is only LOVE.  Grandma found “gotata” to make me smile, dad refused the term to keep me at an ivory tower status.  Both were all out of love – in their own unique way.  For grandma, my smile is worth a million kisses; for dad, the intellectual status is personal power and all that is.  Both of them wanted to give me what they value the most – from the love within the depth of their hearts.

Wow!  How beautiful LOVE is…

I can judge the place where love came from, I can choose to misunderstand their true intentions, and I can value one form of love higher than another…  Somehow in my mind and my heart, I know that love is love, and below the surface of emotional explosives, behind the masks of our shells, and at the core of everything, there is only LOVE.  We love in different ways, we interpret love and we accept love in different ways.  By recognizing that our ether is made of molecules of love, we can fly higher to another plane of enlightenment, to view life’s tears with understanding, with joy, and with celebration.

At the core of everything, there is only LOVE.

July 5, 2009 Posted by | Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Meaning of Intimacy

Intimate closeness can open up the beauty of one's true essense

Intimate closeness can open up to the beauty of one's true essence (in-to-me-see)

Why do people feel uncomfortable with intimacy?  What is it about the in-to-me-see process that can be so intimidating?  I’ve always been afraid of intimacy.  The word itself can send chilling goosebumps down my spine.  There’s something uncomfortable about being intimate with myself or let along a huge audience.  Why do I feel this way?  What exactly is intimacy anyway?

Today I took the liberty to look up the definition of intimacy from Merriam-Webster.  (Intimacy is the state of being intimate.)

Intimate (transitive verb, adjective, verb)
1 a: intrinsic, essential b: belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature
2: marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity <intimate knowledge of the law>
3 a: marked by a warm friendship developing through long association <intimate friends> b: suggesting informal warmth or privacy <intimate clubs>
4: of a very personal or private nature <intimate secrets>

After chewing on the above meanings through my sleep cycles, an AH-HA moment came to me through a flash of thought as soon as I opened my eyes from my morning meditation.  Intimacy is indeed in-to-me-see!  A warm friendship or a sense of familiarity is the result of in-to-me-see, a result of seeing one for one’s true nature instead of judging one by that person’s surface behaviors, the things one does, or the constructed masks one wear.  The people we see on a daily basis all play a role in their lives from moment to moment.  I am the bioengineer, the business consultant, the author, the student, the teacher…  These are merely the roles that I play in my so called life.  Another person might be playing the role of an angry driver, and yet does that really mean he is just that?  He is more than that.  The next moment when he gets home, he might be the world’s most loving father, the smartest professor, or the coolest 4th of July chef.

Hmmmm…  Interesting…  Does that mean beyond the surface, there is a deeper layer of beauty we all possess?  YES!  Indeed.  By having the courage to see deeper, the willingness to know oneself truly, and the acceptance of our divine nature, we can use intimacy as a tool to experience an even greater spirituality!  Just as the speech of Nelson Mandela indicated, you are a child of God.  Only by in-to-me-see, we can then experience our true essence – our divine nature.

Today on the evening of July 4th, I would like to gift you a special speech written by Marianne Williamson.  May you have the courage to look deeper and shine brightly!  You are worth it!

July 3, 2009 Posted by | Inner Growth, Self Realization | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments