Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Today, I’m in Love

Today, I’m in love. Here are some nuggets of truth I stumbled upon while traveling on the path of self-realization – expressed through my art and micropoetry.

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taming the ego…clarity I see…stunning true nature…set free

mixed media by Flo Li

Awakening Dawn, mixed media on canvas by Flo Li

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allow my love…penetrate your core…burning gentle passion…dazzling aflame
Burning Passionate Love

Red Rose of Love, photography by Flo Li

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miraculous radiance…hidden dark nights…protecting a secret…atonement birthing sunlight
oil on canvas by Flo Li

Secrets of the Dark Night, oil on canvas by Flo Li

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lick me…she says…not my body but my soul…craving your gentle kisses deep inside I grow

Femme Glow, fractal art by Flo Li

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Today, I’m in LOVE. Let’s share. May the Love of Truth set you free~! Namaste.

January 8, 2012 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Fine Arts, love, poetry, Self Realization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Things You Don’t Have to Do by Peter Bolland

Wrong way!?! You don't have to go this way...

I know you’re busy. Everybody’s busy. We are being crushed by our to-do lists. Maybe I can help. Here’s a whole list of things you don’t have to do.

You don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to right every wrong, heal every wound and bridge every gap between what is and what should be. You don’t have to fix all of the broken things.
You don’t have to understand everything. You don’t have to figure everything out. You don’t have to force the uncarved whole into tiny conceptual boxes.

You also don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t have to reduce the mystery of whom and what you are to a category, a type, a box checked on a government form. You don’t have to force your boundless nature into a mold someone else made.
You are not defined by your race, your gender, your ethnicity, your national origin, your political affiliation, your sexual orientation, your ideology, your body, your strengths, your weaknesses or your endless lists of opinions, preferences and aversions. What you really are lies beyond all of those layers of window dressing.

You don’t have to worry about the future. You don’t have to waste one more iota of energy carefully imagining every possible negative outcome and then struggle to avoid those imagined outcomes with tools forged from your own cleverness. You don’t have to bear the burden of every conceivable what-if and yeah-but. You can put them down. As the old Zen saying goes, “How refreshing, the whinny of a pack horse unburdened of everything.”

You don’t have to be someone you’re not. You don’t have to compare yourself to everyone you meet, measuring their best qualities against your worst. You don’t have to violate your own nature in a vain attempt to emulate someone else’s.

You don’t have to match anyone else’s timeline. You don’t have to march alongside anyone or anything else. You don’t have to force the natural flow of events and seasons into the rows and columns of anyone’s timetable spreadsheet, including your own.

You don’t have to believe your harshest self-assessment. You don’t have to believe your own definitions of failure. You might be wrong.

You don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to assume that the universe is a dangerous, hostile place. You don’t have to believe the worst about other people.

You don’t have to buy the next newest thing. You don’t have to want what corporations, marketing departments and salesmen tell you to want.

You don’t have to obey every craving. You don’t have to believe that happiness only comes later, after every need’s been met.

You don’t have to keep running away. You don’t have to keep avoiding the simple truths that are trying to catch up to you. Slow down. They will find you.

You don’t have to be deaf to that still, soft, inner voice. You don’t have to stay so busy, so distracted, so overwhelmed that you remain forever knocked off balance. You don’t have to allow the noise of your busyness to drown out the quiet truths arising in the stillness at your center.

You don’t have to manage everything. You don’t have to scrutinize, assess and manipulate every piece of the puzzle. You don’t have to write the master plan.

You don’t have to keep eating when you’re full. You don’t have to believe the lie that it’s never enough.

You don’t have to get drunk or high. You don’t have to repeat forever habits you picked up when you were young and scared. You don’t have to obey your fear.

You don’t have to shut down when you feel your feelings arise. You don’t have to push away what you cannot control. You don’t have to make your heart an empty, hostile place full of shadows, open wounds, self-doubt and endless hunger.

You don’t have to be lonely. You don’t have to hide. You don’t have to feel unsafe outside the four walls of your cage.

You don’t have to be unhappy.

You don’t have to struggle against change and strain to hold on to things that are trying to fade away.

You don’t have to have an opinion about everything. You don’t have to mistake your own fleeting judgments for truths.

You don’t have to have a perfect family, whatever that is. You don’t have to feel deep, warm and vibrant connections with all of your relatives, or feel guilty and ashamed if you don’t. You don’t have to force your family to conform to a fictional, idealized fantasy.

You don’t have to eliminate all anger and pain from your life. You don’t have to iron out every crease, soak out every stain or chase away every confusion. In the waves of life, you don’t have to define every peak as a success and every trough as a failure.

You don’t have to agree with anyone else’s ideology. You don’t have to accept anyone else’s definition of God, no matter how earnest their pronouncements, no matter how ancient and hallowed their tradition. You don’t have to abandon your own deeply held inner convictions because they conflict with a mass movement or popular theology.

You don’t have to belong to any groups because they’re said to be important. You don’t have to blindly ascribe to any nationalisms, especially if they draw their strength from a sense of exceptionalism or superiority. Empires come and go. Humanity knows nothing of empires. Plant your flag in something that lasts.

Life is short. Don’t waste these precious hours, days, weeks, months and years on things that don’t matter. Do the work that has been given to you to do. Find a way to let go of your fears and live the life your soul is asking for. Let what is trying to emerge through you emerge. Become a part of something larger than yourself. Your bliss depends on it. Shed your limited and limiting definition of yourself. Pledge that you will no longer cling to ways of living that do not serve your highest good. Promise yourself that you will stop waiting for the right time. Now is the right time. There is so much we have yet to do. Each of us has our small part to play. Drop everything that doesn’t matter. Don’t waste another second doing things you don’t have to do.

(This is one of Peter Bolland’s post that moved me to tears. Thought I would share. http://peterbolland.blogspot.com/2011/02/things-you-dont-have-to-do.html)

August 11, 2011 Posted by | Choices, Emotional Freedom | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Got Yoga?

Yoga means to unite - to unite our mind, our body, and our spirit so we can function from our peak potential. Isha Yoga has now brought this ancient yogic practice holistically to our doorstep. Sadhguru is leading this world-wide transformation to liberate the individuals to self-realization. http://www.innerengineering.com

“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.” – Albert Einstein, 1954

Albert Einstein was a yogi, like the Buddha.

What then is really yoga?

In the recent years yoga has commercialized into a non-stopable exercise fever across the world. When you ask the average person walking down the street what yoga is, he will probably tell you it is an exercise routine he himself practices twice a week in his work gym. Ask another, she will probably show you on the spot how well she can do the downward dog. I too teach various yoga poses in my morning aikido class as a part of an exercise routine. So is this it? Yoga helps us to slim down?

According to wikipedia – “Yoga refers to traditional physical, mental and spiritual disciplines, originating in ancient India, whose goal is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.” Yoga Journal covers yoga poses, yoga lifestyle, health through yoga, yoga wisdom, yoga community, yoga conferences and yoga videos. I have personally practiced power yoga, ashtanga yoga, hatha yoga,bikram yoga before stepping into Isha Yoga.

Yoga means yoke, to join, or to become a union. In the physical forms of yoga practice, we learn to integrate our mind into the physical posture. Later we learn to draw our breath to become one with the mind and the posture. The goal in yoga is to become one. Beginners can learn to have one mind instead of a conflicting mind. Then move onto using the mind with the body and the breath to become one complete harmonious being. Advanced yogis can take one step further, once we are in harmony within ourselves, we can then experience the oneness with other individuals and nature around us. Lots of different yoga studios around town will offer you the beginning courses into yoga – learning from poses to breathe to calming the mind. However some of us still desire to experience a deepened practice beyond the superficial. We long to experience the oneness spiritual teachers throughout the ages have spoken of, we long to experience being in union with All That Is. This is where Isha Yoga comes in.

Isha Yoga means yoga of the divine – being in union with the divine. My personal experience has just been such. After practicing various physical yoga forms for more than 10 years, poses no longer fulfilled me. I was able to experience a few hours of mental calmness through the physical exercises but I did not have any spiritual gain. The optical delusion of separateness mentioned in Einstein’s quote was constantly a part of my reality. I felt alone even when I was with friends. I felt unhappy even when I visited the most beautiful places. I wanted more out of life and my personal and professional achievements no longer sustained my desires. Three years ago a friend introduced me to Isha Yoga. I was skeptical. I didn’t like the idea of having a guru or worship a white bearded man who seemed so distant. January 2009, I was feelings so despondent from life I decided to take a leap of faith and see what this Isha Yoga is all about. After my Inner Engineering classes ended, I felt a new sense of acceptance of myself and everything around me. I felt lighter day after day. As I continued my practice day after day, my female emotional storms would normally take me into deep depression are no longer bothering me on such profound levels. As if I could watch my own drama from the audience, I was able to gain much perspective and regain my calmness quickly. No doubt I still experience ups and downs but the dramas in life no longer controlled my life. I felt lighter and lighter day after day…

After my second class BSP, I was finally able to feel complete oneness with everyone and everything. I no longer judged gurus and I felt a sense of affection toward myself, nature and individuals I called strangers. I opened up. All That Is was me, and I am a part of the experience within the universe. I was a fractal microcosm within the macrocosm. I was high in bliss. And that was the first time I completely understood Albert Einstein’s quote “A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space… Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” And I felt the Truth in his words as tears of appreciation streamed down my face when I gazed upon Sadhguru.

Remember – “if your happiness and your wellbeing is not subject to anybody or anything, only then are you free. Otherwise whether you are in a prison or walking outside on the street, you still are a prisoner within yourself.”

Today as I share my Isha Yoga experience with you, I hope you will find within yourself the curiosity to explore – to explore a deepened yoga experience, to explore a beautiful life, and to explore your peak potential.

June 14, 2011 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Self Realization, World Transformation | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Of Beer and Water

happy beer

“To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” – Homer Simpson, The Simpsons (Thanks to Jokers ™ http://angbuhayngis.blogspot.com/)

I’m not a simple person. I analyze. I won’t let go. Sometimes I even drive myself and other people nuts. I must come up with a solution to a problematic situation or else my mind will never rest. This is me. Accept it.

Here’s the story of beer and water. A straightforward story somehow turned into a complex way for me to change my perspective on life.

On Saturday after our vigorous aikido test, a bunch of us went out to celebrate with pizza and beer. I naturally took on the responsibility of getting beer for everyone at the table. After paid for a large pitcher and got four glasses, my hands were full. The crowd bumped into me as I struggled to bring our California Honey™ to the table. “I can finally relax now,” I thought to myself. “Is there WATER?” someone asked. “OH! We need another glass!” another person requested. Fine. I felt drops of sweat on my forehead as I pushed myself through the crowd back to the counter and returned with several water cups and another glass. The background music pounded louder as my muscles got even sorer. “Finally my bottom can touch the seat,” I thought to myself as I carefully poured beer into everyone’s glass. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the friend near me got water for himself as he gingerly enjoyed the hydration. I looked around and noticed all the other water cups were empty and I desperately needed a sip of purity. “Did you get water for us too?” I asked as I gazed into the empty cups. Silence. “Could you please get the rest of us some water too?” I demanded with frustration. Unwillingly, he stood up and dragged himself to bring several more cups of water back to the table.

That was the story of beer and water. A straightforward story left me feeling uneasy for the next few days. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t help but feel all the uncomfortableness came after the story of beer and water. I just couldn’t let it go.

What really happened there? My ego could make up a bunch of judgements about the “fact” that he is lazy, inconsiderate and he should be able to use the cups I brought to bring the rest of us water as he filled his own damn cup. I could keep on being mad.  I could ask myself why wouldn’t someone simply repay my kindness. He might be tired but we were all tired. It is unfair that I help out everyone else and no one helps me back.

WAIT! Break… My egoic thinking worsened the situation and I must change my own god damn mind to be in balance again.

Think again. What really happened there? Deep down behind the incident is my belief that if I did something nice someone else should meet me half way. So if I brought his cup and poured his beer then the least he can do is to bring me water along with his. But life doesn’t work that way. It is extremely unfair of me to make such a demand on him. It is unkind to twist his arm and force him to be kind to me. It is my choice to be kind. I must not expect appreciation nor reciprocation in return. Acts of kindness with expectations would only set me up for more disappointments. In order to regain my own balance without needy requests I must be able to live as an expression of kindness and joy. My life would be lighter and less complicated if I lived without expectations. I give because I want to, not because I might be appreciated or praised. In order to let go my discomfort for blame, I myself must live in such a way to expect no payment. My goal is not to give to receive, I give to give, I love to love. It is pure – not contaminated with a hidden agenda. If any returned kindness is received, it is a surprise, it is a gift. This way is a much happier way to live.

I know some people would never let such a small everyday incident bother them. I am not a simple person. I don’t turn away. I think. A lot. This is me. I am complicated. Like or not I analyze. I won’t let go until I find a happier solution to my problem. Cheers. I love who I am and I will do anything I can to change the behavior within me so I will never hurt someone else.  After lots of beer and water, I am thankful for my new found insight. Oh god, I certainly hope he will accept my apologies…

April 20, 2011 Posted by | Choices, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Let the Tears Flow

Me, exposed

"Tears sometimes cleanse the heart and ready it for deeper love." - Bob Luckin (Artist, Co-Director at Spiritual Enrichment Center, Sr. Minister at International Centers for Spiritual Living)

“Crying is for Wimps.” So I was told. But they didn’t tell me where to put my anger, my sadness and my sorrow…  I hurt. My body, my mind, my emotions… Sometimes I felt as if my chest was caving in and I must run away before my heart explodes. Other times I wish I had a strong man to hold me in his arms and tell me everything will be alright. This time I could not run nor use a man to rescue me. This time I am alone.

So I cried. Loud. I screamed out my sorrows from the depth of me. I saw my tortured soul burning in the sea of agony. Her pain ran into the dark abyss. I wanted to pull her out but didn’t know how. So I cried… The waves of hailing tears went on and on… And the end was nowhere near.

I cried for my heartbreak, I cried for not being good enough, I cried for my fears, I cried for my neediness, I cried for my physical pain, I cried for my inability to love freely, I cried for my suppressed feelings, I cried for my failures, I cried for my longings, I cried for my disappointments, I cried for stepping into potholes, I cried for being unkind, I cried for always getting myself into storms of emotions, I cried for my loneliness, I cried for misunderstandings, I cried for hurting the ones I love, I cried for my confusion, I cried for my desires, I cried…

I asked myself if feelings were wrong. Yet how could something so natural and so raw be wrong? If it weren’t wrong then why can’t I show it freely? If I can feel so much hard twisted suppressed pain within me then do you feel the same pain? If I have spent so many years suppressing my true feelings then do you suppress them too? If I only smile to the world and secretly lock away my truth do you do the same? If we all suffer then who is going to rescue us from descending deeper into the abyss? Why do we have such violent feelings? Why can’t I stop crying? … Analyzing my pain only brought up more self-inflected misery. So I discarded my intellect, peeled off my cloth, laid on my back and watched the tears flow.

Naked. Exposed. Raw. This is me. The uncut version.

I feel deeply. I love passionately. I sense intensely. This is me. The truthful version.

I pretended I didn’t care. I acted I didn’t bleed. I toughed it out to demonstrate I am doing just fine. But I am not. That is not me. You only saw the mask and thought that was the real me.

I cried for all the untruth I showed to you, I cried for all the rejected feelings within me, I cried for all the masks I wore, I cried for all the egoic games I played, I cried for alienating you, I cried for the old wounds that still hunt me, I cried for the hope that someday I can show you how deeply I love, I cried for the longing to express my truth, I cried for us and the freedom within reach…

Two days of tears. Two days of storms. Wind. Thunder. Hail. I am still here, somehow standing calmly within the storm. No need to run. No need to hide. The ice melting. A smile softening into the tears. My heart is beating. Regardless of the storm, I am calm. I am here. I am free.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, Self Realization, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Smile, Greet Chaos

Order in Chaos

Forces of nature took wind, rain, disorganized pine needles into a beautiful orderly piece of art. Organized Chaos, copyright 2011

True perfection seems imperfect,
yet it is perfectly itself.
True fullness seems empty,
yet it is fully present.

True straightness seems crooked.
True wisdom seems foolish.
True art seems artless.

The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out-of-the-way
and lets the Tao speak for itself.

– Tao Te Ching ch.45

This verse came at the perfect time when my world came crashing down with so much chaos and so many uncertainties. The engineer in me felt so overwhelmed and unable to plan everything to meet the next challenge.

“Let go and let God,” I thought. I have witnessed miracles happen in the past and it can surely happen again. Just like the Tao Te Ching verse, I can shape events as they come instead of planning how to counter every possibility in advance. I can step out-of-the-way and allow God/Tao to do its work. Time after time I have witnessed chaos turning into order. This time I must step out-of-the-way for God to enter. I must have faith and trust things will work out for the best.

Alright. All that sounds too good to be true and I’m personally sick of hearing all the new age spirituality mumble jumbles. Another part of me wondered if I just wait for God and what if God didn’t even get my message asking for help? How can I sit here mediate and wait for God when my car is totaled, my body is in pain and my finance decided to take a vacation?

Could there be a middle way? That is exactly what I had to do. After been suddenly rear-ended at a traffic light two weeks ago, I rested to gain strength and clarity before moving into action again. 1) Instead of hoping the insurance company will give me a decent settlement for my car, I did a few hours of research myself to find the acceptable price range; 2) used my facebook network to find the right healthcare for my physical pain; 3) talked to friends about their experience in such accidents and collected DOs and DON’Ts; 4) kept on my eyes open for the next car of interest while allowing my dreams to guide me to a specific model; 5) researched on consumer reports, local listings to find cars within my need; 6) mediated and listened to my body and got various medical treatments from chiropractic work to somatic trauma work; 7) I reassigned clients with other service providers so everyone will be taken care of when I’m out; etc.

Once I did all the work I know I could do, the rest was up to God. The results were astonishing. 1) The insurance appraisal for my car came back to be more than I had expected; 2) I found my chiropractor, acupuncturist and somatic trauma healer all from my network on facebook; 3) I decided to take my physical pain seriously due to various recommendations of friends who still suffer in physical pain from such an accident; 4) found the Honda dealer while remembering a dream of sitting in a new Honda and finding comfort; 5) determined the new and old Honda CR-V, Subaru Outback were my top choices; 6) I work through a lot of physical pain and can move my neck again while release locked emotional trauma associated with the accident and now I’m eased myself back into aikido training; 7) my clients are taking care of and two of them even came to the house to visit me. Finally just over the weekend when I didn’t know where to get the money to purchase the new Honda CR-V I really want, my dad called and offered to help me out with the payment. The dealer called me as soon as I hang up the phone with my dad and we settled on a purchasing price lower than Costco auto quotes. By Monday afternoon, I was able to sit in my new car freshly off the shipping truck and  now all I have to do is wait for the paperwork to be completed by early next week. The best part is I have met the most sincere insurance agent and car sales woman in the history of mankind. This painful experience did not break my spirit but instead made me stronger and more compassionate.

I’m still amazed how so much chaos can be dumped on someone through unexpected circumstances. It is even more amazing how much power we have to transform chaos into order, elevate pain into enlightenment. We do not have to be enslaved by our circumstances, we can smile, greet chaos and shape events the best we can. The secret is to listen, then act, and allow. “The Master allows things to happen. She shapes events as they come. She steps out-of-the-way and lets the Tao speak for itself.” Yes, indeed. Now onto the next challenge.

April 7, 2011 Posted by | Chinese, Emotional Freedom, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Importance of Being Humble

"Who needs thorns when you have meek?"

"Who needs thorns when you have meek? See Beauty born...from Darkest Deep." - SanctusSilva

I’ve always thought strength was demonstrated through un-yeilding boldness. Having had a successful life in my 20s, I resorted to getting things done by my uninhibited determination. I stepped on toes. I made people cry. I was relentlessly running toward the finish line while knocking over anyone stood in my way. Of course I celebrated every win. And I didn’t care if I treated people as means to an end. I thought I was so smart and so tough that even life had to yield to me.

Oh boy, was I wrong…

Life offered me several chances to breakdown my pride and come back to earth.

Years later, I now find joy in humility. Today I choose the path of being humble.

“In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your piece of heart. As soon as you compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not exist.” – Thomas Merton

The word humility refers to the quality o being humble, which stems from the Latin words humilis and humus and is also related to the Greek word chamai meaning “earthy, be on the ground.” We often confuse humbleness with being inferior. Today I invite you to examine the meaning of “modest and unpretentious.” To me, humility is a quality of true understanding of suffering. Bestselling author Caroline Myss in her book Entering the Castle explains that being humiliated by someone can activate our shadow side that foster feelings of vengeance or resentment. By maintaining an attitude of humbleness we can then transcend to the level of healthy detachment to feel the feelings of our shadow side yet still be liberated from the urge of shadow actions. Like a lotus flower, we can experience the pain of growth stemmed from a bed of mud yet still radiate love as we bloom. A lotus flower endured the pain of becoming yet it chooses to maintain its un-competing soft modesty. By gazing upon a lotus flower you might discover the grace of humility with expressions such as: understanding, endurance, resilience, compassion, patience, wisdom, forgiveness, gratitude, etc.

I knew of a man who was filled with pride. He was not balanced. One day another car took the parking space we waited for, he nearly pulled out a gun. The smallest disagreement can set him off into a nuclear explosion. He pretended to be a peaceful man while secretly lived in emotional turmoil. He had to dress up in suit and tie to maintain an image. If someone made a humorous remark at his expense he would threaten to inflict physical pain on one’s family. Nevertheless he always told me that he is a peaceful man and I had to agree or else… I also know a meek man who is filled with compassion. He is grounded in his integrity. The day he was deeply wounded he chose to walk away. He did not have to had the last word. He wore t-shirts from fifteen years ago without any sense of shame. Humility gave him the strength to help the one who injured him. He is never too prideful to say sorry. He walks through life with his chest forward and shoulders relaxed. And he always greets people with a sincere smile.

Looking at these two examples I wonder who can bring-forth peace on earth…

If you too choose to walk the path of humbleness we can embark our journey with one another. Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves to remove the blocks of being humble as suggested by Caroline.
1) How does fear of being humiliated control your life?
2) When have you been humiliated?
3) How have you humiliated others?
4) List ten positive and ten negative associations with humility.
5) Why being humble is difficult for you?

I gained much perspective by working through these questions. I also gaze upon paintings of blooming lotuses to remind myself the beautiful of soft modesty. Today I choose the path of being humble. Thank you for sharing your journey with me as I leave you with this quote from a true master Bruce Lee – the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Choices, Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, World Transformation | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Follow-up on Forgiveness

The Little Soul and the Sun

The Little Soul and the Sun (A Children's Parable by Neale Donald Walsch) illustrates the purpose of experiencing darkness in order to find the light.

A few days ago I got an email from a reader of my blog. Seemingly confused, he wanted to clarify what he had read in the post A Forgive-ful Christmas. At first I laughed to myself because forgiveness is such a simply yet difficult concept that most of us spend our lifetime digging away the rough carbon to find the real diamond. Like formation of a diamond, we too can find our inner diamond by not shying away from heat and pressure but instead using them to find our true glow.

His request was simple: “Question please… In your writings you mention that during your martial arts, you are aggressive, attacking, and defending, yet at the end you BOW to your opponent as a means to say [thank you] for what has happened, could you please help [me] understand this logic? I am [in] sales and I go hard for the deals and sometimes, I don’t have a closure. I love your writing around this, I just don’t fully understand the complete meaning. Thanks, J.”

My answer might be slightly complex so I will do my best to stay true to my heart by sharing the heat and pressure of my own experience.

My first conscious experience of forgiveness was during a personal-development seminar with Christopher Howard. On stage, Christ illustrated a beautiful children’s parable called The Little Soul and The Sun. This story began with the Little Soul found that he is the Light. But he also wanted to experience himself being the Light. The only problem was there were no easy ways to experience himself when “there is nothing but the Light.” God had a wonderful idea to allow the Little Soul to experience being the Light by the use of darkness. “Then God explained that, in order to experience anything at all, the exact opposite of it will appear … You could not know Warm without Cold, Up without Down, Fast without Slow.” Little Soul then selected a special part of the Light to experience called Forgiveness but didn’t know how the simulation would take place. So the Friendly Soul jumped up to volunteer as darkness and do something really bad to the Little Soul on earth so the Little Soul can experience himself as Forgiveness. Initially the Little Soul couldn’t understand why the Friendly Soul would become dark to do something against his true nature as the Light to help the Little Soul. ” ‘Simple,’ the Friendly Soul said. ‘I would do it because I love you.’ “

With no conscious understanding of what had hit me, I bursted into tears before Christ can finish the whole story.

The next conscious experience of forgiveness I can remember took place during a conversation with a friend named Sandra. She confessed to me she had so much stored up anger and sometimes she can feel her chest caving in. She was dealing with a divorce where her husband left her for a younger woman. The anger was consuming her and whenever a younger beautiful woman walked by she would switch to her devil eyes glared with judgment. At the same time I was feeling guilty because my loving nature had caused some people to believe that the love I gave was more than platonic and I didn’t understand love enough to communicate it otherwise. And that became the catalyst that drove one couple to the edge of divorce where I was perceived as the angel who helped them to face therapy turned into the devil who nearly broke their marriage. The circumstance was the husband contemplated getting a divorce and he conversed with me intimately about his life-long feelings whereas the wife believed his emotional intimacy with me was an affair she cannot forgive and it broke her heart.

As Sandra and I opened up to each other played the parts of the wife and the other woman, we were able to see the hidden suffering in each other’s story. For Sandra her marriage was who she was. When she got married in her early 20s she had quit her job to take care of the house and a new baby. When the child grew up and left for college she no longer remembered who she was before her marriage. She spent her time cooking and cleaning while feeling more and more empty. The passion between her and her husband was gone and she projected onto him the anger she felt for herself. Secretly she wished she had done something more with her life. She was not satisfied being only the mother and the house-wife. She was mad at herself for giving up her career for the family. She eventually opened up to me and spoke responsibly, “in a way I’ve always dreamt escaping this jail I built for myself, now after the divorce I am finally free!” A year later after our conversation she had stopped blaming her ex for her dissatisfaction in life and re-entered the nursing program and became a nurse at the age of 50.

As for me, I saw the pain Sandra had to go though and I felt an intense sympathy for the wife who accused me of an affair and I forgave her for attacking me. In the past few years I’m slowing forgiving myself for being the Love that I am as I’m learning to communicate the difference between romantic love and platonic love. Because of the wife’s upset to my emotional intimacy with her husband, I am now protecting myself by my certifications in the art of psychological therapy occasionally working as a life-skills coach.

The third experience I’m sharing is of good humor. Similar to the post A Forgive-ful Christmas I was told to throw a full punch in martial arts training. As you know in martial arts one of us pretends to be the attacker so the other partner can learn the self-defense technique. Only this time I couldn’t throw a punch into the gut of a friend who I love very much. I didn’t want to inflict pain in cause the punch was not blocked. “Stop!” Sensei yelled out, “you must attack like you are really going to hit her.” I told him I didn’t want to as tears filled up my eyes. Sensei took us both aside and spoke in a softer tone, “if you only throw soft punches then she will never be able to learn. If she doesn’t move in time and gets hit, the next time she knows to move faster. Now train!” We ended up training with tears in our eyes. Nowadays I don’t take it easy on her and whenever we do hurt each other we scream out “ouch!” and after that we giggle together.

Looking back, I have learned so much from my past experience. I don’t pretend to be the expert in forgiveness but I have certainly noticed this: whenever I feel the emotions completely from a painful experience without getting stuck in the mode to blame the other, I move forward with a greater understanding beyond circumstances to kick-start my psychological healing. Finally I naturally see the good in the painful experience and always end up thanking the person for giving me the gift of heat and pressure so I can find my true glow. Did you notice the words in “for giving me the gift” contains forgive? Hmm, interesting…

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, love, Self Realization, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Organic Time

Flo Li's Cosmic Time

Organic Time is not your traditional measurements of linear time, it is nonlinear Cosmic Time - Fractal Art by Flo Li copyright2010 http://www.FloLi.com

I’ve always had difficulties with time ever since I was a child. Someone once told me that I was like Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit who always looked at her pocket watch and ran around like she is already late. When I worked in corporate, I always arrived at meetings at least 5 minutes early. I have hurried my 84 year-old grandmother to walk faster so we won’t be late for lunch. And of course my girl friends would call me the time nazi and they are always scared to death that I might be mad if they arrived late. Even on my spiritual path I often felt like I’m not making enough progress in the time frame I sought for myself. I was not releasing my emotional pain fast enough, I was not ending my patterns of judgment quickly enough, and of course I was not being my 100% authentic self speedy enough. This so called time and doing things quickly enough have been determining how I interacted with others in the world as well as how I added stress to myself. Little by little time became a restriction to my being instead of the intended tool for harmonious social interaction. So now how do I escape this mental jail I’ve created for myself around time?

The concept of organic time came about when I realized that every once in a while, I can make tremendous progress within a short amount of time. For example, I developed a business development plan for Qualcomm’s healthcare department in one workday under the influence of a force called inspiration. I’ve also created beautiful works of art in minutes instead of months. And on the spiritual front, I have also changed deep rooted limiting beliefs that could have taken lifetimes in a hour of meditation. So somehow, the engineer inside of me felt as if something didn’t add up and perhaps this thing called time is indeed nonlinear, non-constant organic time that I have not paid much attention to. And perhaps within the concept of organic time I might be able to break through my boundaries, stop worrying so much about being on time and live a more carefree life towards spiritual freedom.

Artists such as Laurie Simmons featured in the PBS documentary Art in the 21th Century believed the most important thing to her as an artist was to use photography as a tool to capture “a very still quite moment with frozen time.” She was conscious of creating another reality that was “clean and still and quite and beautiful and lots of times de-voided of people because life felt very chaotic.” In a way she too was looking for a moment of clarity amid chaos and have found it within a frozen moment of peaceful stillness.

In his book Flow, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found a place of suspension of time. It can be described as a total and complete absorption within an activity where time stands still. And within Flow that is where happiness, optimal experience and freedom occur. With his initial studies involved a few hundred “experts” in various fields, Csikszentmihalyi noticed a commonality where “…time no longer seems to pass the way it ordinarily does. The objective, external duration we measure with reference to outside events like night and day, or the orderly progression of clocks, is rendered irrelevant…”

According to the 18th century mathematician and philosopher Edmund Husserl’s remarks in his Essays on the Inner Consciousness of Time, time itself “is not measured nor to be measured by any position of the sun, by any clock, by any physical means.” He suggested this experientially determined time is the result of immanent, inner experience of sequence of events at the core of consciousness. He believed that consciousness itself is the deepest and the most fundamental level of reality. Therefore organic time according to our individual experiences is “what is ultimately and truly absolute.” And since time is in the experience and what matters the most is the individual’s experience of time.

Physicist Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity describes space and time where time changes and is relative to its initial frame. Therefore an “universal clock” that fits everyone everywhere and every action can not exist. The famous Twin Paradox illustrates of twin brothers with two life paths as one travels the galaxy and the other stays on earth will someday meet in person and find their dramatic age differences. Einstein realized that time changes and can accelerate or decelerate depending on the relative movement. Physics indicates that perhaps our experience of time can change depending on our frame of mind and the speed of its movement.

In an interesting article called Intellectual History of Time from orientalia.org – a journal site maintained by scholars and academic publishers dedicated to Eastern philosophy also contain the concept of organic time. It is said that “history is not just an ordered set of singular events. It is a subtle underground movement in the minds, materials, and organization of a society.” Within such movements of complex system we call society, time itself must be modified in order to give meaning. Where “by way of the changing tempo and structure of our lives through the passing generations, contorted by inventions, ideas, art, and altogether changing paradigms and philosophies, we have consistently found new ways to remedy time’s obscure procession with our changing modes of measurement and interaction. Our conceived notions of time have developed in accordance with our art, our science, and our social infrastructure.” And “the intellectual history of time is a subtle progression that weaves through the collective experience of generations, as it weaves through each individual’s emotional and intellectual lives.”

What do artists, psychologist, mathematicians, philosophers, physicists, historians and I agree? I think we all agree that time is experiential and organic. I have asked myself if I can be less strict about how I view time. Can I not give a girl friend the evil eye when she arrives late on our shopping date? Can I give myself a break to enjoy a steaming latte without looking at the clock? A moment of java explosion in my mouth could potentially feel like a pleasurable eternity if I just allow myself the freedom to be. I think tomorrow I will allow myself to sleep during the day and work into the night if that fits into my organic time infrastructure. To allow is to be free. Perhaps I am holding the key to my own freedom within the matrix of nonlinear time. And perhaps my freedom is not pin-pointed upon a pre-defined singularity of time but it flows within the ever-changing eddies of nonlinear organic matrix of time.

Can you hear the Rolling Stones singing “time, is on my side…”?

Note: Since this is not an academic paper and I’m only blogging for my own pleasure, I was not strict on my references. However, I did make links to the sites you might find interesting and you can google the rest.

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Choices, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, Self Realization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What is a “Broken Heart”?


stress and burdens in life

Dealing with the burdens of a "broken heart" can stop the flow of love into your life

What is a “broken heart” and what can help us heal from such emotional trauma?

When we hold grudges against someone, no matter consciously or unconsciously, it hurts us. The pain can sometimes be sharp and other times dull and numb. This undercurrent of pain blocks the flow of love to and from us. We become hard in some way, and that damages us inside, physically, emotionally and energetically. When we refer to a “broken heart”, we are talking about a physical sensation or emotional upheavals in the body. The discomfort is caused by thoughts such as “our partner doesn’t love us any more” or “what if I will end up alone for the rest of my life”. Thoughts and feelings of a “broken heart” are very painful therefore we must armor ourselves against any other possible chances of getting hurt again. This armor is an energetic wall we build up around our heart, ignored for long periods of times can cause further physical problems such as heart diseases.

The problem is really not the heart itself but our fantasies of holding onto the things that are dear to our hearts. Somewhere along our path we bought into the ideas of how things should be. This often involves a happily ever after in love relationships. Changes happen and happily ever after is as real as Santa Claus. When something we hold so dear to our hearts end so abruptly, our whole world is turned upside down as we lose control of our emotions, our lives, and our personal power. We often don’t want to face the fact that our fantasies have been shattered. It hurts too much. It hurts to face the reality of “what is” so we create scenarios of what might happen. “He will realize that he made a mistake and come back to me” or “one day he will regret his decision to leave me and that it will be too late” is the kind of thinking that get us deeper and deeper into our self created drama. Our mind will often go over the stories again and again, running around in circles until we are no longer able to function optimally in our own lives. It is very difficult to let go completely of the people who we feel have hurt us, betrayed us, or abandoned us. Most of us either 1) go on carrying an illusion that one day everything will be ok if we just ignore the pain and our love will be miraculously be rekindled or 2) we carry hate and revenge against anyone who has said something or done something that caused us pain. Both of these are unhealthy and carry a lot of emotional reactions whenever something reminds us of them. Most of times no matter how hard we try to stay positive, focused, and upbeat, the underlying pain is sitting there and always peak its head when we are most vulnerable. Both of these ways are burdensome to ourselves as we put up our energetic wall around our hearts. This way of being offers tremendous amount of damage to ourselves as we are not able to move forward to embrace life and love. It is a terrible thing waiting for life to happen as our self-esteem and confidence slowly corrode away. We never seem to get life started and we fear of wasting our life away yet we don’t know how to move forward.

The only way to really move on is to let go.

Ways to let go
1) See the lessons or gifts they have brought into your life;
2) Heal yourself from past wounds;
3) Slowly let down your heart wall so you can allow yourself to be loved again.

It takes tremendous amount courage to self-examine your life and check if you are holding any grudges that is keeping you stuck. If you do choose to make a decision to let go the past, I have written an eBook to help you heal your “broken heart” the simple way in a step-by-step guide. Please visit www.endHeartbreak.com to download the free eBook. Remember, the process of healing your broken heart is to clean yourself free of burden and become emotionally free to give and receive love in a pure and authentic way. To your success!

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment