Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

A Ride to Mastery

yoga mastery

Rich rewards through a journey of step-by-step learning and growing - we call this journey MASTERY.

How do you balance a graceful yoga pose on a mountain top OR become a world class speaker? Think MASTERY. According to George Leonard’s book Mastery – to be good at anything, you can’t take a magic pill, but you can definitely enjoy the ride into a process toward mastery. What is the secret behind achieving your highest potential? The modern world tries to convince us we can achieve instant successes, find quick-fixes to long-term illnesses, or become overnight riches without putting forth time and energy. This is why we find ourselves impatient when we embark on a path toward greatness because unconsciously we started to expect quick results.

The bad news – it is very improbably you will achieve anything great without putting enough energy into the process.

The good news – you don’t need a special ticket to achieve your greatest potential, all you need is complete willingness and devotion to the path.

According to George Leonard that there are different types of learners. Some of us are dabblers – we learn things quickly but once we meet obstacles we give up and attempt our effort with something else. Some of us are obsessive  – our learning curve is also steep and we put ourselves into the learning through extra training, books and tools in order to get faster results but end up burnt out in the long run. Others are hackers – they also learn quickly and they don’t need extra information or instructions, they are perfectly happy to stay on the level they are, if there’s growth, then great; no growth no problem! Whereas the master learns quickly, she doesn’t stress when she plateaus, she walks forward with her practice knowing the rise and fall of her growth is immanent and she trusts learning happens at a deeper level and she will raise to a higher plateaus when she is ready.

What type are you? As for me… YUP! You guessed it right, I’m an obsessive dabbler. I’ve lived my live learning many different things but never quite became good at anything. I’ve been seriously obsessive to the point of finding multiple ways to push myself without ever taking a break. I was the super type-A who thought she could stand against the world with her unyielding will. Sounds familiar? Well, the devastating effect is my learning process put me into burnouts after burnouts. I was dead-tired and usually ended up quitting. Even though I know how to snowboard, surf, dance, sing, paint, swim, run, write, skydive, scuba, etc but I was never really good at anything. Doing one thing after another no longer gave me any fulfillment. I was chasing after testing the water without ever feeling a true sense of accomplishment.

The cure? Nowadays I take great pleasure working in the process toward mastery. Being on the path of aikido I realized that there’s so much joy getting into the depth of a Budo. I’ve also found great insights from the five keys to mastery in Leonard’s book. 1) Instruction – the preciousness in having a sensei or any other kind of instructions is we learn from other people’s mistakes and insights. Using an instruction book to begin any kind of practice can give us the foundation to further our learning in a structured manner. I remember the days I tried to learn swimming on my own. Let me tell you it was painful. Once I joined a team with a swim coach, I learned quickly and had more fun. It reduced the length of my plateaus. 2) Practice – duh! Of course in order to get good at something we need to repeat what we learned over and over again. We’ve heard the saying “practice makes it perfect.” Well, actually “perfect practice makes it perfect.” We have to put all of our mind, body and spirit into the practice and treating it like our life depends on it. Only when we focus our practice instead of practice mindlessly we can then improve. I’ve seen several kids in our aikido program that don’t seem to progress at all. That is because they are not present during their practice. The kids who always pay attention and do extra work after class, they enjoy the fruit of their labor quickly. 3) Surrender – what? Yup. Let it go. Let go and let God. When you are in a process, instead of becoming obsessed with “when will I get better” I have to let go and watch the process to unfold. The unconscious mind is always working even when you are not. During your relaxation times your unconscious mind actually integrated all the learning for you. So lay on the beach or take a nap. You will be surprised that tomorrow you might just graduated to the next level! 4) Intentionality – your directed thoughts, images and feelings will amplify your success. Athletes often visualize an event picturing themselves winning prior to the actual competition. In order for any growth to take effect, you have to really want it. Your directed intention will set your unconscious mind work towards your desired outcomes. 5) The edge – always be on the edge, push yourself pass your boundary of comfort, stretch a little. With each edge you will soon find comfort and reach a higher ground. Then push yourself pass another boundary again. The feeling of breaking through boundaries alone can be blissful enough to keep you going. With each boundaries you break through you will feel a new sense of achievement, confidence and drive toward greater mastery.

So friends let’s join hands and walk toward the summit to view a new horizon. We don’t have to quit in the face of difficulties, we don’t have to give up because things got tough, and we certainly don’t have to beat ourselves up toward restless obsessions. All we have to do is to be willing and live on the edge. All we have to do is be willing and practice to achieve our greatest potential – our own personal mastery.

(This is the speech I gave today. They liked it. yippie!)

May 24, 2011 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Choices, Inner Growth | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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