Archive

Personal Change

image

Like most people, I struggle to wake up early.  Reading LifeHack about how CEOs wake up at 4.30am and hit the gym did nothing for me. Are all successful people “early risers” or larks? There are successful owls too – Winston Churchill as pin-up poster boy. He led Britain to victory in two world wars, and was an accomplished writer and painter.

This year while teaching a class on Motivation theories, I am reminded of my Malaysian students who turn up for my 0830am class – on time, sometimes even earlier than me.  They cross the immigration border every morning, instead of living in expensive Singapore, while others saunter into class at 930am, if they even show up.

Intuitive-Feeling NF

As a Feeling person, I am inspired by these Johor Bahru students. For these students, I come to class early and want to be a happy teacher, not one with morning “peevishness”.

Coming from a “Shame” culture, knowing that many successful CEOs wake up early, does nothing for me. I feel ashamed of my inadequacy. And then guilty, because I’m a mixed up bag of a globalised Asian steeped in western education.

Introversion

As an introvert who lectures 30hrs-33hrs a week to class sizes of 45-100 university students, the last thing I want to do, after work-hours is to be with other people.  I’m exhausted from standing and speaking and responding to questions. After class,, more one-to-one time with introverted students who need more space. This overstimulation creates stress hormones which must be rid of.

 #1 Get rid of the negative toxins

Getting up early starts the night before. I hit the gym and exercise away the negative toxins. If I go to bed immediately, my brain will process all the over-stimulation of my senses from the day’s class. Studies have shown that introverts have a shorter neural pathway to the brain, they are stimulated faster than extroverts. Watching movies over-stimulates my senses. I read light relaxing materials.

Don’t ruminate. “F” are concerned about relationships. Stop going over the day’s events. If a thought comes up, Oh did I say something stupid in class. I stash such thoughts away, or I send positive thoughts towards that student.  Bashing myself up is not going to make me a better person.

#2 Ring-fence your time

As a Feeling person, its natural to want to attend to others first and my responsibilities. Its anti-social to want to go to bed early or not go to that dinner party with friends. I feel guilty for  not turning up for dinner with friends the night before an 0830am lecture.

Now I give myself permission to be selfish to spend “Me” time. Time for yourself is motivating for introverts. Waking up early gives me an hour, my best time to do something creative before showing up for work.  I have responsibility to the 100 students I’m meeting at 0830am and 12pm. They deserve a teacher who’s energetic, not one grouchy from lack of sleep.

#3 Set your alarm 

I’m a weak J. I’m not spontaneous. I work better with structure and knowing where I’m heading.  With a good nights rest, I wake up at 6am. The alarm goes off. If I’ve given my body at least 7.5hrs sleep, and set an alarm, my body wakes up slightly before the alarm goes off. If I tell my body the night before, that I’m waking up at 6am and mentally rehearse what I’ll do when I’m awake. First I drink coffee, then 2 cups of warm water, my breakfast at a coffee joint and I write one page…

Now I stop procrastinating. Most mornings, I don’t allow for snooze.  If I’m very worried over something and wake up at 3am, I get up and stop lying in bed. Either I meditate or write down what I can do about the situation. Lying in bed replaying the event is worse for me.

I discovered from a Traditional Chinese medicine book long ago that the ideal time to sleep around 10pm when the body is healing the large intestines and wake up between 5-7am.

This has worked for me especially where bowel movements is concerned. Drinking two glasses of warm water helps me kick start my day.

As an Intuitive, I draw meaning about my life’s situation and how time management can help me towards life purpose and leading a more meaningful existence.

What’s your MBTI?

[This article was first published on 21 Jan 2016 on wordpress.]

Sharing this beautiful song – Royalty

Like a brush in the hands of an artist
I am Your masterpiece
A thought before life ever started
You took Your time on me

A friend shared this insight. Does a brush know the intentions of the Master Painter? Sometimes, dark paint is used. Sometimes, empty spaces -silence. Other times, bright paint on the canvas of life.

At times, dabs, blobs to create texture. A brush does not know and cannot comprehend the final painting but trusts completely that the Master Painter will bring about a final picture that is full of glory.

Today, are we willing brushes? As humans, we have choice to use or not use our skills and where to use them.

Do you believe you are a mistake, accident? Or do you believe that your life is co-dependency with a Master Painter who wants to work with you and share the blue print of your life.

Unlocking creativity, shifting mindsets by Michael Roberto

Time travel into your future self

What would your future self want to see? Jeff Bezos and Amazon staff use ” time travel” frequently to stimulate innovative thinking about new products ane services.

Andy Jassy of AWS explains that developers do not begin writing software code for a new project until they have drafted a hypotetical press release for their new product offering. Of course these press releases are not actually published for months or years.

Process is described as working backwards.

How do you shift perspectives?

Recently, I conducted a 20 yr future self visualisation at a workshop. If you are interested, link can be accesssed here.

Some participants fell asleep. Some younger participants had a peek at themselves at 40 yrs old and assured that all will be well, yet chose to keep future a mystery to be discovered.

One of my clients, Patricia, who was in her fifties, visualised herself in her seventies.

She later shared that her mother in law was currently in her 90s. Alive but flat on bed. She was so weak that she cannot sit up on her own and needed help with her waste disposal. She was on many pain relieving medication. Not knowing how to read or write, her days were spent lying in bed watching television, most of the time with deep anger and bitterness. She had no religion to provide comfort nor to deceive her.

Patricia learnt from this activity that if she were to have an active lifestyle in her seventied, she needed to plan for the unexpected possibility that her days might be longer than we hope for. When we say “life is short”, and live with expectation that death comes swiftly, the irony with modern medicine is a long slow death in spirit, emotion and body.

It changed her perspective on the investments she planned to reskill and keep in touch with active age-rs.

What short term, long term, infinite term planning are we willing to put in?

#future self visualisation

#short term

3 inch golden lotus feet

Bounded 3 inch golden lotus feet.

Would you believe that mothers used to bind feet of their daughters during the Qing dynasty so they will be of marriageable quality?

This pair of decorative shoes was gifted to me by my mom. But a hundred years ago in China, they were functional.

As I reflected on how older women used to bind the feet of younger women, a thought crossed my mind.

How are we binding the feet of the younger generation? With fear, doubt, negativity?

While our feet are no longer bound. Our hearts and minds are still bound.

Time to be free from this bondage.

Time to forgive the older women who did not know better.

Happiness is having big feet and shoes of peace to explore.

gratitude is a CHOICE, not a feeling.  Like any habit we want to develop, it takes practice.

How may I develop a *habit* of gratitude?

Today, I went where the pain is. A very controlling lady whom I didnt like very much, came to my mind. Practicising gratitude was tough.

But during the day, thoughts of how I first met her, and how her decision not to impose a decision on the group allowed me to do more research instead of coasting.

Biggest time waster for me in 2021 and before is spending an hour being angry and repeating same angry thoughts daily for 10 years.

Points of You Coaching Game

What is it time to start?

What do I want?

The Art of Happiness by His Holiness Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

This very well written book and easy to read, has so many parallels to another teacher, Saul-Paul.

Dalai Lama considers “the turning toward happiness as a valid goal and the conscious decision to seek in a systematic manner can profoundly change the rest of our lives”.

1. First step in seeking happiness is learning (p38). Learn how negative emotions and behaviour are harmful to us and how positive emotions are helpful.

Paul of Tarsus – Galations 5: 22

“The fruit of the Spirit is charity (love), joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self discipline (self-control)…”

Learn about the different mental states, classify them according to whether they lead to happiness or not. (p39)

Dalai Lama considers Constructive vs Destructive emotions such as hatred, fear sense of insecurity.

Personally I think its wise to learn about different emotions especially after I underwent coaching training, I begin to realise that Ps 128 talks about fear of the Lord, when I read the Hebrew word, it translates to “awe, reverence, wonder” and not the paralysing fear we talk about.

I agree with Cutler’s point that rather than classify mental states, emotions as “greed is sin” or “hatred is sin”, Dalai Lama classifies emotions as positive or negative to whether they lead to our ultimate happiness.

If happiness is simply a matter of cultivating more positive mental states like kindness, why are so many people unhappy?

Dalai Lama’s advice is that various techniques such as developing positive motivation:

“I will use this day in a positive way. I should not waste this very day.”

“Did I use this day as I planned”

Yes, rejoice.

No, regret and critique the day.

Although Dalai Lama claim these as buddhist practices, they are not solely, and are found in Catholic/Christian texts and Chinese philosophical texts. But what Dalai Lama is excellent in doing, is use scientific research, eg neuroplasticity of mind to underpin buddhism text.

Psalm 1 talks about how your social company can influence your ways. In Chinese proverbs, the saying goes that when you immerse silk in red ink, it becomes red. When you immerse it in black ink, it becomes black.

Through training, meditation practice, we can transform our mind, says Dalai Lama.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 (Paul)

How do we renew our minds? Do not be conformed to the patterns of the world and with supernatural intervention. Although it is not fully explained in the Bible, as Christian Bible is limited to 66 books. Where Christian text differs is the belief that God has given the Holy Spirit.

Usefulness of Compassion

Dalai Lama: once you accept that compassion is worthwhile, realise its deeper value, then you immediately develop an attraction towards it, a willingness to cultivate it… Once you encourage thought of compassion in your mind, then your attitude towards others chsnges automatically….. But without the attitude of compassion, if you are feeling closed, irritated or indifferent, then you can be approached by your best friend and you just feel uncomfortable.

Paul: (Charity, Lovingkindness) Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. … And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13

Further reading on cultivating compassion, joy, read Theresa of Lisieux and Teresa of Avila “The Interior Castle”.

With covid 19 and the rise of loneliness and depression, Cutler’s question to Dalai Lama on whether he felt lonely seems useful to me. (p70). Unlike investigators suggestion that the strategy to overcome loneliness is to work on improving social skills such as self disclosure, picking up conversational skills, Dalai Lama’s strategy is to bypass social skills and work on cultivating compassion.

Practice: Meditation on “our dependence on others”.

Do you wonder how many people are involved in making your shirt? The salesperson who sold the farmer the tractor, the people who grew the cotton, who sewed the cloth. Virtually every aspect of my life is the result of others efforts. Before we use the word “supply chain” and logistics realise our interconnectedness.

Although I was raised in a Buddhist family, with my grandmother and aunts living in temples and monastery, Dalai Lama’s interpretation is so different from what they taught in buddhism. I can only say his text is closer to Paul of Tarsus and influenced by his personality and staying outside of Tibet.

Cutler cites intimacy as being important in maintaining good emotional health from psychoanalyst Erich Fromm that humankind’s most basic fear is the threat of being seperated from others (p 79). Experience of seperateness and rejection is the source of all anxiety in human life.

Dalai Lama’s approach and that of St Paul, hands the locus of control back to the individual. Unlike American or French definition of intimacy as passionate, sexual relationship or attachment, it is a compassion of honor, respect, tenderness towards the other person.

Having heard the Dalai Lama over the internet, I can only guess that like Milton Friedman and the great saints, he possess an ability to cause trancelike state beyond human logic. Over the internet, I had difficulty understanding him and needed the help of translators like Ripoche. This has spurred me to learn more about NLP and how I can change my communication style to lessen others suffering, and if possible to bring joy.

Practice: Meditation on Compassion

1. Visualise a person who is acutely suffering, someone who is in pain or in an unfortunate situation. Reflect on the individual’s suffering (3 min).

2. Relate to yourself thinking “that individual has the same capacity for experiencing pain, joy, happiness and suffering that I do.

3. Allow your natural response to arise, natural feeling of compassion to that person.

4. Think how strongly you wish for that person to be free from suffering.

Comment:

I have difficulty releasing forgiveness. However, starting with thought of how the person is suffering releases me from having negative feelings to that person. In truth, we all have suffering. Difficult to believe that Bill Gates has suffering. That he causes others to suffer is easier to believe.

The difference is the starting point of what we believe and our thought pattern which sets us free.

I was at the library reading large photo books, Mutt but forgot to capture photo of the book.

Instead, I was mesmerised by sunset from the view of riverfront and managed to take a video. Today I decided to upload onto Youtube so you can enjoy. Did you know that previously this space was occupied by $2 Daiso and the view was sealed.

Coming to the library, well almost everyday and discovering pleasure of public space.

Why am I not coming everyday?

Where are you going?

Going nowhere during quarantine? How about travelling inward.

Mindful of each breath. Mindful of each step. Mindful of each thought.

Today we have so many technologies, the mobile phone, whatsapp, zoom. But do we really connect? We forget that our mind and body are connected. “Our body is here but our mind is somewhere else. We easily get caught up in our work, our plans, our anxieties. Our breadth is the bridge connecting our body and our mind.”

Meditation can be taken out of the retreat and into the kitchen and the office. Thich ask “How can we practice in a way that removes the barrier between practice and non-practice.”

A friend does walking meditation between business appointments, walking mindfully between buildings and as a result his meetings are often pleasant and successful.

Meditations do not need to be around a mandala or even in a maze. They can be part of our daily life.

May I

May You

May They

May All Beings

“How to See”, “How to Walk”, “How to Connect”, Series by Thich Nhat Hanh

Yesterday I conducted a coaching demonstration.

I struggled.

Striped bare.

Wintry cold.

Naked.

Thank you for the feedback

Oysters cry

Cliched Caterpillars die

Wrapped in White

I wiped away tears of humiliation

I am an island

For whom the bell tolls

Today I celebrate my weakness

In my weakness

I will be made strong.

I can see no way out but through

For whom the bell tolls?

It tolls for me.

Dont feel sorry for me.

At Tajimaya during Restaurant Week

Tip: Best cure for feeling sorry is to celebrate. And feed off another’s creativity. Shout out to the young chef who cooked tis meal. Notice the handcrafted mushroom from radish.