Wild - The Summer of Soul 2016
I was inspired to get close to nature.
I made a commitment to myself - I would splurge on an “extravagant” trip to California.
I had that deep craving to just spend a whole week in a national park, somewhere like Kennedy Meadows, to camp alone.
A year later, I booked a flight to New York. (Yes, it makes perfect sense.)
I ended up getting myself into a jungle of concrete instead of a jungle of trees.
My heart and brain never learned to coordinate. My heart has always been my primary driver, but because of that, I got to awaken some major senses from my trip in New York - a journey of experience that has helped me to heal from the past and to know myself better.
Summer of Soul.
New York. The city that inspires.
The city of life, intensity, passion, and style.
The city with dreamers that happen to be doers at the same time.
ADAPTABILITY @NEW YORK CITY
Just like it takes time for light rays to travel to the eye’s crystalline lens and the pupil to adjust its size to receive light, it's human nature that we need time to adapt to new environments.
From moving to a new country, to a new career, to moving on from a breakup, to living with new roommates, to accepting loss of a loved one etc. - we are constantly in a process of adaptation and change.
From my experience, one of the key things that got me into hitting that depression's tipping point last year was my unrealistic expectations with the time to adapt to changes.
Everyone has their own pace to adapt (whether it’s a pace of 1 month, 6 months, or a year), you simply cannot beat time to adjust. Adaptation is a required process, not to mention, slow. It is a slow process.
When in New York, even though it was just a vacation, I figured that it was the mental attitude that determined your enjoyment of a new environment.
It was the motivation (for me to explore and experience the fitness and wellness scene) and the mindset that was open and ready to embrace uncertainty. That was how I felt the sense of belonging there. It has always been the mental preparation to embrace unpredictable situations that makes things easier to accept.
Adaptability is one of the key qualities found in successful and competitive leaders. It is definitely something that cannot be overlooked.
“There’s a misconception about adaptability in that to adapt you must alter who you are at your core, which simply isn’t true.” Staying Competitive Requires Adaptability - Jeff Boss
Changing who you are to adapt is not the way. Timing is the key.
I never know what is considered as an average time for one to adjust, but one thing I am very sure of is adaptability starts from your mental preparation. The worst thing you could do, in which I've learned the hard way, is to force yourself into new environments. Give yourself time.
Confidence is found within exposure and observation.
From doing Lagree Fitness at home studio H-KORE to New York to LA, I got to recognize that I was not just a strong performer within my community but also in other cities.
Confidence takes the courage to accept and embrace your potential. I learned that confidence could only be built when you threw yourself out to the unknown while you paid careful attention to yourself and surrounding.
Observe yourself, observe others. What you’re doing is not that you’re comparing yourself with others, but more of a self-validation. You get to know your capabilities and limitations.
Sometimes you just won’t be convinced until you see it for yourself.
NATURAL @ DUMBO
Déjà Vu. Is this what natural feels like? You walk into the unknown, you’ve never been there, but you already feel a sense of belonging. You feel like a natural here. You never know how that feels until you bravely feel it with your heart and soul.
How does filling up your heart and soul feel? The feeling of supernatural joy.
Liberation begins when you let go of your insecurities.
You walk the talk, you feel brave, you feel the freedom of being you.
You feel at ease in your own skin.
You feel the inner strength and you let go of everything else that doesn’t matter.
You just be.
COMPROMISE @FLAT IRON
When there are options, there comes a choice.
Even if the option in front of you is least favorable, you got to seize it or else you won't be able to get to where you want to be.
FLEXIBILITY @MAIN STREET PARK
Drop your plans. Get lost. Surprises bring you knowledge. It doesn’t lead you from A to B but to XYZ.
Things connect by itself. You don’t have to try too hard. You’ll miss out a lot of opportunities if you only stick with your plan.
As a hopeless maptard like me (trust me, I’ve tried so hard to navigate. It was just a painful effort to get directions right, from Downtown to Queens, which subway gets to the right direction…), I’ve discovered more random places that I wouldn’t have come across if I were able to go from point A to point B without a problem.
Things fall into places effortlessly when you become flexible.
Life is malleable. It goes to show you that the more flexible you are, the more you experience, the more you'll be surprised by the opportunities that follow.
To me, intensity means passion. It equates to that burning desire down to the core. The burning flames sometimes gets out of control, but that’s the nature of fire. It’s uncontrollable.
This is when your family, your partner, your friends come into the picture and act as your “fire fighter”. They hold you accountable and help you minimize the impact when things get out of control.
When there’s intensity, there has to be control or else things go overboard.
Find your own, find your balance.
SPACE @M N D F L
Space is room to breathe. Space is room to pause. Space is room to reconnect to self. Space is room to be yourself.
All I needed was space - to kill the pain, to recover from the pain, to realign with my true self, to reconnect to what mattered to me, to be reminded that I should be loved and I was worthy of love.
ANGER @MODO YOGA
Why am I always angry? Is it because I don’t get what I want? Is it because I’m frustrated that no one understands me? Is it because of the heavy broken heart that’s yet to find a channel to release? The endless struggle, the frustration, the anger.
The unsolvable matter yet I have found answers to.
But first, sweat your tears out.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Hatred reflects the lack of love.
Hatred reflects the fear of rejection.
Hatred reflects the lack of confidence.
Hatred symbolizes weakness.
That weakness to express. That weakness to accept. That weakness to love again.
Ask yourself, where are you right now? Are you as strong as you think you were?
PAIN @BROOKLYN BODY BURN
Pain is the hardest language to master.
What’s the effective way to communicate pain?
People express it physically to themselves, people express it physically to others, people express it mentally to themselves (exercising that negative self-talk “I’m not worthy”, “I’m not good enough.”), people express it mentally to others by playing mind games, dropping ambiguous hints here and there.
How we choose to express pain is equivalent to how we choose the right words to say.
How do you communicate this language pain effectively and healthily?
Peace comes down to absolute focus.
Peace comes down to the moment.
Peace comes down to stillness.
Peace comes down to calmness from within.
Peace comes down to deep relaxation.
May everyone find their own way to peace.
Everyone deserves peace.
STILLNESS @HUNTER MOUNTAIN
Stillness begins at the end of a thunderstorm.
Black clouds, rain, thunderstorms, drizzles, clouds, sunlight…stillness is once found and everything else still remains constant.
That internal vibration, that unbearable hiccup along the way….
When shit happens, give yourself time to restore.
Just like a panic attack, it feels like you’re trapped forever in that moment, but it reaches their peak within 10 minutes and ends within 20-30 minutes.
Drop down everything, stop moving, sit down, and give yourself a 20-minute uninterrupted mental space.
Keep breathing and this is all you need to get reconnected.
LOVE @SOUL CYCLE CHELSEA
I came to experience that love is a universal language.
When you learn to love you basically can connect with every single person you come across.
Every single person, regardless of their race, gender, status, fame etc., has feelings.
Everyone deserves to be loved.
Stop hurting, start loving.
Stop hurting also means stop hurting yourself.
It’s not until you start loving yourself, you start loving others.
Remember, we are all worthy of love. We are all loved.
AUTHENTICITY @MANHATTAN BRIDGE
Show who you are, show what you can do.
Let your personality explain for itself.
“By shining brighter, you’re giving people permission to shine their brightest.” - Jon Fritzler
Authenticity to me means you’re not hiding yourself from the dirty truth, you own the truth, and you’re not afraid of sharing.
The dirty truths, the hurtful feelings that most people are afraid to reveal… do you have what it takes to be authentic? To be vulnerable? To inspire?
Let’s get real, we all know we are not perfect.
I feel the breeze. I take a deep breath. I smell the distinct smell of the fresh out of oven pizza. I taste the acidity of the Margherita sauce and the texture of the dough.
I close my eyes. I feel emotional. I am thankful.
My senses are back. Stronger than ever. I get to taste what I want to taste, I get to feel how I want to feel.
I still remember the moment half a year back when I brought back my focus to the present moment and recognized the taste of food.
That moment of joy, that moment of tasting the flavor and texture of food.
To me food plays a huge part in the sense of pleasure.
Enjoy your food, enjoy your moment, be grateful that you have the sense of taste and touch.
The ability to enjoy is a rare sensation of pleasure.
CREATIVE VIBES @STUMPTOWN COFFEE, ACE HOTEL
The overlooked power of synergy.
Every creative mind works alongside, alone.
Everyone’s in their zone creating their creations.
Never underestimate the power of a room that each single individual, each stranger, exercising that quiet absolute focus.
The potent energy of mindfulness that fills up the room with an unnoticeable momentum of creative vibes.
The little gathered atoms, yet a big mindful mastermind in whole.
Understand. Say the right words. You might have understood what people have said, but without saying the right words that accompany your actions, no one will know they are understood.
Sometimes words speak louder than actions.
Words and actions always have to go side by side.
I feel safe.
I feel comfortable.
I feel included.
I feel love.
I feel a sense of belonging.
This is how home should feel like.
INNER STRENGTH @run with Lululemon
Inner strength starts at the end of absolute exhaustion. You feel like you’re dying from exhaustion, but you’re still alive. What kept you alive was your inner strength.
Find that inner strength.
Remember how that made you feel and hang on to it.
Keep that inner strength safe in your pocket. Use it when you need it.
I came to an understanding that it’s okay to be “naïve.”
It’s okay ONLY under the circumstances that you’re smart enough to get yourself out of dangerous situations.
Question is: why would you put yourself in a dangerous situation in the first place? Curiosity.
It’s the curiosity to understand why people do what they do and the attempt to feel how they feel.
Many people I met stopped trusting after being hurt and betrayed. At the end of the day, we need to keep our guards up to protect ourselves to survive, but is the fear of getting hurt not worth the joy of trusting?
What would you do if you gave yourself a second chance to open your heart once again to be “naïve”? What is stopping you from approaching situations the way you’ve once wanted? It's so easy to forget that we grow after every hurtful experience. What would you do differently if you were to approach the same situation by staying true to what you believe in, but this time you present your same self but be more vigilant and agile?
Would you take that risk and try even if there’s no guarantee?
The higher the risk, the higher the cost, the higher the danger, the more valuable the experience.
It does take courage, it does take wisdom, it does take a leap of faith to stay pure in shitstorms.
My definition of true strength? When you still come out clean and pure in shitstorms.
So how strong will you say you are?
“I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing – perhaps we should all be a bit more naïve.”- Mike Myatt, The Brilliance Of Naiveté
False evidence appearing real.
When you are out of line with your true self, you go nuts.
I learned that after many hurtful experiences, I was running away from my values and beliefs to a point that I lost touch of who I was.
I kept running away from myself.
It was the fear of facing my true self. I associated my true self with trouble.
I was brought to the belief that my true self made me vulnerable, my true self did not help me get to where I wanted, my true self got me into depression.
It took me some time to come to realize that the trick to realign with your true self was to highlight your past achievements, or the times you were most proud of yourself and retrace what kind of person you were at the time and try to relive that feeling again.
Draw out those habits that worked for you in the past and bring them back to the present.
Divert your focus back to the things that worked for you in the past instead of the things that didn't serve you.
Remember, you are wiser than yesterday. You are amazing by being who you are. You WERE crushed in the past, but your experience acts as a shield (under the circumstance that you learn from that experience and appreciate your second chance and make effort to change), so don't be afraid to still stand up for what you believe in.
Do not lose hope, do not lose faith, do not lose what you believe in.
Like Queen Bey would put it, "If I lose myself, I lose it all."
Love and light,