writing

Unraveling

Wowwwwwwwww guys, do I have an update for you!!! I am literally so stunned and excited right now, I almost can’t find the right words to type. There have been so many changes in so short of a time frame, I almost can’t keep up with all of them!

~*~ ~*~ Drumroll please ~*~ ~*~

I have decided to re-join my old business and mentorship association!!! I am literally so excited.

You may be wondering how on earth this occurred. This past March (only ~4 months ago), I left the program and I swore I would never go back. I was so sure of myself and it was definitely the right decision at the time.

Since I quit, I went a completely different direction in terms of my businesses and looked for different ways of building wealth and personal accomplishment that would suit me better. I took online courses in content marketing and holistic healing, as well as joined new groups, and met a lot of wonderful new people with mutual goals and interests.

Furthermore, I spent a great deal of time unraveling all the confusion I had about my old business, new business, and current business. I sat down and really thought through what I wanted to accomplish, what I wanted my life to be like, and how I wanted to spend my time in my future. I started writing my first online course and was very excited about it!

Not only did I unravel the confusion about my businesses, or so I thought, but I also unraveled the confusion about me, what I believed in, and what I wanted my current lifestyle to be. I tried to remember who I was before I had changed myself so drastically and then tried to go back to being that person (“you used to come here and eat toast.” – Sophie Kinsella).

I tried to remember what I had thought was fun, so I remembered a few things that I used to do and did those. I went back to watching some TV shows (Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists), some movies (all of my romantic comedies), and trashy romance novels (some unread on the shelf, some favorites). I started listening to songs on the radio and on Youtube. I even added a “fun” budget so that I could go out for dinner if I wanted to, or see friends if I wanted to, or go out and see a show if I wanted to. I gave myself permission to travel, get hot stone massages, go out for drinks, and cheat on my vegan/gluten free diet to satisfy my sweet tooth.

At first, I enjoyed it, but almost as soon as it started, my enjoyment quickly began to dissipate. I found that I wasn’t being replenished or recharged in my energy from doing any of those things, and that I didn’t particularly enjoy them anymore. Yet, at the same time, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do instead. So I would just do them, not really having fun, but not knowing what else was fun either.

In the midst of all this unraveling, and learning to be my old self again, I was also doing quite a bit of deep healing. This past December, I learned that I was sexually abused as a 4-year old. I had repressed the memory of it, but at that point I had started to remember it and recover the memory.

This was by far the most terrifying experience of my entire life. Imagine that you’re just going about your day, when suddenly your mind intrudes and attacks you with images of a repressed memory of that nature.

It became all I could think about and focus on. My relationships suffered. My relationship with my mentor, in particular, took the hit. He was the only one who wanted to be there for me during that time.

To be fair, I hardly told anyone about it until after I had forgiven my abuser. But now I look back on that time and I wished that more people would have been supportive. Once I told people, most people just suggested I go to therapy, which made me wonder why I had told anyone at all. Once again, I had just wanted people to provide me with emotional support and be there for me in my tough time, but again I wasn’t really given that by very many people. Again, it was very disappointing. I mean, if there’s ever a time when anyone would be in need, it would be that time, but only a few people reached out and were supportive (for which I’m thankful).

I have been healing from that, as well as from the lack of support from my network. During that healing time, all I could think about was my mentor and how he had always been there for me and how he had believed in me when nobody else did and had not wanted to give up on me. I thought of several instances in the past when he had been a real hard-times friend, in addition to this time.

So I reached out to him and we have been sorting out (unraveling) our issues. It was really rocky at times, but it’s mostly back on track now. We have made a huge amount of progress recently and I have faith that it’s only going to get better.

Meanwhile, I discovered that I had even more repressed memories from my early childhood. Not of sexual abuse, but of other unpleasant things that I had repressed. My new friend performed RTT hypnotherapy on me twice, which was very interesting and eye-opening. Because the two sessions turned out to be related, and fell under the umbrella of another early memory, I decided to combine the 21-day cycle for both of those sessions with a 21-day cycle of my own holistic healing method.

At first, it was a lot to handle to do 3 focused deep-healing recordings a day, but now I think it was just what I needed. I didn’t see many results at first, but now the results are just incredible to me. I mean, I am literally stunned. Read on!

First, in my business unraveling, I realized that my old business had been a key factor in how I had healed. I started to use good products on myself, put good products into my body, and had started to feel better about myself because I had looked and felt better. I had learned about pro-suming and financial ownership. I had a positive and motivational environment of people who said things like “I’m accountable for my own life and I can control my thoughts.” And I had my mentor who believed in me and loved me, poured life into me, and filled me up with hope. I began to miss this business and wish I could go back.

Second, in my personal healing, there was a weekend where I read an old issue of Cosmopolitan magazine from July 2016 and decided that there was nothing of value in it (this magazine used to literally be my beacon of wisdom!!!). Then I went on a weekend trip and discovered that I didn’t like traveling anymore because I just wanted to be home in Boston. Then I watched my all-time favorite movie, Titanic, and had to stop it halfway through because I just didn’t like it anymore and I didn’t agree with the way life was being presented in it.

So while I did “used to go there to eat toast,” I didn’t want to go there to eat toast anymore. I realized that I just couldn’t be the person that I used to be. In unraveling all of my confusion, I rediscovered the person that I used to be, but then I realized that I just wanted better than that. I wanted mentorship and I wanted more intentional relationships where people would be united with me for common business goals and who would also listen to me talk and be there for me in hard times.

Ironically, around this time I learned that submission is actually necessary for the type of close relationships that I want. In my deep healing, I was also working on overcoming that issue from where it stemmed in my childhood repressed memories.

Not only that, but I realized that I had been taking the easy way out instead of learning the relationship skills that I needed in order to have the kind of deep relationships that I want.

This was when I took my first step to get back into the organization (only about 1 week ago). I had a craving to be on the communication system and message distribution list. I also had a craving to learn submission and submit to my mentor.

Next, I found that I had no desire to cheat on my diet anymore. I had been cheating to eat cookies, brownies, cake, chocolate, etc. for some time, but I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I wanted to make sure I prioritized meal prep and ate healthily within the constrains of my diet.

Now, I have no desire to even have cheat meals or vary from my diet plan prescribed by the nutritionist. I realized that when I don’t start the day with enough protein, it sets off a chain reaction spiral, and then the whole diet is compromised. Also, that my lack of meal prepping made it easy for me to cheat and give into sugar cravings.

Now when I have sugar cravings, I crave the dried fruit at Trader Joe’s. So good! I don’t even want chocolate anymore.

Instead of craving unhealthy sweets and chocolate, I started craving to return to my organization and be around the people. I also had a craving for the positivity and motivational environment. Earlier today, I was overcome with a strong craving and desire to listen to audios, go to a board plan, and do meetings. I even was compelled to take extra vitamins. It’s so crazy!!! I have literally never felt this way about it before. This is the energy that I was missing.

So I don’t have everything sorted out yet. I feel pretty comfortable with how I’ve overcome most of my objections to the business, and I feel pretty solid with how my music relates to it. The next step is to figure out (unravel) the plan for how my writing goals fit in with this business. And while I’m stronger in who I am as a person now than I was, I need a game plan to make sure that I don’t lose myself again.

All that unraveling was so exhausting! But worth it.

For three years I had been in the business, learned all the new info, and reprogrammed my mind. However, it was apparent that my limiting beliefs were getting in the way of me accepting the new me and my new lifestyle. Hence, all the pushback that I gave myself over not wanting to make changes, not wanting to listen, not wanting to do this, not wanting to do that. All I needed was to do some deep thinking, unraveling, and holistic healing, and I realized that I did actually want all of it after all.

 

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Withhold

Hi everyone,

I have a withhold that I need to address. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a withhold is something that you need to give voice to that happened in the past, which you did not properly address at the time. It is a withhold because it has been affecting you and your life, and you eventually found out that you needed to speak up about it for your own sanity and well-being.

As a disclaimer, my goal here is not to rehash the past, or to blame anyone, but rather to share my feelings authentically and vulnerably about what occurred, with the hope that with this understanding of how it affected me and my feelings, then it would not be repeated again in the future.

The scene is May 2015, and I have just graduated with my master’s degree in geology (geothermal energy) from University of North Dakota. I have packed up all my belongings and I am now driving across the country from North Dakota to Nevada.

As I’m sitting in my car, I’m ruminating about how unsupported I feel from my entire network. I feel completely isolated and alone, not to mention completely unsupported.

For those of you unfamiliar with my story, I had not wanted to get my master’s degree in science; rather, I had wanted to get my master’s degree in music performance. However, after my junior recital at Penn State, my viola teacher had lost confidence in me and my playing. He asked me what I wanted to do after PSU, and I had said that I had wanted to go on and get my master’s degree in music performance and then go on to play music in pit orchestras on Broadway. This was my dream, I had told him, and I was very excited about it.

My teacher promptly told me to give up on my dream, because it sucked. He said that many people embarked on that kind of career with high hopes, but then quickly got tired of the long hours and low pay, and then could not afford to take time off to look for a different job. He didn’t want to see me “backed into a corner with my career,” so he told me to give up on music and become a geologist instead.

Ironically, with this very interaction, I already felt “backed into a corner with my career.” Without the support of my instructor, I didn’t feel either willing or able to pursue my career in music. So even though I was crushed, demoralized, and devastated, I followed his advice, moved to North Dakota, and got my master’s degree in geology.

Even though I liked geology and I liked my professors and colleagues at UND, I knew that this was not the right decision for me and that this was not what I wanted to do with my life. After the excitement of being in a new place with a new plan wore off, I began to really loathe my time in North Dakota. I didn’t feel like I belonged there in terms of the culture and values, and I didn’t feel authentic because I wasn’t following my heart and being creative.

After the incident at PSU, I all but gave up playing my instruments. I played viola in the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, but this was only because my dad had encouraged me to join. In general, I felt very turned off to playing music and instruments and I didn’t want to do it anymore. Writing became my primary creative outlet, and my first summer in ND I wrote my first novel in its entirety.

After writing my novel, I often fantasized about quitting my degree program, moving home to Boston, working at Starbucks, and becoming a writer. However, whenever I shared these dreams and desires with others, I was always brutally rebuffed and unsupported. Without naming names, there were people that I called, so upset that I was crying, and I told them how much I hated my life, how much I hated the direction my life was taking, and how much I wanted to go home, start fresh, and be creative again. I even posted about my goals on Facebook, but people on there were very unsupportive of me and my plan. They told me I had to stay there in ND– even though I was completely miserable– finish my degree program, and “get my piece of paper.”

However, I knew that this would never be the end of it, and I was right. Because I felt again like I was backed into a corner and that I had to take everyone’s advice, I did stay in ND, I did finish my degree program, and I did get my piece of paper. But afterward, all I heard from those same people was that now I had to stay in ND and get a “high-paying geology job” and “use my degree” so that I could be responsible, take care of myself, and pay my bills.

I get it, I really do. As I now know from my adult experience as well as my research on the subject, the scarcity mindset is primarily developed from lack of financial abundance and resources. These people who were giving me this advice had learned themselves that they could not be creative, that they could not have fun, and that they had to be boring and logical to get a steady, high-paying job to pay their bills and be responsible adults. Similar to my viola teacher from PSU, these people had thought they were giving me kindly advice and words of wisdom to help me live a better life, but in fact, they were just telling me their own story of misfortune, not mine.

Going back to the people who did not support my decision to quit my degree program in ND, I understand that too. I understand that these people thought they were being loving, supportive, and helpful, by pushing me to finish what I had started and helping me be accountable to my end-goal of getting my master’s degree in science.

However, both of the above events were very detrimental to my health and well-being. This was a really hard time in my life, and I don’t feel that I received proper love, encouragement, or support from the people in my network. Also, I feel disappointed that most people didn’t even want to hear about my hard time, instead just wanting to be surface level friends. I have always done my best to be a “hard times friend,” so I felt hurt and let down when that favor was not returned.

Furthermore, I felt that the people who encouraged me to stay in ND afterward to pursue a high-paying geology job only cared about finances and financial well-being, at the expense of mentality, emotions, and physical well-being. I felt that they did not really understand me, my needs, my wants, or my desires, because they were just pushing me to continue on a path that I hated, which was not right for me, and which was making me have an autoimmune illness (lupus).

As a result, I felt lonely and like I didn’t have anyone to turn to during hard times that really cared about me and my well being. It caused me to withdraw from my network in isolation, because I didn’t trust others anymore. I began to lose faith in humanity and started grinding my teeth at night.

I felt that the people giving me this advice clearly didn’t know what was best for me, but that they were pushing their advice on me anyway and telling me that their way was valid and that my way was invalid. I felt that they were just saying that in order to be considered a valid adult, I had to be boring and logical and get a steady, high-paying job that I hated, just to pay my bills, just so that I would have a secure financial future, at the expense of my happiness and joy. I felt that they were telling me that it was valid to be logical and scientific, but invalid to be emotional and creative. I felt like my voice didn’t matter, my decisions and opinions were not good enough, and that I needed to change myself and my entire way of being to fit in with everyone and gain everyone’s approval.

However, now I know that this was wrong. There are many people who have become very wealthy and very successful being creative and following their passions. There are also many wealthy people who are silly and fun and who are also very successful in their businesses. And I will be one of them.

Not to mention, I deserve a network of people who support me in my decisions, regardless of the path that I choose to take and regardless of what I choose to do with my life and my time. The right people support my decisions to be creative and pursue a life filled with music, writing, fun, and laughter. I believe that I can have it all, and I deserve relationships with people who also believe that I can have it all.

By the way, I eventually did reconcile myself with the life that I wanted. I started by playing the piano again when I lived in Nevada, and after I moved back home to Boston I joined several orchestras and got back into playing my viola. Even though it was a lot of work to overcome my toxic music school experience, it was worth it because I now very much enjoy playing my viola again and I even very much enjoy performing for other people.

Also, I now work at Starbucks and I’m pursuing being a writer. Go me ūüôā

Anyway, that was my withhold. Thank you for listening to me and for giving me the opportunity to share myself authentically and vulnerably. I am excited for my future of business, creativity, fun, passion, and wealth, and I will be successful in my life just by being my true and authentic self. I hope that you will decide to honor me, respect me, and support me in all of my future endeavors, regardless of what they may be.

 

And… Pivot

Hey y’all,

It’s been awhile! So sorry for the long hiatus between posts. When I revamped this blog the last time (lol), I decided that I wanted to create weekly content to share with everyone. Not only was this the right decision in terms of consistency, but also more selfishly it was the right reason because:

  1. I needed to practice being vulnerable and authentic in front of other people,
  2. I needed to practice my communication and word choice, and
  3. I needed to take responsibility for filling my own love tank. While sharing myself– as well as my thoughts, feelings, and ideas– with other people is my love language, it’s my responsibility to give myself love.

Sorry that I fell short here. I have just added a part-time job over the summer as well as another part-time job that will be more long-term. In addition, I have been trying to honor my commitments to play gigs with heavy time commitments that I signed up for back when I was only working 15 hours per week, and trying not to die and/or kill someone as a result of suddenly being completely overextended and overbooked.

But, oh well. It’s all worth it! My finances are now in tip-top shape, and I no longer spend any time whatsoever ruminating about them. If that doesn’t give me the incentive to keep going, I don’t know what will.

Now, if only I could manage to adjust my body clock to fall asleep at 10 pm and wake up at 5 am, instead of falling asleep at 11 pm and waking up at 6 am, then I would really be golden. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened yet and I’ve been 15 min late to work pretty much every day that I go. (Side note: I am pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have been understanding about this problem and have given me grace about it. So far, only a couple of people have not understood and have drawn the incorrect conclusion that me being late means that I don’t want to be there / I’m not serious / I’m not a good employee).

Anyway, I finally had an evening off where I wasn’t expected to do anything or be anywhere, so I figured I would post an update about how everything is going.

To summarize, I have been working to adjust my self-care priorities to accommodate the tighter schedule. It’s been quite a challenge, but I think once I get my sleep cycle on track then it will be a lot smoother/better.

One thing I have been thinking about lately is how to have more fun in my life. It occurred to me that I’ve changed myself so much that I don’t even know what I consider to be fun anymore. There are things that I¬†used to think were fun, but I don’t really think they’re fun anymore. I’ve been trying to find out which fun things from my past to bring back, versus which ones to leave behind and replace with new fun things (whatever they might be).

Today it occurred to me that the main reason that I don’t know how to have fun anymore is because I am constantly preoccupied with administrative tasks and adulting responsibilities. The reason I discovered this today was because I finally caught myself up on this huge mountain of paperwork and mail that I had been behind on, and then after it was done I had all this free time that I didn’t know what to do with at first. This lasted only a short time. Then I actually practiced my viola more than playing through my warm-up exercises. Then I read a book for an hour that I had been behind on reading. Then I took a walk and got a massage! So good. I really enjoyed that.

On top of all that, I have been slowly revamping my website towards my new business of teaching online courses, and have updated my bio here. I’ve been planning my outlines and syllabuses for the different courses and have started working on course writing and creation. I’m really excited about this new venture and I will share more details soon! I’m hoping to devote more time towards the course creation and filming this summer once my teaching is done in a couple of weeks.

So that’s it! That is the update in a nutshell. I’m really excited for all these changes coming – just need the time to work and prioritize and enjoy it ūüôā

Values-Based Decisions

One of the things I have struggled with for pretty much my whole life has been authenticity and strength of will. One reason for this is that I am very open-minded to other people, other ways of life, and other cultures… perhaps¬†too open-minded. In many of my travels, I have encountered people and ways of life that I learned from; then, I have adopted many conflicting beliefs and values into my life as a result. This resulted in a gargantuan amount of confusion that I have been trying to sort out for the past year or so.

The other reason is that for most of my life, I have felt pressured to change myself to please other people. Even to this day, I struggle with sharing myself, my beliefs, and my opinions with others. I’m afraid that other people will laugh at me, tell me that I’m stupid, and say that I’m completely wrong and that in order to be valid, I have to switch over and agree with them/their method/their viewpoint. Therefore for most of my life, I have changed myself, my personality, and my beliefs/values to fit in and be accepted by others.

In one of my online courses, I am studying the chakras and learning how to balance them. This past week, we defined our top values, so as to balance our solar plexus chakras. I had a really hard time with this exercise, based on my past, but I came up with the following for my top values:

1) Individuality/Uniqueness

I believe strongly in the individual. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to be different, be authentic, be themselves, and be accepted for doing so. People should be honest about their truths and share themselves vulnerably with others, so as to receive emotional support back.

2) Intelligence

I really enjoy both the learning and the application parts of knowledge. Researching, studying new information, looking deep within myself, and then growing myself. I also enjoy using the new information to do critical thinking, problem solving, and planning. Change means making a smart decision and then taking action!

3) Creativity/Fun

I am a very creative person because I play two instruments and write. Not only that, but I love coming up with creative ideas and solutions to think outside of the box.

4) Love of all people

Not only do I love all people based on their individuality and uniqueness, as well as their special skillsets and talents, but also I advocate for equal rights of all people and equality in friendships/relationships. I believe that friendship is the best kind of relationship because it is equal in definition.

Furthermore, I am a very loyal friend. I will stick by anyone who does me a kind favor, especially when I am having a very rough time. I will also pay it forward and do my best to help others whenever I can.

5) Personal Accomplishment

I have many dreams and ambitions, both personal and professional. To me, success means accomplishing my goals, achieving some measure of financial success in my businesses, and working hard with grit and endurance.

6) Health and Self-Care

I am very much into healthy living and self-care in all areas (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, and tasks/chores/responsibilities). I want to be successful in my life at the same time as taking good care of myself. Never sacrificing one for the other.

 

So the secret to having a strong will is to live completely by your values system. Every decision that you make should be made by your values.

Here are some decisions I’ve made recently:

  1. Leaving my old business to build my new business
  2. “Getting back together” with my mentor

I decided to leave my old business opportunity because I didn’t feel that it was authentic to me. Now, I can clearly see why. In that business model, uniformity was valued so that you could “duplicate” your business into a large-scale model. That meant that there was no room for individuality, uniqueness, or creativity. Not only that, but they were big on “submission” and “following the established process,” which meant that neither intelligence nor equal relationships were valued. Finally, many people who built that business to a successful level did so by sacrificing their health, as well as other important things like family and relationships. The only thing that I did value that they valued also was in the area of personal accomplishment, but even that was not entirely the same because I want to be personally accomplished specifically in the fields of writing and music.

So, leaving the business was the right decision, though it was a very hard decision to make. I now know that I am better off on my new path of online teaching and course creation. My new pathway agrees with all of my values. My offering is unique and showcases my individuality. The process involves me using both my intelligence and creativity to make my online course. I can love on all types of people with my product, as well as be personally accomplished. I can still prioritize my health and self-care as I am becoming successful, and there is nobody there to pressure me into feeling bad about that decision.

Now, clearly from my last two posts, I was struggling hard-core with leaving my mentor. I just was not happy with that decision and I didn’t know why. I actually have a really good understanding of it now though. I couldn’t, in good conscience, leave a really good person who had been there to help me during one of the lowest points in my life. Someone who had invested so much time into me and helped me completely recalibrate my life and my relationships. Someone who had poured belief into me even when nobody else did. I just couldn’t do it. It felt very disloyal and against my values.

Luckily, he and I were able to chat about what had happened. Turns out, there was a pretty large miscommunication and we were able to sort everything out to be friends. We have talked pretty much every day from the time we made that decision, and I literally feel so much better and so much more at ease.

He doesn’t know this yet, but I’m planning a way to give back to him in the future to show my loyalty and gratitude for what he has done for me and my life. I don’t have all the details sorted out yet, but I’m hoping it will make him really happy. Because that’s all I want.

Presence

The other day, I was walking through Barnes and Noble when I felt a Spiritual Intuition. I followed the feeling, letting it guide me around the store, not sure where it was taking me. Suddenly, I found myself standing in front of the journals section.

I picked up journal after journal, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do, see, or find. At last, I found it: the Mindfulness Journal.

Intrigued, I picked it up and brought it home with me. I am so glad I did!

For some time now, I have felt unable to be present in The Moment. My mind always seems to be preoccupied with something or other, whether it’s planning for the future, thinking about the past, thinking about current issues, etc. I find that I am often too distracted, too weighed down, and too overwhelmed by life’s demands in the Big Picture, to have fun and be present in The Moment.

This might seem a bit strange, because for those of you who have known me awhile, you’ll remember that I used to be extremely present in The Moment. I used to be very present, very able to enjoy myself, very spontaneous, and very able to relax.

All of that changed once I finished school and needed to find a job. Suddenly, I had to worry about long-term and short-term finances, errands, chores, to-do lists, cleaning, and administrative work. I had to worry about being early, commuting, and traffic patterns. I had to worry about eating healthy and meal-prepping. Not to mention, I had to worry about all the components of proper self-care, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

As someone who eternally struggled with time management and planning, I really did not like this aspect of adult life. Yet I realized that my poor time management skills and poor planning skills needed to change, because they resulted in me being eternally late for every appointment and they resulted in tasks continually falling through the cracks because I couldn’t do everything by myself.

These days, I am proud to say that I have Become a Master of Time Management. Yet in spite of that, I feel that I need to elevate my standard of mastery in this area even higher. I need to master time management even further, such that I can both take care of myself and my responsibilities, as well as relax and enjoy the moment.

This insight came directly from following the prompts in the Mindfulness Journal. The first exercise it had me do was to turn off my phone (!) and other devices (!!) for 1 hour. Then I had to write down everything I had observed.

The results were so startling!! I took a walk in my neighborhood. I noticed businesses, shops, and boutiques that I had never seen before (despite passing by them literally every day). Without my iPod on, I noticed the sounds of the birds chirping and the cars whizzing past. When I went to CVS, I actually browsed the store and saw what was there, aside from the item that I needed. I even was present while I was waiting in the checkout line.

Takeaway #1: Technology is VERY distracting. I am going to start putting my devices on airplane mode in the morning until I actually need to interact with other people.

Next, the Mindfulness Journal told me to observe and describe a moment that I was fully present. I chose to do this at my last orchestra concert.

Again, I was only “mindful” for about 1 hour for the first half of the concert. I was again very startled at the results of this experiment.

This time, I didn’t just notice things like the fact that I was extremely focused in playing my part of the music, that I was actually playing to the audience, that I was actually enjoying how the whole thing sounded overall, and that my concentration was so much better that it had reduced 98% of my playing errors. This time, I noticed and was aware every time my mind started to wander.

What did I think about in that hour? A whole wide range of topics:

  • How I didn’t have work the next day so I didn’t need to think about preparing for that.
  • The chores I needed to do this weekend.
  • Summer finances.
  • My recent “breakup.”
  • My life in Nevada (my old apartment, sunshine, warmth, my friends there, Trader Joe’s) (??? wtf lol)
  • How I “suck” at time management and how I don’t respect myself because I don’t follow my own schedules.
  • How maybe I should be more In The Moment, because I do want to be fun, creative, and carefree, and words really do matter. Do I really need to focus on body language as much??
  • If I change myself again (change myself back), then I don’t know what personality type my future husband will have.

!!! Wow. That’s all I have to say.

Takeaway #2: I don’t think I even knew that I spent so much time thinking about all these different things, but apparently things like that run through my head all the time and I don’t even notice.

No wonder my ear lost its hearing.

Anyway, after that experiment was over, I had a weekend of very deep thought and planning. I did my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s instead of Wegman’s, and I discovered that it’s a lot less expensive and it has my fruits and nuts mixture that I realized I had missed. I tweaked my schedule to include more flexibility and relaxation time. One of the main reasons I didn’t like following my own schedules is that by nature, I’m a spontaneous person, and I don’t like feeling over-structured. I decided to have my morning and work routine be structured, but then have my evenings always be relaxed and spontaneous. I also added time on the weekends to plan for variances in my schedule in the coming week, so I can accommodate for them and not have things fall through the cracks. Finally, I added time each day where I can just think about my feelings and emotions. Maybe now, with better planning and strategy, I will be able to be more present.

Managing Negative Emotions: A Breakthrough and A Realization

Guys, today was a super important day in my life. Not only did I just have a HUGE breakthrough, but I also had a really important realization as well.

The Breakthrough
For many months now, I have been working on the way that I process and manage negative emotions. I have been trying to learn how to do it in a more effective manner. Due to my personality type (bossy controlling impatient domineering choleric, efficient, and leading), I have always had trouble maintaining mutual respect in disagreements. With my ability to be frank, direct, and to-the-point, I would immediately enter into attack mode in a disagreement and give the other person a piece of my mind whenever I felt hurt, unloved, disrespected, attacked, and/or criticized. Unfortunately, the anger and the emotional haze I felt would frequently result in very harsh feedback that would sound hurtful, unloving, disrespectful, attacking, and criticizing to the recipient. (Interestingly, I subconsciously made the other person feel as terrible as I felt in the conflict).

I always wondered why we were never taught in school how to manage negative emotions correctly. Along with “Money 101: The Skinny on Budgeting and Finances,” “How to Avoid Getting Scammed in Legal Contract Writing,” and “How to Actually Earn Money in this Sh*t Economy,” the courses titled “Loving People Through Conflict” and “Managing Negative Emotions Correctly” were noticeably absent from the curriculum. If these topics were actually taught to people in school, there would be a lot less A) alcoholics, B) drug addicts, C) people who eat their feelings, D) people who don’t eat their feelings, and E) people who don’t f*ck up all their relationships from needing to release their anger. Among other things.

Not only were we not taught how to manage negative emotions correctly in school, but it didn’t seem like anyone else knew how to do it either. Until I met my mentors in my former program, I didn’t know a single person who could actually manage their negative emotions correctly or who could love someone else through a conflict.

In my research on this subject, including some books and online courses, I have already learned some invaluable information about how to overcome these negative emotions.

Step #1: Release the emotion

For me, I have thought of several ways to do this that do not involve lashing out in anger at an actual person:

  • The best way is definitely¬†critical thinking, if you have time to do it. This process can take anywhere from 30 minute to 2 hours depending on the complexity of the emotions involved. More often than not, it’s just not feasible to exit a conversation for that long.
  • For smaller amounts of time, depending on if you can, you can do some strength training, power walking, yoga, etc. Again, this is not always feasible due to your location and weather, as well as timing.
  • Another location-dependent one for me is playing piano. This one really helps me (but, I need a piano handy).
  • If you can take a 5-15 minute breather from the conversation, what works best is to b*tch it out by yourself. Either speak into thin air or write it down, but let the person have it (although, they will not be there to receive it).
  • For on-the-spot treatment, I’ve found the best way is to carry squishy desk ornaments in my purse. It feels GREAT to dig my nails into them when I’m pissed off. If I’m at home, I then start using my Chinese stress balls to relax. This can be done mid-conversation if necessary. Then I take some deep breaths, work to calm my facial muscles, calm my throat, and try to have empathy.

Step #2: Understand the Emotion

  • Again,¬†critical thinking is by far the best. I would marry it if I could.
  • Have index cards handy that have your patterns laid out in front of you. Instead of becoming angry, demanding, and controlling next, what do you really want? What need are you trying to have met? How else can you meet it?

For me, when I become angry, demanding, and controlling, usually it’s because I feel unloved and I need emotional attention. I can meet that need myself by 1) talking to God and the Universe, or 2) writing in this blog (which do you think I picked today? lol).

  • Just think about it. Why are you so upset right now? What is this triggering? What does this remind you of from your past?

 

Today, I am very proud of myself for what I accomplished. I was having a conversation over text where I became upset. Because I was at home, I practiced piano and released my anger. As I was practicing, I started thinking my way through the emotion. I started asking myself, “Ok. WHY am I so upset right now? What is this reminding me of?”

And then I had my answer. I responded to the person in a very calm and respectful way. Then I filled my own love tank by writing in this blog ūüôā

My whole processing time for the negative emotions and the response was 30 minutes. Progress over perfection! This small victory only added on to my really important realization earlier in the day.

The Realization
Not only did I not know how to process and manage my negative emotions in the context of conflict situations, but also I would have the same problem when I would deal with very strong emotions by myself in dealing with anxiety and panic.

As mentioned above, my primary need to fill my love tank is emotional attention. What I would do in the past was just dump my emotional load on anybody and everybody who would listen, with no warning or no consideration for what they were doing. All I could think about was that I FELT horrible, and I just needed someone else to listen to me so that I would feel better.

Understandably, most people became so tired of this that they stopped talking to me and stopped offering to give me emotional support. I drew the conclusion that all people sucked, didn’t want to give emotional support, and didn’t value vulnerability and authenticity in relationships.

The issue with this was not that I wanted to share myself with others. It was not that I was being vulnerable and authentic. It was just that I was sharing myself with no consideration for others, therefore making others feel like I was using them for emotional attention.

I have since learned not to use people as an emotional dumping ground. Now, I see emotional sharing as a negative deposit in the relationship, because it is something that I want to gain from the relationship instead of something that I am giving to the relationship. The only way to have a good relationship is to give more than you receive back. I have begun investing more of myself in my relationships in general to really show people that I care about them. The emotional sharing conversation itself has to be built in a mutual manner to the point where the timing is right and the other person will be receptive to hearing about the emotional pain. This is the right way to go about emotional sharing and support.

Not only that, but I have realized that most people actually DO value vulnerability and authenticity in a relationship. In fact, most people PREFER their friends and family to be vulnerable and authentic. It’s just, the sharing has to be done in the right way for it to work.

I no longer have to stay silent on issues that bother me or hurt me so as not to offend or disrespect anybody. I no longer have to feel isolated and alone. I no longer have to pretend that I’m ok when I’m totally not. I am SO GLAD that I had this realization.

Align Your Purpose(s)

In my last post, Become a Master of Time Management, I discussed how to organize your schedule for maximum efficiency. Not only that, but I gave advice on how to incorporate your “sub-goals,” or daily¬†habits, into your schedule in order to work towards achieving your life goals.¬†But what do you do when you have multiple life goals that all seem to conflict and collide with each other? How do you move forward in all areas when you seemingly need 28 hours in a day instead of 24? Read on for some tips on how to Align Your Purpose(s).

For me personally, I have always been double-, triple-, even quadruple- and quintuple-minded. As a musician, writer, and business entrepreneur, I have always had many goals and ambitions for myself and my life. In addition to my professional goals, I also wanted to prioritize the more common and widespread goals of living a long life and being a responsible person. As a result of this, I have always found it hard to focus on and prioritize just one thing.  So confusing! No wonder I had issues fitting everything into the same day.

To make matters even more confusing,¬†when I first started thinking about goals and time management,¬†I was trapped in a standard 9-5 corporate job which actually ended up taking over my entire life. I therefore¬†had no time or energy left over to actually work on my goals at all. In spite of this, I stayed at my job because “I needed to earn money to pay my bills so that I could work on my passions, goals, and dreams.”

Unfortunately at that time, I did not understand the vital¬†flaw in this logic. Maybe I did understand it on a subconscious level, but that didn’t mean that I actually knew what to do to fix it. The result was increasing frustration, irritation, and helplessness¬†with my life on the surface and not understanding what was causing it.

Step #1: Prioritize Your Values

The first thing I did solve this problem was to compare my ideal list of values (how I would like to spend my time) with my actual values (the way that I was actually spending my time). My lists looked like this:

My ideal values:

  1. Living a long life
  2. Music
  3. Writing
  4. Business
  5. Job
  6. Housework

My actual values:

  1. Job
  2. Living a long life
  3. Business
  4. Housework
  5. Music
  6. Writing

Writing these lists, as you can see, was pretty jarring. It woke me up to the fact that I was, for the most part,¬†prioritizing all the “responsible” aspects of life and was not really delving into either of my passions. No wonder I¬†felt so frustrated and unfulfilled! I¬†decided to do something about it.

Step #2: Quit Your Day Job

I know, this decision is not for everyone. That being said, it was definitely the right decision for me. I realized that if I wanted to live a life of true authenticity, I needed to make my music and writing more of a priority. So I rid myself of the largest time-sucker of all: the 9-5 job. Once I quit my job, I decided to earn money as a professional musician and as a business entrepreneur.

Once I quit my job, I felt much more comfortable and secure in the fact that the life that I was living was far more in alignment with my values than it had ever been previously. That being said, I still struggled with music goals vs business goals, and I hardly ever had time to write.

What was causing this problem? Each category had its own goals, sub-goals, and daily habits, there turned out to be not enough hours in the day to prioritize everything at the same time. Even though I tried my best to streamline, combine, and shuffle things around, I still felt too overwhelmed to fully focus on everything at the same time because I felt like I was way too overly extended to be successful in everything.

For example, I would make some success with my music in piano, but then my viola would suffer. Or I would prioritize my viola and my piano would suffer. Or I would have it on track with both instruments, but then I would never go to the gym. Or I would have the gym on track at the same time as the housework, but not do any music. Or I would have the gym and both instruments on track but neglect the housework. That’s not even mentioning my writing or my business. Sheesh.

See? Too many variables. No good. All it did was make me upset with myself for not being able to consistently follow through on anything because I had too many things going on at the same time. Because of this, I still felt deeply unsettled and unsatisfied. While I had made a large amount of progress, I had not yet achieved perfection (lol).

Step #3: Establish Mutual Purpose

Next, I decided to really look into each category and see if they were all truly important to me. Then I asked myself why they were so important to me and what was my purpose that was driving me towards completing goals in each area.

When I answered these questions, I still said that yes, all of these things are f*cking important. Clearly. Even though I still wished that¬†I could hire a personal assistant and/or marry a hot husband who did all the housework, so that *I* didn’t have to be the one to do it, it was¬†still important to me that someone did it.

Housework aside, what was really interesting when I completed this step was that I actually did manage to establish a mutual purpose behind my goals of living a long life, music, writing, and business.

My Mutual Purpose:

  1. I want to overcome to become. I want to overcome the negative, toxic, and scarcity experiences from my past to become a happy, healthy, and wholesome person who lives a life of abundance.
  2. I want to use my knowledge and experience to help others overcome negativity and toxicity and also live happy, healthy, and wholesome lives. I want to break others out of scarcity mindset and help them also live lives of abundance.

I was both relieved and pleased to discover that I was actually using three different channels to achieve the same mutual purpose. However, this still did not solve my problem of not having enough hours in the day and not being able to achieve long-term consistency in any category.

Step #4: The One Thing

While I had established that all of my goals were noble and that they all did serve the same mutual purpose, I had to take a good, hard look at each category to determine the order and the level of impact for each. Which one category allowed me to facilitate success in the other categories? Which category helped me the most in my own overcoming and healing process? Which category helped me the most in my quest to help others?

Another way of thinking about it is like a row of dominoes. Which domino is the most powerful that, if you could knock it down, it would result in the others also falling down? This is what I set out to find.

When I completed this step, the results were pretty shocking. I realized that while in the past I had achieved great success in my overcoming and healing process through my writing, I actually was now currently achieving better results with my personal growth through my business opportunity. While I still enjoyed writing, I realized that it no longer served me to write novels the way that it did in the past. Thus I decided to put novel writing on-hold for the time being and instead write about personal growth in this blog. See what I did there?

For my music, I realized that while I am currently making a difference with my students and with my performances, I will be able to make even more of an impact when I have the funding available to create my own Grand Performance Academy. In starting my own music academy, I will have control of the environment and culture, so that I can ensure that I am only teaching students (and parents) with the right attitude and mindset of abundance. Therefore, in order to become more selective with my music, I realized that I needed to first focus on building my business. The change and movement that I will make in the music industry will therefore be a byproduct of the results of building my business.

As a result, I decided to focus and concentrate first and foremost on building my business. Not only does building my business help me with my first goal of overcoming to become, but it also helps me in my quest to help others overcome to become. Not only that, but down the line I can make an even greater impact and change in the music industry once I have the finances in place to be able to do so.

Therefore, my order of priorities has now shifted to the following:

  1. Living a long life
  2. Business
  3. Music
  4. Writing
  5. Housework

Which therefore made it possible to streamline all of my daily habits and fit them into a 24-hour day, actually even less-than. Ironically, since making the decision to focus more on my business, I have since spent more time playing my instruments, going to music concerts, and writing. I call that a triple-minded success!

New Publication

Hi everyone! I am very pleased to announce that my scientific article has been accepted for publication by the International Journal of Earth Sciences. Check it out here:

Porous Media of the Red River Formation, Williston Basin, North Dakota: A Possible Sedimentary Enhanced Geothermal System
      -International Journal of Earth Sciences (2016)
The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00531-016-1398-9.

I am very pleased that my research has been published in such a prestigious journal. It took a lot of work and a lot of revision to do it, but in the end, I succeeded! I am very proud of how well the final article turned out. I can only hope that my article will be useful to other scientists who are completing similar research!

Now that both halves of my master’s thesis have been independently published (the other half was published by the Geothermal Resources Council in 2015), I want to switch gears and focus on writing my new-adult fiction novels.

I feel a calling in life to help other people. My goal in writing new-adult fiction is to talk about struggles that other people face, but that they are too ashamed to talk about. There is no shame in anybody’s struggles, regardless of whether or not they are “big” or “small,” or¬†regardless of what those struggles¬†even are to begin with. I want people who are struggling and suffering to know that they are not alone out there, that other people go through similar situations as they are, and that there is a way out of those situations¬†to the other side.

I can’t wait until my novels are published. I know that I can impact a great many lives with my writing and that my writing can help to make other people’s lives better. I am still putting the final touches on my first novel, but stay ‘tuned for more updates about that!

Submissions

Hello everyone! It has been a crazy few months, but let me¬†fill you in on all the exciting things¬†I’ve been up to.

First, I completed¬†a second round of revisions for my scientific article. I just finished these last week. I’m not sure how many rounds of revisions there will be before my article gets published, but IJES is very prestigious and thus there might¬†be more revisions to complete in the future.

That being said, the revisions I made in this last round resulted in a very cohesive piece. The article now reads very well, being both concise and informative. So hopefully this set of revisions will be the last before publication, but we will see!

After I submitted¬†my article revisions, I started working again on polishing up my novel. I actually found a new place to submit my novel unsolicited! From my preliminary research, the publisher¬†seems to offer good contracts to their authors, so I figure it’s worth a shot!

Before I submit, I am going through the novel¬†again¬†to¬†make sure that everything is on-point. I have to say, I am really digging this intro with the prologue! It’s funny how when you put something away for a few months and then work on it again, you can see it more clearly with fresh eyes for what it is. This opening works very well!

Last night I polished up the introductory frame, so now I’m working more on the middle section. From the part I read last night, the work I had done a few months ago really paid off! You would never have guessed¬†that the main character had sounded flat at one point. Now she has a really strong voice and a lot of attitude (lol).

Anyway, with the long weekend ahead I am going to work on my novel as much as possible. I will submit very soon! I foresee lots of coffee in my future as I prepare my manuscript. ūüėÄ

More Articles; More Revisions

After I finished my scientific article revisions, I decided to write an article for Cosmo. This article¬†is a short piece (about 800 words) on the subject of¬†body image issues. I submitted the article¬†to them last Tuesday, so keep your fingers crossed for me! Hopefully it will appear in a future issue ūüôā

Once I was done with the Cosmo article, I started working again on polishing up my novel. I am still fixing up the middle section of it so that it’s less flat when written from¬†the first-person perspective. Another thing that I’m doing is organizing¬†the whole section so that it¬†has¬†improved flow and clarity. This is proving to be more difficult than I realized.

Much of the difficulty lies in the fact that there’s a lot of flashbacks necessary¬†for the middle section to make sense to the reader. I had been incorporating the flashbacks as I went, as the info became pertinent to the story. The result was a layering effect in which the narrative¬†delved¬†deeper and deeper into the emotions¬†of the main character. This is exactly what I was going for. This sort of emotional layering is very powerful for readers, as it provides¬†them with an extra¬†level of rawness and intensity that really helps them to identify with the main character.

For instance, imagine that you are telling a story to your best friend. In the middle of your story, he or she interrupts you and asks you to clarify something. You tell the back-story to your best friend, which helps him or her to understand your current story and helps him or her to understand your feelings. This is exactly the effect I have in my novel.

While this is a cool effect to have in a¬†narrative, one drawback of it is that the time travel with the flashbacks can seem kind of jumbled and¬†confusing to the reader. I had contemplated changing the organization of the middle section so that it would be chronological; this would¬†eliminate the confusion from the time-traveling flashbacks. That being said,¬†doing so¬†would totally kill the layering effect that I have created. Also, making it chronological¬†might actually be¬†more confusing to the reader, because the reader wouldn’t understand why those details are even being discussed in the first place.

The other thing that I had considered doing was taking the info out and putting it into prequel(s). However, doing so would also eliminate the layering effect.¬†In addition, it would drastically reduce my word count, which I can’t afford to do.

At 41,000 words, my novel is currently too short to be published. I need to add more to it to make it longer (a novel is typically no less than 50,000 words). It is actually kind of funny that I have this problem, because I have literally¬†always had the opposite problem. My work has always been too long, which means that I have had to spend¬†time streamlining it¬†so that it becomes¬†shorter. For instance, my Cosmo article started out being 1800 words; then I had to cut it down to just 800 words to meet the word limit. I’m really not used to¬†adding material because my¬†piece is too short to meet¬†the requirements.

But, I will see what I can do. Maybe by adding more information here and there, I can simultaneously  increase the flow/transition of the novel to make the flashbacking more clear and natural to the reader.