This is a note for you. You are such a good student, when there’s a teacher standing in front of the class, and other students surrounding you, all learning to do the same things. You are a stellar worker, always taking responsibility for your job, above and beyond the call of duty. You take instructions quickly, correct your mistakes diligently, and do everything you can to get along with others. You are smart, capable, successful, but still feel there’s something missing from your life, even though you can’t quite name it.
So what is it? What is that missing thing?
I don’t know.
But I’m willing to bet that your relationship with Not Knowing could use a little tune-up. A little checking in and refamiliarizing. Continue reading →
The Native American tradition speaks of each person’s Original Medicine – that set of gifts that only you can offer the world with your particular life. I’ve always felt there was such a finality to the phrase “Original Medicine” – like I had to define the one thing I was here to do, or it would be lost forever.
This feeling would ignite the achiever in me, who would scramble to come up with a name, a brand, a package, a business, something very “put-together” that would create an image of how well I knew my Life’s Purpose.
I’ve been doing some version of that for most of my life. But recently I’ve begun to discover a process I find much more alive, much more healing, much more in alignment with my own sense of unconditional wholeness. I call it “Live Your Medicine.” It is the practice of asking, “What time is it now, for me?“. It involves listening for what holds the most fear for me in this moment. And then summoning the courage to take action toward that in one small way. Again and again, revisiting and refreshing with each present moment. Continue reading →
THIS was not a photo on my vision board. I was perfectly content to be performing, showing what I was able to do comfortably, easily, and predictably. I thought I was getting “good” at playing freely, improvising, and creating in the moment. The sound of Chinese Melodrama that matches the stacks of CDs we bring to every gig.
Then THIS had to happen.
By “THIS” I mean: We are at LunarBurn, a three-day outdoor festival and experiment in community living. In my mind, it’s a chance to show up and spread the love. We play our first set at the PermaPub, an intimate venue with couches, a bar, and all the impromptu live music one could ask for. We aren’t even finished with a song (Led Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away”) near the end of our set, and a guy appears onstage. He has furry white chaps over his jeans, and a grey hoody. He appears to be maybe under the influence of some substances. But what do I even know about these things? I just thought he was a jerk for interrupting our set.
Here’s my, “Get off the stage, jerk!” look:
Yep, what you’re seeing is a whole lotta judgment flowing freely from me in that moment. First he wanted to play my violin. I’d rehearsed this response before, so it was easy to say, “Sorry, I don’t let anyone touch my violin.” Continue reading →
A few days ago I solved the puzzle of the universe.
It came in a box. There were 500 pieces and a neat image of the final product – what the solution was supposed to look like.
I had a partner while I was doing it. We didn’t discuss how we were going to tackle the problem, we just started working on it, each in our own way. There were no words. Things just began when they began, and ended when they ended.
I noticed that I wanted to follow some instructions that were somewhere in the back of my head about “how to” solve a puzzle like this.
“Start with the edges and corners,” was one set of instructions.
“Find the colored pieces first,” was another.
I tried both of those, but the puzzle was just so big, so complicated, with so many parts, that I quickly got frustrated with each of those approaches. I made a tiny bit of progress, but immediately got stuck following those two paths. Continue reading →
One of my blog readers took the liberty of sending my video on Amy Chua’s book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, to Amy Chua herself! I never would have done this on my own, but that’s why I put my stuff out there for others to read!
Here’s Amy’s email which was sent to that reader, Denise.
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2011 08:36:51 -0500
From: Amy Chua
Subject: Re: FW: The Music Within Us
Dear Denise: Thank you SO MUCH for sending this to me — and yep, Lisa totally got my book and yep, she is totally right that no one else has!! (Only correction is that I never choose or even saw and never would have approved the awful WSJ headline..)
I think Lisa is BRILLIANT, and I love what she says and the passages and moments she singles out. She even gets it about my dogs!!!
I am setting up a website for my book, partly because to try to correct misunderstandings, and I will post this video. Please feel free to share all this with Lisa!
I am not posting this so that you can read something written by a published author calling me “BRILLIANT”. Although that’s nice and all, the reason I am posting this is to encourage you to GET INFORMED before you form judgments and opinions and join in the fun of media-generated controversies. Form your own thoughts and opinions, reflect on your own life, and learn your own lessons. Do not stop at what the journalists and media or others are telling you. Do not believe what others say until you have questioned it with your own body, mind, and heart. Know that you are always free to create your own story.
This time, I knew what the message was going to be, and tumblr.com provides the best format for creating short, frequent posts in a variety of media – video, quotes, text, and my favorite, chats (sharing conversations in a screenplay-like format).
My intention is to create an inspiring, healing community for Asian American women who have tried their whole lives to be “good”, done everything they were supposed to do, achieved success in the forms they were told to, and still find something missing in their lives. Together we will discover all of who we are, and unlock the keys to our own unconditional joy, peace, and freedom….B.A.D.ness and all.Continue reading →
I love blog posts that start with “How To…”. They are always so promising, and hold the anticipation of a wrapped present under the Christmas tree, or a package arriving on your doorstep after your recent online purchase.
“Oh I can’t wait to open this! And finally SEE what’s inside!”
And, just like Christmas, just like opening that package that you ordered online, there’s that moment of not knowing, the moment of unveiling, the moment where your expectation rises to greet the present moment unfolding.
When it’s unveiled, we deal with the match between our heart’s desire – the image of what we hoped to see in that opening – and the reality right before our eyes. Is it everything you imagined? Is it “perfect” (meaning, does it match your idea of what you wanted)?
I happened to be awake and watching television last night when the hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Jay-Z appeared on the new Oprah Winfrey Network show, “Master Class.”
He was speaking about everything he had learned so far in his life. His childhood roots of living in urban housing projects, and having a father who abandoned the family when Jay-Z was 11 years old, were completely foreign to me, as a child of married, Chinese immigrant, PhD-educated parents in the upper middle-class suburbs of the Midwest.
He told the story of a typical day, being on the playground with friends, and having to run and take cover whenever gang members would drive by, shooting automatic weapons at random. After fifteen minutes or so, he and his friends would re-emerge and start playing again.
As I held my breath and imagined a story of how “horrible” it must have been to grow up under such dangerous and uncertain conditions, I heard Jay-Z say this: “It was truly a remarkable upbringing.” Continue reading →
For most of the years of my adult life, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has felt like a race.
“A race to where?” you might ask.
Instead of racing through your list of “to do”s, try something new this holiday. Try adding some restorative practices to your days, and checking in with yourself to ensure that you are sharing and giving your best self to the people you care most about.
Don’t know what restores you?
Well, here’s a great place to start: STOP.
Yes, that’s right. STOP doing for even one whole minute each day. For those of us who thrive on the thrill of accomplishment, fitting in, doing more, working harder, and making things look good, this might be as big of a challenge as anything you’ve put on your “to do” list.
That’s why you need to do it now. STOP.
Just sit still with yourself for ONE ENTIRE MINUTE each day, and watch what happens. Feel everything that comes up. Feel your resistance. Feel your annoyance. Feel your jitters. Feel your desire to be anywhere but right here, right now.
Give yourself this gift every day during the month of December, and you’ll be on your way to being able to give to others what they truly desire – your full presence and peace with yourself.
Want more inspiration and instructions on how to create restorative practices and restore sanity to your holiday season? Enroll in my online course starting December 13th. Register here>>
Have you ever tried actually doing one thing at a time?
I’ve found that it takes a tremendous amount of trust – an amount I often don’t have – to truly do one thing at a time.
Somehow my brain prefers that high-anxiety mode of doing many things at once, having many irons in the fire, keeping many options open, so to speak. But the reality of that mode is nothing ever gets done, and I never feel totally complete. In other words, I set myself up to prove the belief that underlies this kind of behavior: “I am not enough.”
To turn this behavior around, I first choose a new thought to believe: “I am complete, as I am, in this moment.”
At first, I repeat it as a mantra that sounds ridiculous because my brain has never practiced focusing attention on all the ways that I am, in fact, complete, as I am, in this moment. I have trained my brain, for many years and quite intensively, to find all the ways that “I am not enough” – all the ways that I “should be” doing more than what I am doing right now.
But since I have made the choice to be and do in a different way, to connect with a different energy as the source of my actions, I keep repeating that mantra. I allow myself some stillness and some time to find one example of how I am really complete, as I am, in this moment. I find some gentleness toward myself as I learn a new way. I remember that I am like a toddler, about to take my first steps, and joyfully falling and getting up more times than I will be able to count.
I choose something to do, in this moment, which gives me the feeling in my body of being complete as I am. These days, it is a hike. I get to move my body, deepen my breath, and bring my senses in contact with nature – the sky, the cool air, the silence.
Yesterday I happened to shoot two videos – one before my hike, and one after. I think you’ll see a visible difference in my face, or at least sense a different energy from me, in the two videos. Plus, in the second video I leave you with two questions to ask yourself about your own restorative practices.