Category Archives: Self Improvement

Tiff Lin’s Happiness Project

I must acknowledge my Enneagram Type 7 – fear of anxiety/missing out on new experiences/impulsive escapist attitude

“Sevens attempt to control their level of anxiety by keeping their attention occupied with ideas and possibilities that excite them. They keep their mind full of activities that they can look forward to, positive experiences that they know they will enjoy. Every time anxiety rears its head, Sevens are ready with a new adventure, a new book, a workshop they plan to attend, or an exciting new relationship. As long as they can keep their attention occupied with positive expectations, Sevens can hold their pain and anxiety at bay. They do not want to deal with their anxiety or examine its causes in their lives because doing so draws them inward, making them more anxious, while extroversion pulls them outward, toward the environment, repressing anxiety, at least temporarily. They discover that the distractions which their activities provide repress anxiety whenever it threatens to erupt into consciousness, but that they need to keep searching for exciting activities to keep themselves safe from their inner distress. They therefore throw themselves into more and more experiences to avoid having to face anxiety or any feeling of unhappiness…”

The problem is that the more Sevens fill up their minds anticipating the fun they will have in the future, the less they are in touch with whatever experience they are having in the present

The more anxious they get, the more they distract themselves by anticipating the future and the less their experiences serve to quell their anxiety. Sevens keep fleeing outward into the world of experience as they try to outrun the fear and hurt inside them. But the more they flee, the bigger the thrills they need and the harder they are to sustain.

Well…folks, I already knew this about myself. But knowing is half the battle. Knowledge is nothing. Action is everything.

and i’ve had just the SLAP TO REALITY that i’ve needed to take myself seriously.

The truth: ITS BEEN OVER A MONTH SINCE I’VE WALKED.

As of May 28, I’ve been in the hospital for a total of 15 days bedridden and went through 3 surgeries and got pumped with IVs in 6 different places. I’m currently still going to the hospital everyday for hyperbaric oxygen therapy to repair cells/quicken the healing process. I’ve placed myself willingly under house arrest for a total of 3-4 weeks.

I’m at the point where I don’t really want to talk about it because this has been the story I’ve repeated over and over again…to 6 different doctors and to the rest of my worried friends and family from Taiwan and the US.

The main point is- that i’ve learned (the hard way) that I do things to myself without understanding consequences. I think I’m invincible to pain but then I learn that the human body has a funny way of catching up to you before you realize it.

But i’ve grown stronger in a way. Mentally speaking. Anyway, these are just some insights that I’ve taken from reading a book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben that led me to seek out truth in my own process.

——

I am happy, but I want to be happier/more grateful/less anxious about future/more appreciative of the present.

I’m excited by the environment and respond strongly to my surroundings, throwing myself into the world of experience with enormous vitality. But is this childlike wonder/excitement sustainable?

Living a life of paradox

I want to change myself but accept myself
I want to take myself less seriously but also take myself more seriously
I wanted to use my time productively  but also have time to wander and play
I want to live in the moment but not worry that day-by-day is going to waste

So how do you change without having to change at all?

Follow commandments/principles

  1.     Be yourself
  2.     let it go
  3.     act the way I want to feel
  4.     do it now
  5.     be fair
  6.     enjoy the process
  7.     lighten up / cheer up / be silly
  8.     do what ought to be done
  9.     no comparisons or calculations
  10. there is only love
  11. forget the past
  12. spread joy
  13. never bother with people who don’t matter
  14. stay in touch
  15. life is fleeting
  16. create something that wasn’t there before
  17.  stop collecting useless crap
  18. make mistakes
  19. Give thanks: for the ordinary and the extraordinary
  20. create something that wasn’t there before
  21. Choose not to take things personally
  22. This too shall pass
  23. I am already enough
  24. What do I really, really, really want
  25. Keep it simple
  26. If you can’t get out of it, get into it

If I had to pick 10

1. Be Tiff Lin – be comfortable with yourself and know your limits
2. Do good, feel good – when you do a good selfless deed, you feel it lift you up
3. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
4. Always arrive on time – it’s a sign of respect and is the first step towards being true to your word
5. Inspire and be inspired – teach and learn simultaneously- share/exchange
6. Life is simple- don’t overthink/assume – you can’t predict everything
7. Listen to others and accept them for who they are despite their differences= everyone has a story
8. Be more patient and generous with time – small steps equate to big changes
9. Be a powerhouse of energy for others to follow- mental/body/spiritual
10. Enjoy the moment for it might be your last

Secrets of Adulthood

1. its okay to ask for help
2. do good, feel good
3. its important to be nice to everyone
4. people don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think
5. what you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile
6. consistency and routine and healthy daily habits count more

Why study happiness?

Happiness can prepare you for adversity- to develop the self-discipline and the mental habits to deal with a  bad thing when it happens
Happiness can prepare your mind to be mentally strong

THE CHALLENGE

Having now being forced to be indoors during recovery, I have to find other alternative options to substitute what once made me happy (expressing myself through movement/activity/constant stimulation/meeting strangers and hearing stories) and to find another way to be constantly stimulated (drawing, writing, painting, poetry, reading, decluttering, personal projects)

MIND OVER BODY BETCHES!

I’ll dedicate a post on each. It’s been fun in a way. Learning that with focus I can do quite a lot.

Everyday is hard. Every morning I wake up, I have to remind myself that happiness is a choice. And put myself through “my process”

But it’s still been a learning journey and that’s all I can ask for of myself. at this present time.

 

 

Saving Face in Taiwan

SAVING FACE

Saving face implies a situation where someone’s reputation is under question, or has already been lost, and is undergoing restoration. Saving face is an action whereby one is able to prove that they were not wrong, or show that the degree of their wrongdoing was only very small – not such a big deal.

For those who don’t know what “面子” or the concept of “face”- its  an asian custom based on combination  of social standing, reputation, influence, dignity, and honor.  I’ll use Mulan (Disney movie) as an example. When Mulan’s father gets called to join the War, he trudges on despite his bad limp and his old age to accept his fate and show face to his town. Mulan stubbornly interferes causing him to lose face among his peers and bring him shame (you’ve bought shame to this family…#burn). She struggles with her principles overnight..a slash across her shiny black hair later…she ends up fighting for her country and ultimate saving face for her family. Kickass right?!!? I think what’s especially badass is that she still defies all realms of stereotypical conventions in the process. Ironic. Very not chinese traditional huh?

I’m experiencing this whole “face” thing on my own right now and its given me much headache and heartache.

Why? Because I’m a customized Asian, with a dash of oriental zen, a twist of western creation fervor, and a sprinkling of personal philosophizing.

I think everyone is unique and I’d rather be different, self-expressive, and stand out than fit in. Yet I respect my cultural heritage, emphasis on filial piety, generally not making anyone feel uncomfortable.  Can you understand the clash?

Stressing too much about showing “face” already implies that you care too much about what other people think of you. You can’t please everyone and even if you try, you’ll just have an even harder time identifying with yourself.

So here it comes…my introverted Saturday night identity crisis rant of living a life for you versus living the life that’s expected of you.

Saving Face Correlates with Confidence/Sense of Self 

I apologize to my family and peers for being erratic, moody, hyper-sensitive, insecure, flakey, distant sometimes…i’ve had highs and lows the past few months in this island of Taiwan.

After much thought, I’ve realized that my environment (how I behave when I am most natural/authentic to myself) has a direct correlation with my confidence.

Confidence is the ability to affect the world around you, it’s a feeling of empowerment, it’s feeling good about yourself, and it’s the thing inside that allows you to show yourself to the world.

For the past 6 years, I’ve lived independently in NYC surrounding myself with unique/independent/creative/ambitious types….wandering around carefree on my own terms and conditions…I’ve reached all-highs living very hedonistically. If I wasn’t having fun, stopped learning, or hit a plateau, it would be a matter of me running/biking away to latch onto something/somewhere/someone else. Granted, this fleeting defense mechanism had given me a falsified high sense of confidence because hell i wasn’t really putting myself in any vulnerable position where I could have a low ever. Happy go lucky scatter-brained escapist. I was restless…

Right now, while I am in mother land, I am trying to tackle vulnerability and fear. And sticking to something no matter how uncertain. Hence, my decision to stay here for at least a year.

Being in Taiwan, living with family (3 generations in one household) for the first time, being a student again, of course has its perks. I’m living very comfortably right now. I have time to explore my passions and learn for the sake of learning. So then why the intermittent lows? 

I oftentimes feel babied like I’m constantly being scrutinized and evaluated for every decision I make…and sometimes for just being the way that I am.

And its hard.  I’m not used to being called out on on my flaws. The Chinese culture is not to compliment but to point out weaknesses to improve on. This could help me in the long term (maybe)… but could also leave me feeling a bit insecure with my sense of self for the time being.

For one, I just can’t get over the fact how superficial it is here. Having “face” as a 24 soon to be 25 yr old single girl in Taiwan means I have to care a lot about how I look. And for those who know me, I could give less of a flying fck.

Over the past few months, I’ve had to evaluate the following about myself

– For “Being too muscular” (girls shouldn’t lift weights/exercise all the time) to “you look fatter/you’ve gained weight” (once i had stopped working out as much..uh OH)
– For not dressing more like a girl or having any fashion sense (i don’t even know where to begin as i struggle with materialism and also working with what I have- post backpacker…)
– For being too hasty, clumsy, with my actions and having no tact with my words (i have to apologize for being too overly excited, be smart with my words at the risk of hurting someone’s feelings)
– For having too many scars/bruises/scratches on my legs (i should hide and remove my battle scars/stories for the sake of disgusting people…and should thus quit jumping on and of things/parkour).
– For being really unstable “hot and cold” at the whole relationship/intimacy front (meanwhile grandma tells me to “open my eyes” to find a tall Taiwanese boy from a wealthy family..uh oh)

Obviously, I take all of these “things i should work on” aka hits to my “being” with a grain of salt…but i can’t lie, it gets to me. I’m highly sensitive to criticism…

Who is that girl I see…staring straight back at me….

Image

I guess to some people on eye-level, I’m a disheveled misfit who wanders parks alone scouting for old people and little kids to talk to/practice Chinese with. Who can be seen sporting a bright green sharpied backpack filled with chinese books, a camera bag that carries my Nikon D500, and Google Glass. This backpack ultimately clashes with everything I wear..its also covered with doodles by 5-7 yr olds…but its full of stories and cherished memories..and is the only semblance of me saying “i’d rather clash than fit in” so 面子can be shoved aside..for now.

In all seriousness, appearances and jokes aside, my level of confidence has a direct impact on how much I get done, whether I follow through with my goals, my values, my beliefs, my “ideal self” and whether I take opportunities that present themselves to me…

I seek inspiration and understanding and can only measure it by something tangible. I’d like to empower communities to get out of the defeatist 沒辦法 mindset and to show that life is much “more” than just 表面上(on surface shit).

It’s time to have conversation about life/dreams/hobbies/interests/taking risks and less about hello kitty/yellow ducks/stinky tofu/bubble tea/overworked low salary dead end jobs. gosh. am i right?

HENCE, me sharing myself. my “unique” voice. my personality. my eyes. my tools. my Glass.

First step- master language
Second step- understand culture/people
Third step- empower communities

The medium is the message. SO CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO ROFL.

Just Start

I acknowledge that I am my own worst enemy.

For months now, I’ve been working on myself. I mean isn’t that the point of traveling? Couch/bed/floor/beanbag surfing 19 different cities on 20+ different surfaces with +20 or so different modes of transportation in a span of 2 months? Ridiculous…these numbers mean nothing to me now and in fact paint an entirely different story to what I can recall was an amazing well use of time/budget. Numbers just seem like a point of validation. And I’m beginning to understand that validation is what ha(s)(d) define(s)(d) me (middle child Taiwan-born American-raised born in unconventional family circumstances seeking for attention/understanding?) for the majority of my life.

“Life is full of beautiful yet fleeting moments” That’s the mantra that I had chanted on my independent travel abroad prior to coming to Taiwan (to study Chinese for 3 months/reunite with family). Fleeting is right. Yet right now on this cold rainy night …I’m kicking myself for feeling this creeping inexplicable emptiness…its a sense of shame and guilt that this phase of my journey may be considered “the beginning” or “the end” …and its this uncertainty that I don’t know exactly how to react to anymore. At first, I thrived on it, but now i’m not so sure. The emotion of “emptiness” had just left me as I am writing this sentence. Because as soon as I’ve done typing…i’m looking back and just literally scoffing at myself for how pathetic it sounds. There you go. fleeting. its ups and lows here. its weird.

i think it’s because this is the 4th month i’m in Taiwan yet I feel like I have nothing tangible to show for it.

Wonder/Ponder Moment: Why is it so easy for me to be the highest ideal of myself when I know that I’ll be leaving within a week span? I pride in myself that I have the ability to connect with so many people on so many levels and feel completely free…to be the weird little kid captured in awe over everything new about my surroundings …to revel/shake people up  to see and appreciate their  environment with new eyes.

YOU HAVE STARS! INFINITE STARS ABOVE YOUR EYES” – I scream, to my CS host in Queenstown, NZ. It was a beautiful moment and an amazing sight, walking uphill for 10 minutes back home gazing up at the pitch black starry sky…Having lived in NYC for the past 6 years, you begin to forget that theres another universe out there….all you have to do is look up.

 

SO…i’m starting over. Taiwan is a really interesting place to live right now. But i find the Taiwanese don’t understand. I want to explore this further. How? Well, thats thinking too much already. I need to just do for now.

I think the first 3 months was a lot about me adapting to something “Stable” “routine”..but I’ve taken many personality tests and even the DISC (a dedicated post on that later) to see that i demand a fast paced environment where I’m encouraged to constantly learn and inquire. I seek freedom from routine, control, and minutia ….so why fight it? My lifestyle is comfortable right now…and i struggle with that.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone (emphasis on ambition/risk/adventure) vs Be content and happy where you are right now. Live in the present (emphasize Mind Zen). i fight both constantly.

but i digress….(shit i think this whole post has just been a lot of digressions huh?)

Back to the point of writing “I acknowledge that I am my own worst enemy”

I’ve been meaning to write for a long time but there would always be something holding me back. Another “busy” task I add onto my list. A friend/mentor/lover said “Just start” With a notepad in hand, I’m doing just that.

What I’m working on:

Generally: To focus. To channel my interests. To learn for the sake of learning. To be present and aware of my surroundings. To create. To commit. To ask questions. To observe. To listen. To see with new eyes. To write

Specifically: My website. My photography. My videos via Google Glass. My chinese. Piano. Cultivating relationships. Saying “no” . Priorities. Myself.

ah, its good to get that out of there. 

I acknowledge that I am not the best comprehensive writer. That i am a bit scatter brained. That I do tend to think too much…and can sometimes find myself lost in the infinite abyss of my endless mind….but then again, this is me, for me….

You have the option to x out whenever you want.

tomorrow, i’m sure i’ll read this and shake my head in embarrassment. but then ill bask in it. and move on.

you gotta start somewhere. What are we without our words? You declare something to the world and its one step closer to making it happen.

start

such is life.

 

Top 15 Lessons for Life

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Ask yourself “will this matter a year from now?” If the answer is no then move on.
  2. You are responsible to everyone, but you’re responsible for yourself. Nobody else is going to find success for you, and nobody else is going to instill happiness into you from the outside. That’s on you.
  3. You can always get more money, you can never get more time. Don’t cut your life so short that you miss out on experiences. Go travel. Go sperlunking. Go to that music festival you say you’ll find time to go to next year. Book a ticket a year in advance and don’t look back.
  4. Blur the lines between work and play. Make everything you do into a game. Mix targets/end goals with rewards/incentives/goldstars.
  5. You can’t force others to like you and you can’t force others to change their opinion. Just be true to your own self and your own conscience, the rest is secondary.
  6. You are your word. And you are your actions, more than your words. Stick to your commitments and values. Results are measured in time and distance. While words are empty and meaningless without action. Never make excuses, stop blaming others, and own up to your mistakes.
  7. See problems as challenges. A problem is viewed as a drawback or a struggle while a challenge is an opportunity, a dare. View obstacles as challenges and take it on one step at a time.
  8. Make sure you’re always learning something new. We live in a Googable world. We have access to public libraries. We have smart phones. Be curious enough to learn and absorb info from everywhere around you. Take up a new activity, explore a hidden alley, read a new book.
  9. Take care of your health when you’re young and keep going when you’re old. It’ll be easier down the road when you’re older. I don’t care if you work a 9-6 job, there’s always time during the day to respect your body.
  10. Be Positive. Appreciate everything and everyone around you. There are things you cannot change or are beyond your control. Instead of focusing on how unfair life is, be at peace with yourself and appreciate where you are and how far you’ve come and how bright the future is.
  11. Develop a sense of wonder and awe. This will keep you young. Open your mouth in awe. “The only cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity/
  12. Nothing is permanent or eternal. Not your clothes. Your car. Your fancy watch. Not even your relationships. Your possessions shouldn’t possess you or define who you are.
  13.  Choose your friends well. Let friendship be based on mutual respect and trust. While common interests are a good go-to, there’s nothing wrong with branching out of your comfort zone and intertwine with different social circles. Surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to acheive your goals. Also, do not be afraid to have critics. Embrace those who are blunt and have no filter.
  14. Realize that nobody cares, and if they do, you shouldn’t care that they care. Got a new car? Went on an exotic vacation? Nobody cares. You’ll get some gawkers for a couple of weeks—they don’t care. They’re curious. Don’t base your happiness on people caring, because they won’t. And if they do, they either want your stuff or hate you for it.
  15. Always give more than is required of you. You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return. When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for everyone involved.

How to be “Great”

I’ve been positively gleaming or glowing these past few days.

The conversation usually starts off as something like this

A: How are you doing?

B: Great, just GREAT!

I can’t even articulate how great it has been which is why I have a goofy smile on my face all of the time.

So I’m going to try this…

What does “great” even mean?

For me, being great or capable of “greatness” means you’ve overcome being “small”

To be great means that instead of asking for “fish”, you’ve requested “fishing”

if I request you to teach me “fishing” I have the power to create much more, albeit potential of failure/rejection/shame.

To be great, means you’ve achieved a breakthrough in performance..whether that be getting recognition/promotion at your job, or finally coming to terms with your sexuality, or being able to run 5 miles without stopping. You’ve come a long way and even when there is nobody on the other end of the finish line to say “hey man, you’re awesome.” You know it in yourself that you’ve achieved something “great.”

I’m in the process of mastering my life to achieve “Greatness” and here is my outline.

1. Making a difference and contribution

  • To be powerful, means you have the ability to inspire “groups”
  • By starting with the individual, you can conquer anything in the world.
  • Take the time to think of what matters to you in your community and dedicate some time to just think of what YOU can do to make a difference, small steps = big changes
  • INDIVIDUAL (alter one’s feelings/emotions) -> RELATIONSHIP -> FAMILY -> GROUPS -> COMMUNITY -> ORGANIZATION -> SOCIETY -> WORLD

2. Mastering reality

  • Being with something exactly the way it is instead of adding/deleting from a statement and constructing a story based on assumptions- adding meaning to nothing.
  • To separate your thoughts, feelings, intuition from what’s real in front of you : What’s happening versus the story
  • To be present instead of letting the past determine your future

3. Mastering identity and ultimately the self

  • As “identity” you can either be part of something or not something. As “self” you are the space in which it all shows up. You are who you show up to other people and your actions are correlated with what is occurring for you…directly influencing how you occur for yourself in dealing with those situations
  • Be unreasonable – Being reasonable means being controlled by your reasons. You may feel compelled to find reasons before you can do something. Being UNreasonable means doing something simply because you are doing it, taking responsibility for it, and enjoying it as it is.
  • Be vocal- Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will open. Just say it/do it and know that whatever the outcome, its better than just sitting around and waiting for “something”
  • Be expressive – To communicate that you are happy instead of saying “I am happy” by self expression is a skill. Perform to your hearts intent without fear of judgment.

Ending with a quote:

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – Lawrence Persall Jacks

Live, love, learn,

TIFFLIN(ning)

Awareness of Self

Awareness of Self:

Here’s a fun exercise. Go into your room and take note of what is present around you

For me….

  • A cluttered desk piled with papers/receipts/plastic bags/concert tickets
  • An ironing board I took from outside the street with dirty/clean clothes piled on top
  • Mismatched socks on the floor
  • Posters/colors/pictures/decorations covering every inch in my room

Let your awareness take in everything

Ask yourself:

  • Do I see order or disorder?
  • Do I see my uniqueness?
  • Do I see how I really feel?
  • Do I see what I really want?

What does this stand for?

  • inner disorder
  • fear of meeting one’s obligations
  • accepting too much responsibility
  • ignoring mundane details

Conclusion: The environment I surround myself in as I wake up and as I sleep is not conducive for me having peace of mind.

Now step into your social world. When you are with your family or friends, listen with your inner ear to what is going on.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I hear happiness?
  • Does being with these people make me feel alive, alert?
  • Is there an undertone of fatigue, boredom, saying things just to be saying them?
  • Is this just a familiar routine, or are these people really responding to each other?

Are you being authentic with yourself? We fear to be seen as inauthentic sometimes out of fear of being judged/shamed/rejected, so we do things that we don’t really care about doing and say things we don’t 100% believe in saying…and then we end up being, sincere, at best. However sincerity is NOT authenticity. Take a moment and reflect on whether your intuition can pick up on whether a “wow, funny bumping into you here! We’ll have to catch up soon!” is just a sincere go-to response or if there’s a voice of authenticity behind these words…

Feelings

  • At my worst: I feel antsy, restless, want to have more options and choices available. Become adventurous and “worldly wise” but less focused. Uninhibited, fear of being bored, in perpetual motion, but do too many things–many ideas but little follow through
  • At my best, I breathe in my environment and feel totally present and emotionally deeply grateful and appreciative for what I have. Become awed by the simple wonders of life: joyous and ecstatic. Feel connected with the world and everyone in it. Love of people and boundless goodness of life make me want to scream with joy. I’m satisfied with the results that I produce.

Thinking

  • “I know more than I think I do”
  • “I have the tools and the resources to live my dreams but fear of uncertainty is holding me back”
  • “I need to find out what I like and what I don’t like”
  • “I need to get out of my comfort zone”
  • My mind is becoming restless and I want to calm down
  • I need to love and trust myself before I can love anybody else

Actions

  • I am acting out of complete integrity
  • My actions symbolize who I am and why I am here
  • I gave up having control and will react to what will come to me

Being

  • I realize that I am cared for and loved
  • I realize that my life has purpose and that I matter
  • I sense that random events are not random
  • I see that I am unique
  • I realize that life has the ability to run itself
  • I realize with wonder that life is infinitely worthwhile and full of possibilities

– Influences from LandMark Education, The Book of Secrets, Enneagram tests.

10 Aspiring Qualities for Daily Existence

My aspirations is to pursue one quality per day or to do as many as I can.

Striving not for self-improvement or to write in a way that i am weak or inadequate (i do that enough in my mind) but to extend my body’s comfort zone into behavior and feeling.

Higher Purpose: I am here to serve. I am here to inspire. I am here to love. I am here to live my truth. I am here to find my true self.

Communion: I will appreciate someone who doesn’t know that I feel that way. I will overlook the tension and be friendly to someone who has ignored me. I will express at least one feeling that has made me feel guilty or embarrassed.

Awareness: I will spend ten minutes observing instead of speaking. I will sit quietly by myself just to sense how my body feels. If someone irritates me, I will ask myself what I really feel beneath the anger—and I won’t stop paying attention until the anger is gone.

Acceptance: I will spend five minutes thinking about the best qualities of someone I really dislike. I will read about a group that I consider totally intolerant and try to see the world as they do.

Creativity: I will imagine five things I could do that my family would never expect—and then I will do at least one of them.  I will invent something in the mind that the world desperately needs.

Being: I will spend half an hour in a peaceful place doing nothing except feeling what it is like to exist. I will lie outstretched on the grass and feel the earth languidly revolving under me. I will take in three breaths and let them out as gently as possible

Efficiency: I will let at least two things out of my control and see what happens. I will gaze at a rose and reflect on whether I could make it open faster or more beautifully than it already does—then I will ask if my life has blossomed this efficiently.

Bonding: when I catch myself looking away from someone, I will remember to look into the person’s eyes. I will bestow a loving gaze on someone I have taken for granted. I will express sympathy to someone who needs it, preferably a stranger.

Giving: I will buy lunch and give it to someone in need on the street (or I will go to a café and eat lunch with the person). I will compliment someone for a quality that I know the individual values in him or herself.

Immortality: I will read a scripture about the soul and the promise of life after death. I will write down five things I want my life to be remembered for. I will sit and silently experience the gap between breathing in and breathing out, feeling the eternal in the present moment.

– Taken from “The Book of Secrets” by Deepak Chopra

Moments of Influence

Moments of Influence/Grandeur/AHA/Epiphany

It could be anything…a picture, a phrase, a song, a personal story.

It doesn’t have to be a cliched saying (although most of the times it is). Its just something that intersects beautifully with whatever situation/obstacle/challenge you are facing at that present time. You suddenly breathe a sigh of relief like your not in this alone…meanwhile you are shaking your head vigorously in excitement because that moment/factor of influence is all you needed to give you that extra push for you to carry on. It’s uplifting.

My Influencers:

Instagram

Currently @Mankofit- One of my favorite people to follow on instagram. This chick averages 5 figure+ likes. Completely wowed by her workout ethic. She posted a personal story about motivation and how it keeps her doing what she does and loves everyday.

Its following users and fitness enthusiasts like her that keep me pushing to complete my Spartan WOD’s. You can subscribe here – http://www.spartanrace.com/wod/

Yesterday was a toughie. Especially after a weekend of eating greasy food/beer in Colorado with my sister, it was hard to motivate myself to complete 3/28 Spartan WOD (Run 27 minutes…interval sprint/jog). But then I see a pic of this chick doing crazy things like climbing 100 flights of stairs in 20 minutes, i can’t help but feel inspired!

So I pushed myself to get out of my cubicle, bike 3 blocks to the gym, and run 4 miles on the treadmill. I felt so much better after. Especially since I gained 1.6 pounds since my last Thursday weigh-in. Oh WeightWatchers Meetings..the things you do to my mental mind. #Rollercoaster.

Hustlin: 4 miles – 36 min

SOULcycle

Back in February, via Airbnb, I hosted an LA yogi who came to NYC for the SOULcycle training program. Through spending a weekend under his lifestyle influences, I found the beautiful balance of hot yoga and spinning…mixed in with healthy smoothie recipes and ShakeShack/beer-dance till 2 AM nights. Yes, its all about that balance.

I’ve also met 2 other instructors in the program and through these 3 superstars combined, I feel like a new and improved person. I’ve hit up 4 (free) Community rides that they’ve instructed so far and have found a point of epiphany in every single class. All it takes is one phrase like “you can find family wherever you are” or “this is just the beginning” ..”tomorrow could be a total surprise..but today is here and its beautiful” -its soulful and poignant and although it might not make the perfect sense out of context…right then and there when i’m pouring sweat straightup strugglin and beating off thoughts that I’m not good enough/can’t compare to all these SOULcycle cult/beautiful fit people….i suddenly get an extra spurt of energy and power from their words/choice of empowering music and I just keep spinning

Inspiration. Transformation. Celebration.

I love these crazy cardio parties. It’s like a freakin rave. It’s not a competition. Its never judging. Everyone’s waving their towels in the air, hollering, having a great time, and encouraging each other to dance/spin/move. No need to compare yourself to anyone there…just compare yourself to where you were yesterday and how far you’ve come.

At SoulCycle...

If anyone wants to hit up a free community class, let me know. Do it for the journey.

Music

Currently: Ben Howard- Keep your Head Up

Watch it. Listen to the lyrics. It’s powerful stuff. After a long day at work, all I need is this music on my bike ride home and I’m as happy as a clam.

Music has the power to transform your emotions. Dancing has the power to let your emotions translate to actual expression.

Goal: Dance twice a week. Just put on your favorite jams and rock out in your room. Like Hannah from Girls.

Foreigners/Travelers/Couchsurfers

So on Wednesday (3/27) after a grueling SOULcycle class at 2:00 AND Bootcamp class at 7:00, all I really wanted to do was go home and crash/smoke a sheesh/clean my room. But I get a text from Gary (CouchSurfing) around 8 PM. It’s written in chinese..asking if i wanted to meet up for dinner/drinks. Ohh man.

A month ago, I agreed to host Gary because he was from Taiwan Kaoshung (where my grandmas from!) but he ended up getting a place in White Plains instead. Since its  my resolution to keep promises/meet somebody new everyday, I rushed home from bootcamp, showered, and met him at Saints Alp for bubble tea (i know..how fitting..).

His english is as bad as my chinese, so the conversations we had were pretty limited. I had to give him respect points for going out on his own. For not listening to his friend’s ridicule “you’re english sucks..you don’t know anyone…what are you going to do in NYC by yourself?” and just traveling for the sake of experiencing something new/seek inspiration.

Gary is a student studying civil engineering and is here to gain new perspective. He reminded me of the ant from A Bug’s Life. The part of the movie when he goes and travels into a big city to meet “strangers” in hopes to better his town. At one point,  i just nodded in bemusement when he described the history/architecture of Grand Central to me in chinese. I had absolutely no clue what he was saying, but could tell he was passionate. Thumbs up.

What I got out of this encounter: I need to work on my Chinese. I need to travel back to Taiwan. I need to get outside of my comfort zone. As much as I push my body to reach new heights, I’d like to learn something new and stimulate my mind

Inspiring Feats of Performance Motivated by Love

Strongest Dad in the World by Rick Reilly

Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars – all in the same day.

Read more here:

TL:DR : SEEK INSPIRATION WHEREVER YOU ARE. JUST EMBRACE IT. KEEP MOVING.

Weekly Challenge:  Declutter Life/Clean Room

Progress: Tackled one corner of my room. cleaned out my shoe buckets. Donating 5 pairs. Swept my room floor. Small steps.

There’s a reason why I made this a “weekly” challenge and not a “daily”…badabooom

PS: this weekend is going to be a blur: i probably won’t post until Monday….

i have a total of 4 Guests..maybe 5..from Couchsurfing. 3 Frenchies, 1 or 2 Swedes crashing in my living room. Yes i overbooked. It’s going to be awesome.