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Posts from the ‘Intentions’ Category

Read: Perfection. The Silent Killer.

I recently discovered that someone had taken a piece of my writing, tweaked it a bit and reposted it, passing it off as their own genius.

At first, I was irked. The more irked I became, the more I began to dive into why it was irking me so much.  The more I dived in, the more I started to untangle my initial reactions.

Perfection is a silent killer.

I began thinking about why someone would plagiarize. Sure, I’ve been there when I’ve struggled to write an essay about something I had absolutely no interest in. I’d tell myself after hours of scouring online for words I could pass off as my own, “Yeah, that sounds good. Let’s use that.”  However, that was back when I was still a college student, trying to make passing grades so I could graduate.

How does it apply to our lives now, in the social media age?  We live in a world where we no longer have anonymity, are craving true connections, but instead, are left stranded with estranged, delusioned online lives where a “like” on someone’s Facebook post or a comment means that they are our “friend”.  Our ego inflates with the number of “likes” we accrue, and we are engaged with this obsession of displaying our lives in a way that makes it, on the outside, look perfect and ideal.

How did we get here?

We now have the ability to present ourselves in a way we’ve always wanted. Not particularly in real-time per se, but real time enough where we can post snippets of our lives as it’s happening, moments that seem exciting, photos of ourselves that always look good, and can delete any and all things that we dislike or decide not to share for whatever reason.  We live in a constant world of editing. We can edit ourselves to be more “attractive” online, we can share parts of our lives that seem the most fun, the most exciting, the most beautiful, and others end up with this really biased view of our selectively publicized life.

We essentially, can create “perfection”.

We want to present ourselves as perfect, pristine, with photos that are touched up, and words that aren’t quite truly our own.  If we aren’t careful, we can blindside ourselves into believing that this alter ego, edited and touched up is who we are.  Sadly, this only moves us further away from our essence, our core, our Spirit.  The work is to live honestly, authentically, and unfortunately, trying to be perfect all the time only reinforces the fact that deep down inside, we believe that WE ARE NOT ENOUGH.

And I’m guessing that this is what this individual felt.  I wrote something that touched her. It quite possibly resonated, and while my first response is feeling irked, my second response is a heck yeah.  You go girl. If I can write something that touches you deeply, and resonates with you deeply, and if I gave you words to express something that you otherwise wouldn’t have expressed, then it makes me happy…that my words have power. And it is transcending, and far-reaching, AND making a difference.   I’ll take it as a form of flattery.  However, this little “irk”, which is so unimportant at the end of the day, led me to really mull around this idea of “perfection” a little bit more and examine our need to make our lives look perfect in this secondary world.

What I see is that this notion of perfection is silently killing our true spirit and authenticity.  Our online world only encourages it.

Wanting, seeking, constant perfection makes us do all sorts of crazy things.  

How about we lose this need for perfection and reconnect with the need to be authentic and the desire to share our truest, most beautiful self?

To Do: Divin’ Deep Workshop with Grace

Divin' Deep Workshop with Grace

Grace’s Divin’ deep workshop is suitable for beginners and experienced yogis who would like to (re)learn and refine the essentials of the practice! This workshop will focus on the foundations of your yoga practice:

~ Pranayama – Finding your breath
~ Asana practice – 108 minutes of learning how to find the best poses for your own body, in
each stage of your life
~ Alignment breakdown – Proper alignment is essential in developing a safe and long term
practice. We will look more in depth at the most commonly practiced postures and learn how
to make the poses work for your own body
~ Discussion – open forum!

We’ll explore how to work with our breath in Sun Salutations, create strength in standing poses, and develop greater flexibility in simple twists, forward bends, and backbends – without tension, struggle or pain. With the understanding that there is no “perfect” pose, we will explore how to fit the postures into our bodies, instead of the other way around. We will also explore yoga’s intangibles and how this practice can help us stay calm, centered and balanced in our daily lives.

Throughout this workshop, we will learn in a nurturing and safe environment, how to motivate ourselves to find our own satisfying, personal and ever-evolving practice.

Workshop hosted at TruYoga Santa Monica – http://www.truyogala.com

Space IS limited! Sign up early to ensure your spot. Email Noelle@trifitla.com

Fun: Crayola

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My Inspire Series called for these goodies that arrived in the mail today. Who knew Crayola could be so much fun?!

Daily inspiration will be written/drawn/doodled throughout the house on windows/glass/mirrors in an effort to keep inspiration eye level and accessible.

Little daily reminders, big changes.

Change the state of your mind, change your Life.

Inspiration: Found in a book

Waking up, I take a moment to grab one of the current books I am reading from my nightstand and pour over a few pages. I do this so my day begins on a positive note with positive, inspiring words of wisdom. It sets the tone of my day and helps me get focused in the right direction. By right direction I mean, GRATITUDE.

It’s easy to be grateful when you have a house over your head, food in the fridge and whatever you need at your fingertips. I couldn’t even begin to imagine another way of living…I’m so grateful for my life, and perhaps even more grateful for the people in it.

May you be rooted in joy today,
My graciousness ooze out of your pores,
May you feel loved and inspired and shine bright. Truly shine.

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Me: The Torch Bearer

First and foremost, Happy Chinese New Year! This year celebrates the year of the Snake. You can read more about it here.

It is the second day of the lunar new year and a full 16 years + a day of my favorite person’s passing. My grandfather was, in a way, someone who held the family together. My grandfather was the man in my life, my role model, and someone who took care of me from the day I was born till the day of his passing on February 10, 1997.

As a child, Chinese New Year was a big deal. It involved days of preparation, with the women in the house prepping and cleaning all the nooks and crannies to insure that as the big day approached, the house, as well as all the food were in order and ready to go. My grandmother was the master dumpling, or aka Jiao-zi maker. My mother was her sous chef. I, with my pigtails, was the sous sous chef. Giant platters of fresh dumplings were hand made from scratch, days before the big celebration, with each dumpling carrying finger imprints from one of the many female helping hands. The family altar was carefully set up, with “seats” for both of my grandparents’ ancestors. One for my grandmother’s family, the Chen’s, and one for my grandfather’s family, the Wang’s, which I fall under. The altar was the focal point of the house. Fish, meat, chicken, platters of whole fruit, dim sum goodies, wine, tea, crackers, cookies…anything to offer our ancestors for 3 days were laid out in grand style on top of a giant festive red cloth that covered the altar table.

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(Our little altar)

Red. It seemed like everything was suddenly cloaked in an auspicious red tone. Incense. The smell of chinese incense filled the house for days on end. It is a fragrance that is still etched deep in my heart and my soul…

My favorite part of Chinese New Year preparations was the final moment where everything was laid out, ready to go and my grandfather would begin counting the incense sticks. 7. 8. The number is foggy to me now. He’d give me 2 or 3 of my own and I’d follow him out into our backyard at dusk, on new year’s eve, mimicking everything he did. We lit our incense sticks with the tops pointing down, so the flames would rise up in an effort to make sure each stick was lit. He kneeled, I kneeled. He raised the incense sticks to the sky, I did the same. He asked for our ancestors to come join us in celebration of Chinese New Years, I muttered the same words under my breath. We would bow 3 times, forehead to earth and then I’d get up with him, giddy with excitement that our ancestors were coming with us back into the house. I would ask him how he knew they were following us and he would ask me if I could see the smoke from the incense. Yes, grandpa, I see the smoke, I would say. He would confirm that those in fact, were our ancestors in smoke form, joining us, ready to feast. I was maybe 6 years old. We did this for many many years…

I loved Chinese New Year. I loved everything it represented: family, hearth, celebration, and the receiving of those awesome little red envelopes filled with money even before I knew what money truly was. It was a time where family reigned king…when young and old came together, 4 generations under one roof…AND it was a time of the year when we each made out like a bandit, hundreds of dollars richer, for simply kow-towing to the elders. Mom would secretly pull us aside and ask us how much we got from this auntie and that uncle, simply so she can make sure to return the same when she gifted their children with their own red envelopes.

As we got older with each year’s passing, the festivities began to shorten in duration. The preparation time began later and later, right up until the day before the new year, and the celebration time also seemingly got cut short. Perhaps it was the natural course for an immigrant family assimilating into Western society that caused these cultural traditions to subside, or perhaps the torch bearers who carried these traditions from the old country into the new country began to age…or perhaps it was a combination of both. Or, maybe it was a combination of us children growing up, having our own social calendars to tend to, and not being so interested in our heritage anymore as we tried to become more and more western in an effort to fit in.

Through the years, traditions began to wane until they were no longer. This made me sad. My grandparents, who were the primary driving force behind these celebrations, simply couldn’t keep up. Both were getting older, and without the excitement from family and extended family, it is tough to keep the traditions going themselves. I can understand that.

Then my grandfather passed away. He was 86 years old. With his passing, almost all of our family and our cultural traditions went along with him to the grave. The only practice that has stayed within the family is the yearly visit to clean his grave on Qingming Jie, and the yearly half hour visit to burn paper and bring food in “celebration” of Chinese New Year.

This is hardly a celebration in my book.

I asked my mom whether or not they set up the family altar this year. She said they haven’t for many, many years. A couple of days ago, the day before Chinese New Year’s eve, I got a sudden wave of nostalgia. Visions of what this special time was in our lives kept flashing page, after page through my mind. I missed those days. I missed my grandfather. I missed the incense. I missed the color red. I missed everything so much that I decided I was going to begin what is to become my own family tradition with my new little family…my husband, myself, and our two little furry kids, Jaxxon and Shiva.

You see, we are a bi-racial couple, married less than a year, trying to find our own footing in what is important to us and what “family” truly means. For me, family is about honoring roots. It is about embracing heritage and celebrating our beautiful cultures blending together. My husband is a gem. At first I felt sheepish, a little embarrassed at what I was going to be setting up in our house. I spent the morning of new year’s eve, bed-head, unbrushed teeth and all, sprawled out at the dining room table, practicing my chinese calligraphy, something my grandfather taught me before I even knew how to hold a pencil. I wanted to calligraphy the name cards of my ancestors, just like what my grandfather used to do, except my calligraphy is a joke. It is an effort of the 6 year old, trapped in this 34 year old’s body, trying to re-create the beautiful words that my grandfather, in his own effortless, magestic way used to create. These name cards are really like giant place cards. Taped to a stick. In my case, it was taped to a chopstick and stuck in a little bowl of rice so the rice can hold the chopstick up with the red paper “name card” taped to it. What was my husband going to think of my crazy rendition of my family altar? How do I explain to him that my ancestors were going to “sit” and “feast” with us, in our living room for three days straight? Would he be grossed out at my plans to lay out a whole fish with the head still firmly attached? And what about the chicken? The whole chicken with the neck and head and the gizzards still intact? Sticky rice gow? Turnip cake? A giant meat steak, blanched only in hot water?

My husband’s pretty great. I married him for good reason. He not only didn’t think it was weird, he fully loved and supported me as I went out on a crazy limb to reclaim my lineage. After I invited the ancestor spirits into our house, he even took part in honoring my ancestors with lighting his own incense, bowing, and paying his respects. It was really cute. Really sweet.

This year, as I resurrect what I think is a dying cultural practice within my generation and move forward as my family’s torch bearer of my ancestral customs and traditions, it makes me proud to embrace my heritage. I hope our future children will also embrace theirs proudly as well. It is what makes us unique and special. I want my family to have strong roots, and I want my children to know where they came from. As a future parent, I believe it is my responsibility to pass on as much as I know, as much as I remember, so my children are firmly anchored in their culture and understand what it means to honor family and traditions.

This year is special…Chinese New Year fell on the day of my Grandfather’s passing…16 years ago yesterday. Happy New Year, Grandpa and happy Chinese New Year to everyone, with a big toast to those born in the year of the Snake!

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