Love at first touch

Advance manual storytelling 04: Love at first touch

Treya’s life is full of risk. When she was young, when girls were talking about what kinds of boys they found attractive, Treya got interested in a totally different topic: why we are here, what is the purpose of human’s life?

A bicycle trip took Treya to a 3-year spiritual living in Scotland. During that period, Treya read lots of books written by a leading theorist in transpersonal psychology, named Ken Wilber. She always remembers liking the picture on the back of one book, it showed an elegant looking, shaving-headed man with glasses – an intense, concentrated look, the background is a solid wall of books. She would never imagine how her life would lay out for her in the next few years.

Treya went back to Colorado after 3-year truth seeking journey in Scotland. In the summer of 1983, Treya went to the annual transpersonal psychology conference and heard that Ken was there. Treya saw Ken from a distance for a few times, it was very hard to miss a six-foot-four and bald slim guy, surrounded by fans.  Another time, Treya saw Ken sprawled by himself on a couch, looking lonely. Treya did not talk to ken in the conference. She didn’t think much for having a connection with Ken, actually, she thought she would never get married in her life. Because in Treya’s past dating experiences with men, the sweet ones weren’t brilliant and the brilliant ones were definitely not sweet. She always wants both.

Some weeks later, a friend called her and invited she to have a dinner with Ken. This first meeting is unusual. They two barely had a chance to say hello, when two of their common friends began to bring up some very deep problems in their relationship. Ken was asked to be therapist for the night. The next three hours were spent dealing with their issues. Treya could tell that this wasn’t exactly how Ken had wanted to spend the night. But he stayed present on working with the deep and difficult issues in their relationship.

During the therapy process, Treya didn’t get a chance to talk to Ken. most of the time, Treya tried to get used to his shaved head, which was very distracting to most of people. Treya loved the way he looked from the front, but the side view…well that would take some getting used to. At one point during the break, they all went into the kitchen for some tea. They just said hi to each other, without even had a formal conversation, Ken, surprisingly, put his arm around Treya. Treya felt a little uncomfortable since she hardly knew him, but magically, a strong power made Treya slowly put her arm around him. and something moved Treya closed her eyes. Something indescribable happened at that moment – A warmth, a kind of merging, a sense of fitting together, of blending, of being completely one. Treya did not know how long the hug lasted, but when she opened her eyes, her girl friend was looking straight at her with a mystical smile.

What had just happened? Treya asked herself. She felt that she belonged in some almost transcendental sense in Ken’s arms. It had nothing to do with how many words they two had shared. When Treya finally left at 4 am, Ken held her again before she got in her car. “I was surprised. I felt like he never wanted to let you go.” That was just how Treya felt. But she did not respond to Ken’s words. Just to make sure it is clear, they had not slept together. They had not even talked beyond five words, they had simply put their arms around each other. Treya got back home and lay in bed, she could still feel subtle energy currents running through her body. That is love at first touch.

 

After the first touch, Treya convinced herself not to put too much expectations on Ken. Treya and Ken didn’t see each other for a week. He went to LA and when he came back, they had our first real date. They never once talked about marriage, it seemed unnecessary to either of them. It seems to both of them, they were already married. And all that was required was to let people know about it. It was simply going to be. Two weeks of that first meeting, Ken asked Treya to marry him. Treya said “yes, and if you don’t ask me, I am gonna ask you”. They got married.

That evening they went for some quiet time alone to a little cabin in the forest. The cabin blends so naturally into its surroundings. They stayed alone in front of the fire place. Fire blazing against the cool night, the electricity in the house was not working. “Right there, in your right shoulder” Treya said, “can you see it?” “see what?” “Death, it’s right there, on your right shoulder. But I don’t know what it means.”

A few months later, right before they scheduled their honeymoon trip, Treya was diagnosed breast cancer. She would never know she only had five year life living with Ken. This couple spent the next five years fighting against Treya’s cancer. In the winter of 1988, Treya decided to die peacefully. At her last night, Ken hugged her and told her “If it is time to go, then it’s time to go. Don’t worry. I found you before, I promise I will find you again”.

“Punishment is not a punishment, death is not a failure, life is not a reward.”- Treya

Please refer to Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber, by Ken Wilber.

 

 

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My grandpa’s Near death experience

Advanced manual storytelling 02

My grandpa was a very timid guy. When he was about 25 year old, right after he got married with my grandma, his father sent him to the army, to train him to become a stronger and better man. After he joined the Chinese red army, he was assigned to serve at Vietnam war. He served in the army for about one year, got involved with small and big warfare with American army. everything is going intense, many of his fellowmen died in the field. One day, his company of troop got involved fighting with American army in a highland occupation in a village. American army threw bombs one by one from the air, my grandpa hided himself in a deep ditch with three of his fellowmen. He didn’t know how many bombs were thrown from the above. He was too afraid to move himself. Suddenly, one bomb landed right in front of the ditch he stayed in. he saw blood coming out of his fellow soldiers’ heads, arms and legs. He cannot feel his own body and he cannot move himself at all. The air was filled with strong smell of rotting flesh. He thought he was going to die soon.

 

His mind is flying away from his body, flying higher and higher. His mind is watching him from the above. His body is down there surrounded by hundreds of his fellow dead soldiers. His mind seems to be functioning in a hyper-lucid fashion. He feels fully alive, everything happened to him in his 25-year-life come back to his mind in a reverse chronological order. A timid guy was sent to the red army by his dad; his beautiful daughter was born in a hot summer; he was dating a woman sitting under a big tree and chatting; he was dating another woman under the same big tree and chatting; he went to a high school and being shy back in the classroom, staying quiet all the time…

 

As the life occasions go back to his mind, his attention is drawn to a black hole; he found himself moving through this black hole-without a body but with a strong sense of motion, this blackness is gradually becoming black a tunnel. As he approaches the end of the tunnel, he becomes aware of a pinpoint of light. This light quickly grows bigger and brighter and becomes more effulgent. It is an extremely brilliant light-golden white-but it absolutely does not hurt his eyes at all. As he moves closer to the light, he feels a sense of pure love, penetrating to the very core of his being. He is in total immersion in this light. All time stops; this timid soldier feel he is home again in the light.

 

In the midst of the timeless love, my grandpa becomes aware of a kind of presence. It is not a person, but it is a being of some kind. the presence informs you that you must make a decision whether to remain in the black tunnel or to go back to his body surrounded by his dead fellow soldiers. He does not want to go back to the dead body, he wants to stay in the love, seeing his life occasions simultaneously with those sharp images, everything that has ever happened to him in his life. There is no sense of judgment of himself. As this patterned fabric of your life unravels before you, he grasps the essential meaning of his life and he feels this true self, who does not care about how other people see him, either a shy guy or a timid soldier.

 

Suddenly his body and mind come together, to the real world. The reality is he was still alive, surrounded by dead bodies. The American airforce flied away. At the end of the day, all soldier bodies were shipped to another area. My grandpa pretended as a dead soldier and stayed with the cluster of bodies overnight. In the next morning, he ran away as fast as he could from the deadly quiet village and got his way back home.

 

He realized this is the most profound thing that has ever happened to him. He feels he started to understand his life, life will never again be the same. He wished he could talk to somebody about it, but who could understand, it was hard for a shy guy to find words adequate to describe it. But, I, as his granddaughter who was born 30 years later, feel his sensation when he was dying two years ago. I wasn’t with him physically, but mentally I have a feeling of extreme peace, pure silence and tremendous well-being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dance I cannot say no to

Advanced speech manual- humorous speech 04

Anna is a 30 white girl with brown long curling hair and rock-hard abs, arms and legs which appear to go on forever. She glides across the floor and lifts a hand up to the pole. Walking slowly around the pole, Anna then brings both feet off the floor, straightens her legs, points her toes, and spins gracefully through the air, her brown long hair flowing behind her. Bringing both feet back to the floor, she rises slowly back to standing, her hips and chest out, both her fancy bikini, beautiful face, both her arms and legs sparkle under the spotlight.

Anna then invites us to try the same move on the pole. As the song blasts out, I hold the pole tightly, I lift my feet off the floor, and try to spin with the strength of my arms, if I have, my palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there are friction on my thighs already. I am so nervous but on the surface, I look calm and ready to rock the whole move. I jump down the pole, and I hold it again, jumping up, and squeeze my legs on the pole, try to spin my body, this is my sequence, but my thighs bruise, my knees slam into the floor causing even more bruise of my knees, and my ego.

As a second round came, Anna wiggle her hips, walking seductively around the pole putting her long brown hair on one side of her shoulder, touch through her hair and smoothly runs her hands down over her chest and down to inner thigh. And then give a sexy look to herself through the front mirror. Oh that second move, I guess, is not that hard for me, at least not that hard for my arms and thighs. She then invites us to combine the first spinning move with the second sexy move together, with our own creativity. She said whatever you feel comfortable with, go for it! But I am not that comfortable with the spinning move, for the seductive move part, I am okay with it. I tried the same move as Anna did, at the end of my move, I looked at myself through the mirror, I was not stripping at that moment, but I felt some stripping part from my inside. I not only realized I have never worked on some parts of my body, but also realized I have never brought out some part of my inner self.

That was my fist try of pole dancing in my life, I was desperate to learn how to do it after that try. When I talk to people I do pole dancing, there is always a kind of laughter, or a joke. But for me, Physically, pole dancing is a form of dance or fitness exercise. It demands upon your body in ways that you never imagine. People are doing things that considered as workout when you are doing them on the ground. But you are doing them up on the air, suspending your weight, holding yourself up there and spinning you body like you are on the ground. Your whole body is engaged, your legs, your arms, your core. After the first class, every tiny part of my body, even those parts I cannot name, those parts I don’t even know I have, ache. They are like ache forever.

Pole dancing of course, it is feminine. the female body, in that form, doing those specific positions, spinning in the air, wear very less clothing, because you cannot wear long pants and sleeves to get hold on the pole, sometimes high heels, you cannot say that it is not erotic. but think about it, a bellarine is doing the same thing as a pole dancer, they are moving their body, opening up their legs, spring and spin on their legs. there is even a pole involved, the difference is that the pole is horizontal. Whether you are trying it for fitness or you’re attracted to the sexy side of pole dancing, the beauty of it is that you can take from what you want.

Pole dancing could be a very empowering movement for me. We do not need to dance naked on the pole, but we, both males and females, can live naked in our passion, naked in our power, naked in our heart. This “naked” against to the “twisting and hiding” on the inside. It is against others’ judgmental thoughts or your self-criticism brought on by a society that curbs the enthusiasm, the truth, the value for life. I am concluding my talk with my friend cassie’s remark, when you girls or guys do pole dancing, you are gonna definitely attract more people. If so! Great! I have found a new motivation for pole dancing. But I am actually concluding it with Erin Hanson’s poetry to all of you: “there is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask “what if I fall?” oh but my darling, what if you fly?“

I am a poet

Advanced speech manual- humorous speech

01 I am a poet. delivered in May 2 2016

I have dreamed of becoming a poet for a long time. it is not easy. I know that. So, before giving a little insight of the poetic side of me, you first have to understand my father.

he did electricity maintenance of our old apartment, he made wood fans himself, he went against my grandfather. He is always being harsh and tough all the time. I refer my childhood as my military service. In the late summer of my 3 year old day, it was a hot and humid day in south of China, as everyday in my hometown is. And my father said, you get go to school, little girl, (point to myself). Kindergarten? How fun it is! that is where the little and big boys were, that is where all toys were, you can get whatever stuffs you wanna get there, if you are good at crying and screaming. Yes, girl, you are gonna go to your dreaming Kindergarten, excited?  Yes, yes, of course!! I immediately dressed myself up with my favorite pink tutu, I was prepared hardly to go to meet my first boyfriend in my life. You can imagine how joyful I was.

“Get out there, girl, you are gonna go to school by yourself. Mom, you cannot bring her to her school, she has to go there by herself. “we lived four blocks away from the Kindergarten. “no, no , I am not gonna go there by myself, dad, that’s crazy, I have never walk on the street by myself”, but actually I said that in my head. what I really said was “yes, sir.” Because it’s not easy, that why I should do that, and do that hardly.

My mom did follow me to the Kindergarten during my first year. But I did not know that she hided and followed me for a whole year to protect me without my father’s agreement, but she did. That is what I have learned when I was three years old, do everything scares you, you will survive and thrive.

My father did read and wrote novels a lot, as he told me. Who knows it is true or not. But I do have the impression that writers and poets are cool and independent, like the way my father raised me. So, two weeks ago I did a brave thing, writing my first poet in a late night with an intense anger after I got a discriminative criticism from a friend of mine, as well as a rejection from a journal editor. Now I will do a more brave thing, that is to read out my first poem to you, as I did when I was three years old, going to the school by myself.

In the old days

In the old days, I was able to capture trivial things like scrapped paper with my camera

In the old days, I joked with strangers’ new hair style and short skirt

In the old days, nothing needs to be done at the end of the day

Now I am grown up to a busy and tired man

I have no time noticing sprouts outside of my window

I have no time listening to people’s small stories

I have no time taking care of things without a deadline

Everything fleets into a path without an end

I even have no time for worries, anxieties and depressions

One of the greatest things about writing poetry is that you are never too young or too old to express your feelings and emotions, if you are brave enough. Whether you are experiencing the wild highs first dating in high school, whether you are a child with intense fear to go to school by yourself, or whether you are experiencing your lowest moment in your life, through poetry you can capture what it means to love, feel fully alive, and be human.

 

Speech 09 – Are you still using group brainstorming

You have probably participated in the group brainstorming session, in your company, school or community. Let’s recall the last time of your face-to-face group brainstorming or meeting. Does this sound familiar? A unthoughtful or manipulative facilitator, a few dominant contributors (sometimes with many nonsenses), and the rest of the group: mind-wandering people. The donut tastes good with this tea, am I gonna buy that pairs of shoes? What I am gonna have for my lunch?

Fellow toastmasters and honor guests, today I want to persuade you skip group or committee brainstorming meetings, and work alone with good efficiency and creativity!

Group brainstorming is considered as one of the most effective ways of producing creative ideas. We’ve been led to believe its magic. If you’re trying to generate ideas, whether in a community, a school, a start-up, you’ve probably participated in a group brainstorming session. Thank you, Alex Osborn, the founding partner of an advertising agency, for creating the concept of group brainstorming. He thought his employees weren’t creative enough. They had good ideas but were afraid of sharing and were afraid of being judged by their colleagues. So Osborn came up with a solution. He suggested people to create a process in which group members generate ideas in a non-judgmental atmosphere. He believed that group minus social judgments can create more and better ideas than employees working in solitude.

However, as Susan Cain wrote in her book, Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, “group brainstorming doesn’t actually work”. In 1963, in one of the first studies done on group brainstorming, Marvin Dunnette — a psychology professor at The University of Minnesota — conducted a study where groups of 4 people each were given a problem to brainstorm while an individual was given a similar problem to brainstorm on his or her own. The results were shocking. The individual working solo produced more ideas of equal or higher quality than 23 out of the 24 groups. Over the next 40 years, the research consistently showed the same results, even when the people in the group are all extroverts. Performance gets worse as group size increases.

Why is it that people come up with more and better ideas when they work on problems alone? Consider your last brainstorming session. You may have noticed that, by and large, the majority of the ideas came from the more extroverted members of the team. Brainstorming sessions tend to exclude the potential contributions of an entire population of the problem-solvers who happen to be more introverted. And for those who do participate, there are still limitations to express. Studies show that many participants of a brainstorming session either consciously or subconsciously feel pressured to go along with the dominant idea or pattern of thinking. This psychological tendency, called collaborative fixation, inherently leads to conformity of ideas and reduces the possibility of original solutions.

According to my own experiences, I have recently run a mental health committee with another co-chair and serve at several different research committees in the university. I have the passion to integrate my experiences and skills to help my peers, contribute to the community, and make some changes on campus. However, after several meetings in this semester, I have found that group meetings waste huge amounts of time, passion, talent, and creativity. The group meetings are always dominated by a few people in the group. As an introvert and English as second language people, I sometimes feel frustrated. Same as the rest of the group. Therefore I made a decision last weekend, that I am gonna wash as many committees and group meetings as possible out of my life. And I am gonna stick with prolific individual working or two-person thinking sessions, in order to still contribute to the things that I care about. No matter you are an introvert or extrovert person, I promise you that you work more efficiently and creatively when you work alone. So I encourage you skip group or committee brainstorming meetings, and work alone with good efficiency and creativity!

 

some ideas and inspirations come from Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking

Speech 10 – A movement from self-criticism to self-compassion to self-care

In my early to middle 20s, I criticized myself a lot. Waking up in the morning, I felt like “I didn’t get enough sleep”. Looking at my mirror, I felt like “I am not fit enough”. When I studied, I felt like “I didn’t spend enough time to study today”. “I don’t have enough knowledge and capacity to finish it perfectly”. After a conversation, I kept thinking “why I said that to my classmate, I should not have said that to my friend”. When I had a date, I thought about “what can I do to make him like me more”. At the end of each day, I felt like “I haven’t made much progress today.” Everyday, I have been thinking about what I haven’t completed. I lived with this scarcity in every not-enough day. At the same time, I thought self-criticism was the only way to push myself move forward and to be perfect.

It was also during that time, I finished my master degree and I got my first job, working as a lecturer in a college. I felt extremely lucky to have that stable job and to satisfy my parent’s expectations. I had a great sense of security which came from being a part of the proper pattern for a young lady in Chinese culture. The only problem was that after a couple years of working, I became very unhappy. I just did not seem to fit with my colleagues, the repetitive teaching, the social life, the entire environment. However, there seemed nothing to do other than to try my best to fit more comfortably into that pattern. So I tried for 3-4 years. Finally, I could not sleep well and got into a mild depression. It was the depression made me realize that self-criticism did not really work out eventually.

I started to reflect my thoughts, my work, and my life. Why everyone seems to fit into the environment, but I can’t? My inner voice told me I have to quit that stable job, and change my lifestyle. My parent said to me, you are crazy to throw away that good and stable job. If I returned to the job, I would be returning to all that was safe, secure, right, and proper. Yet it was not me. In the depth of my true self, I know it was not my path. Although what lay ahead at me was unknown, insecure, unpredictable, I decided to be myself. At the day I decided to take my destiny into my own hands, I started to learn English and apply for my phd program in the united states.

Self-compassion is so important; we should let go of who we think we are supposed to be and to embrace who we are. This is the lesson I have learned in my late 20s. However, even if I have realized the importance of self-compassion, I still have a long way to go. It needs so much efforts and practices.

Last semester, I took a meditation class and wanted to practice self-care. My mind encourages me to turn into the self-compassion mode, but my behavior mode did not. I still kept myself very busy everyday. Taking three courses, teaching one, working on two research projects, writing two papers, serving at three committees, in one semester. I put too much on my plate due to my scarcity and insecurity, which are deeply rooted from my self-criticism of being not enough. In the meditation class, due to my busy schedule, I made a mistake, I copied a paragraph from the Internet for a book review assignment. The instructor reported my plagiarism behavior.

Then, I fell into the old pattern of self-criticism. I criticized myself again. Why it happened to me? I have worked so hard on my work, and study. Why I cannot be perfect on everything I have done? Suddenly, I realized that the self-care mode does not entrench in my mind and behavior. It was this crisis made me realize there is too much to do and too little time for self-care, when I am exhausted and overwhelmed.

I am imperfect, I can make mistakes, suffering happens to all of us. Imperfection is a part of the human nature. But we usually criticize to ourselves, when we face difficulties or have done something wrong. Considering when our friends share their difficulties and struggles to us, we usually try to comfort, soothe, and support them. Why it changes when it comes to ourselves? We should practice to be a good friend to ourselves, like we treat our close friends. We should be warm and understanding to ourselves when we suffer or fail. The greatest thing is that we are here 24/7 to ourselves and give ourselves care, compassion, and love.

“You are a beautiful and beloved individual, it is good to be you, we will love you no matter what you do, as long as you are you.” This is what we would hear from our beloved ones, like our parents. Let’s say this to ourselves. Let’s own this self-love, self-care and self-compassion; only in this way, can we love others from our hearts.

some contents integrated from Brene Brown’s The Gift of Imperfection, M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled, and Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion research.