This past Sunday, I completed my two-year intensive leadership program. I must admit it was a little anti-climactic, but I’m happy to be done and I’m starting to settle in for a couple of low-production weeks (most of my time will be – and already has been – dedicated to laying in bed).
As I’m starting to find my personal equilibrium again (though gradually), I thought a productive use of this space might be to share some of the “inspiring, uplifting, or informative” videos I’ve been watching and what I’ve been getting from them.
If I have any massive breakthroughs or “aha” moments I will be sure to share those with you too, of course, though I’m embracing more and more that healing (healing of the mind, the body, past trauma, etc.) can be a gradual thing.
I’m all for miracles, and I’ve already experienced many in the last 23 days, but I am also surrendered to the sometimes-necessary journey to recovery.
Habits of the Rich
This was bar none the best video I watched recently:
In it, Ralph Smart shares five (six) habits of the rich, which are as follows:
The rich create twice as much as they consume. They focus on service and giving back, not on the money. This was my favorite insight, but that probably doesn’t surprise you. After all, I love making things.
The rich don’t keep all their money in the bank. They invest in themselves, in tools, in real estate, and so on. I continue to invest heavily in myself, but after watching this video, I also feel like I have permission to invest more in my passions.
The rich prioritize their health. They prioritize their health so they can spend more time creating wealth. This has literally been my top priority in the last month or more.
The rich associate with movers and shakers. They surround themselves with people who can help them, especially mentors and teachers. Thanks to the previously leadership program, more than ever, I am surrounded by successful people, willing collaborators, and loving mentors.
The rich are lifelong learners. They always want to learn more. They realize that one insight can take them to the next level. And wouldn’t you know it, I learned something from this video!
The rich work smart. And they even work on the weekends. They are willing to put in the time to become masters of their craft. I have not yet found a way to do this in a healthy, sustainable way, but I’m open to learning.
So, I know we’re only 18 days into this 90-day experiment, but I felt like it was time to hit the “reset” button on the entire thing.
No, I’m not starting over, but I felt like I was getting off track a bit. So, for my sake, and yours, I’ve decided to revisit the intention of the experiment while addressing relevant questions and concerns.
Here’s what’s up:
What Happened to You?
In a word, burnout.
I was in denial of this fact because I worked very hard this past year to avoid burnout.
But as they say, whatever you resist persists. Avoiding is a form of resistance.
The goal should have been to be healthy and to be healthier. There’s no resistance there.
I can’t deny that the leadership program, along with a punishing work schedule, has taken its toll on me physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically this past year.
Has it been worth it? Yes. Because I feel I have uncovered what has been at the root of agoraphobia and anxiety all this time. I realized the other day anxiety came knocking at my door because there was something much deeper waiting to be dug up – childhood trauma.
That’s the good news. The bad news is I did not know that digging up the trauma would mean opening Pandora’s Box. I’ve experienced headaches, physical and emotional exhaustion, depression and anxiety, and many shades of grey in between.
But at this point, I am closer to the end of the tunnel than the beginning. Most days I still feel like being a hermit, but I’ve been around people a lot as of late, and it has mostly lifted my spirits.
What is This Experiment About?
It’s about recognizing that everything we read, listen to, or watch has an impact on our lives. Therefore, choosing our inputs is critical.
The experiment is also about love. In this burnout, I have come to a point of surrender I don’t think I ever have before. Achievements no longer matter to me. Attaining wealth and material things matters less and less.
What matters is love. Loving myself, my past, others, and the Universe or God.
As I focus on love, the discoveries, opportunities, and blessings keep coming, seemingly without effort. But I am not seeking those things.
I am also not “doing” the experiment perfectly, but I keep having new cognitions. So, it has been worth the time and effort, and I’m going to keep it going.
I suppose the experiment is not about doing at all, though, and rather about being. In that sense, I am doing it exactly as designed.
What Are You Working on?
So, you might assume that I’m not working on anything right now, or that I’m avoiding work completely.
Trust me, that is tempting…
But it has been my experience that ironically, you need “burnout projects” to get yourself out of burnout.
So, here are the key things that are keeping my mind occupied:
Clean Slate: The event has yet to be announced in an official capacity, but we’ve laid much of the groundwork, and we are currently tracking down a viable venue for the New Year live music and multi-media event.
A new composition: I have been working on this since September. It has been taking a while because of burnout, as well as the fact that it’s one of the more sophisticated pieces of music I’ve worked on in a while.
Comedy writing: I can’t say too much right now, but I am preparing some comedic video content for Clean Slate.
A joint venture: I have a new product in the works in the domain of skincare / aromatherapy.
I am very gratified that my various creative passions are finding expression.
Why Are You Not Getting Back to Me? You Hatin’ on Me, Bro?
I’ve had very little willpower / emotional resilience, making the whole “depression and anxiety” piece hard to predict and manage. At times, one little disturbing thought could send me down a spiral that would force me to meditate to reset.
I know it may seem like I’m okay and I’m still doing stuff, but I think my work quality and output have suffered some because of this entire ordeal.
I’m still trying to put my best foot forward, though, and I apologize to anyone who has been impacted. My priority now is to get the rest I need to get back to my former self.
I’m not trying to ignore your email, but in the world of priorities, unfortunately, I can’t place it any higher right now.
Besides the above-mentioned projects, I am mostly going with the flow. I have learned a very important lesson about being and not just doing, and as counterintuitive as it feels sometimes, I plan to lean into that.
Doing too much can impact my health and well-being. Being has helped me connect with more people, uncover new opportunities, find opportunities to unplug and enjoy life, and importantly, spend less time at the computer (which is why it feels counterintuitive).
I feel closer to God, or Spirit, or Universe, or whatever is out there. It has been responding to me, and miracles have amazingly become commonplace. I plan to follow the leadings and the promptings of the divine that has seen to it that I find my equilibrium again.
The weekend was eventful, at least to the extent that documenting the experience day to day would have been impractical.
It has been a couple of days since my last update, so, let me get you caught up.
The Universe is the Very Expression of Love
This is what came to me in my sleep the other night. I can’t think of the exact words or even the extent or depth of the revelation. What I discovered is that the Universe’s only expression is love. As much as we like to entertain the notion that we are living in duality, the Universe does not know anything other than love.
How to apply this? I don’t know. But if we can accept that everything that’s happening is happening for us, we’ll move into alignment with the love that’s ever-present.
I started this experiment with the intention of loving (myself, my past, others, and God) and found the ultimate source of love, which is beyond compare.
A Good Shove
Like a professional basketball player who just finished rehab and is reluctant to return to the court, I’ve been reluctant to embrace social outings again.
But I went to the acknowledgment party for my leadership program Saturday night, and though I thought it would only make me feel worse, it made me feel better. I ended up becoming the life of the party, without ever trying to.
Some people also had timely messages for me.
On Sunday, I followed through on the short film festival I was planning to attend. For the first time in a while, I felt good about going out. I arrived at the venue early (before the doors opened), and even found the perfect parking spot without effort.
As more and more people started showing up at the venue, I felt as though I would be swallowed up in the energy, but I managed to tune it out. As the films started playing, I felt a little overstimulated at first, but the feelings were mostly temporary and nowhere near as bad as they once were.
I was introduced to one film director and ended up meeting another. The friend that I joined for the evening also told me he might be able to use some of my music in his current project.
Other opportunities kept showing up as well – potential clients, opportunities to promote a forthcoming product, networking opportunities, and more.
I am very grateful for the community right now.
The Tapping Solution
I woke up feeling “just okay.” I was pretty sure that the social outings from the weekend had tired me out. So, after feeding the dog, I decided to meditate. My meditation was interrupted by a phone call, but I still got about 20 minutes in.
I still wasn’t feeling that much better. So, I turned to tapping again.
My TFT efforts have mostly been limited to tapping sequences for depression. Today I tried a sequence for anxiety and was blown away by the results. I felt better almost instantaneously, and I even got my energy back. This is what I’d heard TFT could offer, but I almost couldn’t believe it when it happened to me.
I am convinced at this point that this experiment has taken on a life on its own, and in some ways, it has become more about documenting the journey than doing or not doing anything specific. It’s as if the Universe has been bringing everything to me, and I get to respond.
Love has been showing up. And a shift in perspective, from yesterday, means I get to notice all the ways love is already here.
Here’s what else showed up for me today:
2 Steps Forward…
I had a good day yesterday. It wasn’t all smooth going, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s one of the better days I’ve had in a while.
Alas, I ended up waking up in the middle of the night feeling a little out of sorts.
I prayed for mischievous and malicious spirits to leave, as I felt led by the spirit. Fear eventually left and was replaced by a sense of calm and peace in the pit of my stomach.
Don’t ask me how the spirit realm works. I just know that it does.
Getting back to sleep didn’t pan out but either way, today still turned out to be a good day. Not all smooth going, but productive.
I’ve noticed more and more that he likes to hang out wherever I am in the house.
It could be that he’s a little less depressed in the absence of his owners. It could also be that it’s taken me a while to notice his tendencies.
Either way, he’s a wonderful, healing companion to have around.
I’ve got two outings lined up for the weekend – one for tomorrow, and one for Sunday.
Tomorrow’s gathering will be the equivalent of a house party, so I think I should be okay.
The Sunday outing could be a different story, as it will be at the playhouse. It sounds like it should be a fun event, though, and if I do need to back out, I’ll only be out $30.
While I have been taking baby steps, I haven’t exactly been feeling like coming out of the cave. But I know I need to emerge eventually, and the Sunday outing could be connected to opportunity.
There have already been plenty of blessings and surprises on this journey, but today may have been one of the most uplifting.
Here’s what happened:
Conversation with Year-Two Leader
Yesterday I mentioned that I would be having a conversation with the year-two leader of my two-year intensive leadership program.
We had a conversation about some of the things I’ve recently uncovered about myself, especially while growing up in Japan.
There was a situation with an abusive social studies teacher / basketball coach when I was in Jr. High, specifically an instance where my dad decided to confront him. One day, we were scheduled for a conversation at the principal’s office, and the principal, the teacher in question, my dad, my sister, and I were all present.
What I didn’t realize is what I made this event mean. I made it mean that I didn’t matter and that I should get out of there.
What the leader helped me understand is that everyone present was showing me the highest form of love they could show.
My dad – wanted to ensure my safety
My sister – didn’t want me to suffer
The principal – showed up to listen
The teacher – engaged in the conversation
This was earth-shattering stuff for me. I feel this conversation helped me fulfill my intention to love myself, others, and God or the Universe more in a significant way.
I don’t know why. But meeting with people in person has ranked high on the “irrational fear” charts as of late.
Today, I was tasked with serving a customer who was going to come to my door to pick up her product.
I wasn’t super wary of the interaction, but I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it either.
Ultimately, the interaction ended up going much smoother than expected, which encouraged me in a big way.
I had my weekly team meeting to discuss my forthcoming January event, and this ended up lifting my spirits as well. I’m starting to regain some sense of normalcy, though I still feel exhausted.
I knew that there would be stumbles on this journey. I suppose the experiment is not about being perfect, but rather about noticing when I’m lured in by fluffy entertainment or temptation.
Based on some earlier discoveries, I am allowing myself to watch tame comedy movies now, so that’s not a stumble.
The stumbles are more concerning the “temptation” side of things. I’ve managed to keep these to brief detours, and I’ve avoided porn sites generally, but in the category of “stuff that turns me on” I’m not doing perfectly.
Encouragingly, I feel like I am developing a lot of patience by continuing in this experiment.