The Art of Chill

So I got frustrated last night typing up a long project and basically clipped my fake nails off that I’ve had on since the day before my wedding. I’ll be back here with some long posts.
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First, I want to talk about the importance of being chill. I feel like there is magic in chilling the fuck out. Try it.
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Let go of the things you can’t control and watch it work out how it should and not how you want it.
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I know if you’ve never tried to chill out, it might feel challenging…violent almost…but at the end of that discomfort is a gold mine of deep breaths, relaxed shoulders, and the appreciation for incarnating on this planet, in this lifetime, and in that beautiful body of yours.
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While I was planning my wedding and up until I was about to walk down the aisle, people kept commenting on how I seem way too relaxed for someone who was about to get married. How am I not freaking out that I still don’t have the food reserved? Or I don’t have my songs planned out? Or the seating chart isn’t printed yet? How am I making jokes right now?
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I think it boils down to trust. I put a lot of trust in people. Not just anyone – I have carefully curated people in my life that I love and trust. These folks live with integrity, are dependable, and loyal to their loved ones.

And when I can’t do something, I ask for their help. It took me a couple of decades to learn to ask for help so I understand the challenge.

For my wedding, I trusted the experts in their field. I remember being asked what song I wanted to walk down the aisle to. I HAD NO IDEA. So I asked the DJ to surprise me.
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I walked down the aisle to Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole’s version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. It’s the ukelele version. It was beautiful. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

I notice when I authentically put my trust in others, I feel this sense of duty from them. Like people are so happy that I fully believe in the successful execution of their craft that they do all they can to make it so. It could just be my imagination.
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AND…we also messed up: the officiant was late, the DJ read the names out of order, there were some hiccups during the ceremony that resulted in people snickering here and there.
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And you know what? It worked out. The wedding is over, the food was good, the music was popping, people enjoyed themselves.
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I even believe these minuscule issues MADE the wedding more memorable for me.
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It’s amazing there’s an actual show about bridezillas. I’ve never watched it but did they even enjoy their very important and special milestone because they HAD to have everything the way they wanted it?

I woke up like this

Also regarding trust. I know for people who aren’t spiritually inclined, they might roll their eyes…but I have a lot of trust in the Universe or God or energy…fill in the blanks. I do the work required of me and then I put it out there and let it go.
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There is no use in breathing down the neck of this intention watching it unfold. I’ve done all I can, now all I have to do is wait for it to come to fruition. If it doesn’t, it’s back to the drawing board to try something new.
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Attachment and control brings suffering. When you’re too attached to an outcome, it hurts more if it doesn’t work out. When we rise and fall with our wins and losses, it becomes energetically exhausting.
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When you need things done exactly the way you want it but this universe is chaotic, unpredictable, and sovereign…you are in for a lifetime of disappointment.
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So since we all have to live in this dimension, might as well enjoy the chaos, right?
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Don’t be afraid to work on it. Distracting yourself trying to fix others when you haven’t put much effort on yourself is not beneficial. Don’t put your healing on the back burner.
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When we put our healing first – all the stuff we want to control and all the things that make us incredibly uncomfortable become less of a nuisance and more of a thing that just happens because the world just happens. Like a flower blooming or lightning crashing. It just is.
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Don’t be afraid to use tools to help you learn the art of chilling. Download meditation apps, use task managers, take CBD oil, follow social media accounts of folks who champion these ideas.
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If stress actually makes us sick, imagine what being chill can do?
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Stoicism.

How To Create Lasting Change

When we’re looking to make a change within ourselves and our habits, creating structures, using tools, and executing TANGIBLE actions towards these desires are necessary.
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What’s a structure? A structure is a framework we erect to support a desired outcome.
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For example, an individual may want to improve their physical health by diet and exercise. A structure they put up can be their gym bag placed in front of the front door so they are reminded to bring it with them when they leave the house.
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What old structures would need to be demolished? Perhaps canceling their subscription on their monthly snack box is something they can consider. Removing the candy bowl from their work desk. Etc.
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At work, we have to create yearly goals that contribute to the improvement of our groups and teams. They do this by having us write S.M.A.R.T goals. I’m sure if you’ve worked in a corporate setting, you’ve heard of this before.
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Let’s use anger as an example. When you want to change the way you react to situations, simply just reminding yourself not to be angry when a heated situation occurs is futile.
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If we put this through a SMART goal template it can look like this:
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“I will improve my reactions to heated situations in three month’s time so that I can heal my relationships with friends and family while increasing my emotional intelligence.
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My success will be measured by the calm way I speak in situations that would normally anger me in the past”.
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Here is a suggested list of tangible actions one can take to become less angry:
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1. Write a list of anger triggers and review how often those triggers come up for you.

Even putting this list up in a place where you can see it can be a structure you erect that can gently remind you to be aware of your emotions.

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2. Create a self-care morning routine.

I have noticed a vast improvement within myself because I have worked towards waking up early enough to give myself an hour for self-care.
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Number 4 and 5 of this list are two of the things I do EVERY morning in order to create new connections in my brain.

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3. Re-parent yourself.
Let me remind you, there is a HUGE difference between self-care and pampering. Self-care is not always bubble baths and puppy cuddles.
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Self-care is parenting yourself. Imagine you are providing care for a child who is always exhausted, angry, irritable, and needs loving discipline.
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This child will need a parent who will create structure in their life:
a. Teach them to sleep at a reasonable time so they wake up refreshed.
b. Minimize their screen time.
c. Provide them with nutritious meals because their gut health is important to their mental health.
d. Showing them healthy boundaries.
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4. Meditation
I know a lot of people who read this will probably groan and say they don’t know how to meditate or they suck at it.
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A lot of people get discouraged when they make efforts to meditate because they think “meditating right” looks like this:

But this is what it looks like for ME:

Sorry for the iStock logo. Lol, the title of this is “Frustrated Asian Businessman With Closed Eyes Stock Photo”

The purpose of sitting in meditation is so you can face all the loud chatter in your mind and then observe them without judgment. Then you can work on bringing your mind to stillness. Then you’ll slip into loud chatter again. Then you kindly bring your mind to stillness. Rinse. Repeat.

5. Journaling.

Journaling has been such a monumental tool for my growth.
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These are the prompts I’ve written which I use for journaling:
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a. Five things I’m grateful for
b. One trait that my future self will have.
c. Today I will get past my mind by…
d. My affirmation of the day.
e. What an I do today to align with my future self?
f. What stretch opportunity can I take to challenge myself?
g. Today I am proud of myself for…
h. What is one unnecessary thing I can unplug my energy from so I can bring bring that power back to myself?
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6. Exercise
Of course we know the huge benefits of exercise and moving the body. It relieves stress, releases pent up energy, good for our hearts, etc.
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7. Answer this question: what kind of structures would need to be erected or demolished for someone who wants to be less angry?
For my morning routine structure, I’ve placed my meditation pillow on the side of my bed and my journal and pen on my nightstand. I also set an alarm at 9 pm so I can start winding down for the night.
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Some structure suggestions: writing affirmations and placing them randomly around the house, setting alarms throughout the day for an emotion or body check, etc.
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8. Be consistent
Start small. Work your way up. Challenge yourself every day. Make sure that you make small changes that are different from yesterday. TANGIBLE is key.

How To Gain Confidence And Start Believing In Yourself

1. Do one thing EVERY SINGLE DAY to instill that spark of discipline.

It could be making your bed, writing three things you are grateful for, or doing 30 push ups. The key is not to skip ANY DAYS. So make sure you start small and work your way up to avoid burn out.

Establishing healthy routines is one way to show up for ourselves.
Routine builds trust. Trust in ourselves is key to building self-confidence.

2. If you skip a day, do not be hard on yourself. Shame can be an addictive emotion. It makes us feel bad and prevent us from making changes.

Have you ever had that friend or loved one who’s always apologizing for their mistakes but never making any adjustments to their actions? That’s that shame addiction in play.

They authentically feel bad for messing up but they’re stuck in the habit loop of messing up, beating themselves up, and feeling too unworthy and useless to create lasting change.

Shame takes up so much of our mental and emotional energies that we PHYSICALLY feel tired and heavy from experiencing it.

Accept that it was done and make sure you utilize tools which will remind you to be accountable. This could be an alarm, a sticky note, or anchoring.

3. What’s anchoring?

Anchoring is the act of using something unrelated to the thing you want to accomplish as a tool to remind you.

For example, I want to do 30 push ups everyday.

I brush my teeth EVERY MORNING.

I will anchor the 30 push ups to the act of brushing my teeth by IMMEDIATELY doing 30 push ups after brushing my teeth.

Leaving a note on the mirror will remind me to do so.

4. Say goodbye to self-deprecation.

Yeah, it’s hilarious and we get a bunch of likes when we talk about how much we suck. The added benefit is the camaraderie of others who feel the same way.

But it’s shaping our realities. Our thoughts are prayers. Our words are spells.

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning, experience, or following injury. This could be positive or negative.

If we constantly talk down or make demeaning jokes about ourselves, we are forming synaptic connections around self-deprecation.

If we constantly build ourselves up and coach ourselves through challenges, we are forming synaptic connections around self-confidence.

Let’s form new synaptic connections in our brains enabling us to improve our thoughts, actions, and emotions. It’s possible.

Take inventory of your inner voice. What do they sound like? If that voice was a friend, would you consider this friend supportive or abusive?

5. Accept that most of the things which are good for us aren’t always going to make our hearts sing, bring us great joy, or are even remotely fun.

Planning for the week sucks. Saving money is blah. Meditation is boring. Cooking at home takes up so much of my Netflix and art time.

Fuck it.

Growth happens in our discomfort zones.

When we begin to benefit from the work, our minds shift. It becomes sort of a game of how much yucky “unfun” stuff we can do so we can reap the biggest rewards.

How does planning benefit us?
We procrastinate less so we feel less anxious. Less anxiety mean more peace of mind, energy, and time to actually do the cool shit we’ve been wanting to do.

How does saving money benefit us?
We can finally go on that trip we’ve been dreaming about, buy that new laptop for our projects, pay off a student loan.

Etc.

How does the opposite of those things currently benefit us right now?

If it has no benefits, then it means we’re just expending energy, money, and time on habits we don’t even really care for. Habits can be changed.

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Thank you for being here with me. I love you and hope your 2019 is full of expansion, abundance, and self-mastery.

How To Create Major Change By Starting Small

In his book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life On Earth, Colonel AND Astronaut Chris Hadfield describes the mindset shift that occurred when he first watched the race to the moon.

He was still a child as he watched the countdown and rocket launch on his black and white television with his family but it inspired him to make the conscious decision to become an astronaut someday.

Chris Hadfield’s book

At ten years old, he knew he was still too young to study or train for space travel so he did the next best thing: he created habits which would pave the way to his goals.

He asked himself: “What can I do RIGHT NOW so I can become an astronaut when I’m an adult?”

He knew that astronauts had to be disciplined so he made his bed every morning, did his chores before his mother asked, and kept his room tidy.

He knew that astronauts had to be healthy and agile so he stopped eating junk food, slept earlier, and exercised at home.

He knew that astronauts had to pass a series of physical, mental, and academic tests so he focused on his studies, limited his distractions, and read plenty of science and space books.

He was TEN. At ten years old, I didn’t even have the self-awareness to think about goals.

It’s never too late to start. There is always room and time for improvement.

Human action is just a collection of habits we’ve formed over the years. Most of the things we do are just habit loops.

We wake up, brush our teeth, drive to work, stay there for 8 or so hours, drive back home, catch up on our shows, eat dinner, sleep. Of course a few things happen in between and then we repeat.

Most of the things we do in our day are autopilot tasks. For example, have you ever driven home from work without even remembering the drive? That’s a habit loop.

When I used to think about transformation and making changes, it felt daunting as hell. This was because I was looking at it from a big picture perspective. It was difficult to see how I could get to the end goal when I couldn’t even muster the motivation or discipline to get started.

The Tao Te Ching says:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

Motivation is a paradox. In order to cultivate the motivation for the thing we don’t want to do, we have to do the thing we don’t want to do.

It can be done!

How to start where you are RIGHT NOW:

  1. Write a list of goals.
    Writing will help solidify what we really want. Creating a list will also give us a visual of our priorities.
    Sometimes we THINK we want something but upon taking inventory, we might change our minds.
    If you can’t think of goals, visualize an ideal version of yourself.
    What are they doing? What do they look like? What kind of stuff are they enjoying in this vision?
    Just because you don’t know what you want just yet, doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements.
  2. Make sure one goal doesn’t contradict or get in the way of another.
    If one of your goals is to spend more time with your family but then another goal is to land a career where you travel all the time, then you wouldn’t be able to spend quality time with your loved ones like you wanted.
  3. Cultivate awareness.
    Awareness is necessary in order for us to break habit loops. Often, we do things without making the CONSCIOUS decision to do them.
    For example, smokers often reach for their pack of cigarettes as soon as they get outside, turn on their vehicle, or after they finish eating.
    People often turn their TVs on as soon as they change out of their work clothes because that’s how it was yesterday and the day before.
    How do you cultivate awareness?
    a. Journaling EVERY DAY.
    b. Meditation.
    c. Observing the present moment – Observe the color of your coworker’s jacket, the way a flower moves in the breeze, the sound of the old door in your study, etc.
    d. Ask yourself deep questions and answer them – Google “deep questions to ask yourself” if you are feeling stuck on this.
  4. Make conscious decisions in order to break the habit loops.
    If your goal is to lose weight but you have a habit loop of buying a danish every morning for breakfast, then adjusting just that ONE decision is a step closer to your goal.
    If your goal is to quit smoking but you have a habit loop of lighting up as soon as you get outside, making the decision not to grab the pack as soon as you walk out the door is a step closer to your goal.
    If your goal is to have less emotional reactions to things you can’t control but you have a habit loop of creating scenarios in your mind before something happens, making the decision to take deep breaths and allowing life to unfold as it should is a step closer to your goal.
  5. Arm yourself with tools.
    Can we build a table without a hammer? Can we complete a painting without paint? Would we be able to write a research paper without internet or books?
    I mean…honestly, we PROBABLY can…but it’s going to be REAL difficult.
    Without tools, quitting will be EXTREMELY enticing.
    So what kind of tools am I talking about?
    Here are some tools that I have found effective:
    a. My Affirmations – an app on Android
    I’m sure Apple has something similar.
    I have placed this widget on my home screen and every day, it gives me a new affirmation. You can even customize affirmations based on a specific category (ie health, abundance, self-esteem, happiness, etc)
    b. Audible and YouTube

    Take advantage of the time you sit in traffic and listen to audio books and videos that would inspire or help shift your mindset.
    I even put these on when I’m cooking, making art, or doing mundane tasks like cleaning.
    c. Sticky notes
    I wrote a bunch of mantras once and gave them all to my fiance so he could stick them up randomly around the house. That way, I had no expectations of where they would be and it helps get the message to my subconscious.
    d. An alarm
    I used to have this alarm that would go off at 12 pm ( after lunch) and it was titled, “Remember, no dessert”.
    e. Google
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    Fill your senses with reminders, notifications, and messages holding you accountable so you can stay on the trajectory.
  6. Be gentle with yourself.
    Often when we don’t see immediate results, our brain convinces us that we’re wasting our time and it’s not working. And we believe it and go back to our old habits.
    Be patient. Transformation takes time. Change is a bunch of little steps combined.
    We’ll have bad days and fall off the wagon. Get back on, that’s it.
    Just because you couldn’t help yourself and had dessert with a friend, doesn’t mean “you screwed up” and it’s all over.
  7. Don’t allow shame inside.
    Shame is an addictive and stressful emotion.
    During a stress response, our adrenal glands release epinephrine.
    Constant subjection to shame, stress, and anxiety can become adrenaline (epinephrine) addiction.
    And just like most addictions, long term exposure to these vices will have severe effects on our bodies.
    Shame creates unsavory habit loops.
  8. Take action that will lead towards the best version of yourself and not how you were yesterday.
    *****This is just a short list of things we can do to take the small steps – ultimately leading to our destination.