Archive for July, 2009

Cleansing Your Power Center

July 30, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Gut feelings earn their name from the place in the body where they make themselves known. A pang in your gut when you may be doing the wrong thing, or a vibrant zing when your body approves, can guide you reliably at times when logic fails. Sometimes, when logic prevails, we ignore our gut and live to regret it, understanding later that a rational approach is only one way of determining what is going on in a situation and how we should react.

Our gut resides in the neighborhood of our solar plexus and the third chakra just above your belly button. When it is functioning well, we can trust its guidance and adjust our actions accordingly. Many of us have a tendency to hold in this area of our bodies. We may take shallow breaths that never reach this vital nexus that is the source of our empowerment. It is in this place that we find the courage to act, to reach out into the world and create change. When our power center is out of balance, we are timid and out of sync, wishing we had said something we were only able to phrase later when we were alone; wishing we had acted on an opportunity we didn’t see until it was past.

In order to utilize your power center, you may want to focus your attention on it more regularly and make time to care for it. You can begin right now by taking a deep breath into your belly. On the exhale, pull your navel in toward your spine so as to empty out completely before taking another deep breath into your belly. When you empty completely, you release stagnant energy and create more space to be filled with fresh, nourishing breath. The more you practice this simple, cleansing exercise, the more clear and communicative your gut feelings will be and the more comfortable you will feel acting on them.


Letting Your Light Shine

July 28, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

We are each born into this world with unique gifts. Within us is a glimmer of the divine, a light that can potentially make the world a more beautiful place. But in many, that light lies dormant, snuffed out by fears and feelings of inadequacy. To spark it is to attract attention, face the possibility of rejection or the responsibility of success, and risk being labeled immodest. Yet when we undermine the light by hiding our aptitudes and quashing our dreams, we deny ourselves and others a wealth of experiences. Your abilities are a part of who you are and when you take pride in them, you affirm the love, esteem, and trust with which you view yourself. Moreover, as you express the light within, you grant others permission to do the same, freeing them to explore their own talents.

For some, we are taught to hide our light from the world since childhood. Relatives caution us that the professions associated with our aptitudes are unattainable. Our peers may be envious of our skills and thus overly critical of the activities we instinctively enjoy. And authority figures admonish us to be humble and avoid showing off. But there is a vast chasm that separates those who let their light shine and those who seek only to draw attention to themselves. When you dare to share your light with the world, the beauty and perfection of your soul become clearly visible. You become a whole being—the literal embodiment of your vast potential. Whether you are a wonderful dancer, a first-rate cook, quick with numbers, or a natural negotiator, you’ll come to understand that you do the world no favors when you hold yourself back.

If you have hidden your light for so long that it has shrunk to an ember, make a list of everything you do well, however impractical, silly, or seemingly inconsequential. Then ask yourself how you can positively utilize those abilities in your daily life. The gifts you were born with were not granted to you arbitrarily. While you may never discover what impact your light has had on others, you can be certain that when you embrace your talents and share them with others, you will spread illumination in the world.

Lesson from a chili seller

July 27, 2009
生活中的智慧可以被寫成書,但你不能簡單地照著書上寫的智慧去生活, 因為生活只能是鮮活而靈動的。 不要在智慧中夾雜著傲慢,不要使謙虛缺乏智慧。

[from an email]




我一天沒事,就站在一個賣辣椒婦女的三輪車旁,看她是怎樣解決這個二律背反難題的。 (more…)

How About a BEcation?

July 25, 2009

Forget Vacations and Staycations: How About a BEcation?
Posted by Isha, an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and author.

The vacation. The high point of the year, the oasis of freedom in a desert of routine. Vacations make the monotony of the mundane more bearable, shining a light on the horizon we can look forward to.

We imagine our perfect week of bliss. The white sand. The transparent ocean. The freedom to do nothing at all.

Often when we go on vacations, we get more stressed than normal, preparing everything, making sure everything and everyone is organized. Taking the children, packing the suitcases, leaving the house and the dog in good hands. Then, after the stress of travel, and checking in to the hotel, we set about sight seeing. In reality, we often do the same thing we do in our normal routine: we fill our days with activities, the pace doesn’t really go down at all. When we return home, we need another vacation just to rest from the vacation!

In times of vacations and staycations, I propose a new concept: a BEcation. What we really need is time to be. Time to listen to ourselves, to disconnect from the constant doing of daily life, and find the time to do nothing at all. We are usually so busy that we have lost touch with our inner voice, we have forgotten what we really want.

How do you have a becation? By taking some time just to be with yourself. To go inwards and listen. To feel whatever might come up, be it peace and joy, or anxiety and insecurity. Being with yourself naturally makes you more conscious. Being present in the moment, silently observing what is happening in your surroundings, brings greater clarity into your life. It helps you dissociate from the chaotic thoughts based in fear and criticism that so often dominate our decisions. It helps you discern between the fears of the mind and the truth of the heart. It helps you get your priorities in order.

Why not make your next vacation a becation? You spend so much time doing, can’t you spare a few days just for yourself?

Working with a Larger Energy

July 24, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

The expression going with the flow is a metaphor that applies to navigating a river. When we go with the flow, we follow the current of the river rather than push against it. People who go with the flow may be interpreted as lazy or passive, but to truly go with the flow requires awareness, presence, and the ability to blend one’s own energy with the prevailing energy. Going with the flow doesn’t mean we toss our oars into the water and kick back in the boat, hoping for the best. Going with the flow means we let go of our individual agenda and notice the play of energy all around us. We tap into that energy and flow with it, which gets us going where we need to go a whole lot faster than resistance will.

Going with the flow doesn’t mean that we don’t know where we’re going; it means that we are open to multiple ways of getting there. We are also open to changing our destination, clinging more to the essence of our goal than to the particulars. We acknowledge that letting go and modifying our plans is part of the process. Going with the flow means that we are aware of an energy that is larger than our small selves and we are open to working with it, not against it.

Many of us are afraid of going with the flow because we don’t trust that we will get where we want to go if we do. This causes us to cling to plans that aren’t working, stick to routes that are obstructed, and obsess over relationships that aren’t fulfilling. When you find yourself stuck in these kinds of patterns, do yourself a favor and open to the flow of what is rather than resisting it. Trust that the big river of your life has a plan for you and let it carry you onward. Throw overboard those things that are weighing you down. Be open to revising your maps. Take a deep breath and move into the current.

Receiving a Gift with Grace

July 23, 2009

[ From DailyOM]

Many of us find it difficult to accept compliments but easy to believe the slightest criticism. Today, right now, let’s make a choice to fully accept compliments as we would a gift. Sincere compliments are gifts of praise. They are kudos given for wise choices or accomplishments or perhaps for just letting your light shine. There is no reason not to accept the gift of a kind word, but some of us argue against them, even giving reasons why they aren’t true.

If we visualize the energy of a compliment, we would see beautiful, shining, positive energy being sent from the giver. That energy, if accepted graciously, would brighten our personal energy field. Our gratitude then returns to the giver as warm, fuzzy, glowing energy, completing an even circuit of good feelings. But if we reject a compliment, what could have been a beautiful exchange becomes awkward and uncomfortable, making it a negative experience instead. Misplaced modesty can ruin the joy of sharing this connection with another person. But we can accept a compliment and still be modest by simply saying “thank you.” However, if compliments are rejected due to a lack of self-esteem, then the first step would be to start believing good things about yourself. Try giving yourself compliments in the mirror. Beyond the initial feelings of silliness, you will notice how good it feels and can watch the smile it puts on your face. The next step would be to see how it feels to give compliments to others. Notice how great you feel when you’ve made another person’s face brighten and how differently you feel when the gift you’ve offered is rejected. Having experienced all sides, you will be ready to play along fully and willingly.

We are our harshest critics. When we accept compliments, we are reminded that others see us through different eyes. All living beings crave positive attention, and we all deserve to have positive energy shared with us. Perhaps if we happily and gratefully accept compliments, we will give others permission to do so as well.

What Not to Say to Someone With Cancer

July 22, 2009


I saw this article on Care2 and thought you’d like it as well.

— Melanie Haiken

Experts caution that when caring for someone with cancer, there are six things friends or family often say–in an attempt to be sympathetic, supportive, or encouraging — that can have just the opposite consequence: shutting down communication and making the person with cancer feel worse. Psychiatrist Jeffrey Knajdl, director of psycho-oncology services at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, points to these six common sayings to avoid, along with suggestions for what to say instead:

1. “Everything is going to be all right.” You have no way of knowing if it will be or not, says Knajdl, and such a statement ends up sounding like an empty platitude — plus you establish a sense of mistrust. “It doesn’t make the person feel better,” says Knajdl, “because he knows it’s not true and it just makes him feel dismissed and not heard.”

What to say instead: What the person really wants to hear is that you’re going to be there for him through the good times and the bad, and that he’s not going to go through cancer treatment alone. There will be days when it does feel like everything’s going to be all right, and you’ll be there to celebrate that with him, but there will be days when discouraging test results come in or he’s in pain — and you’ll be there for that, too. “When you talk to patients, their two big fears are that they won’t make it through treatment, and that they’ll be alone and in pain,” says Knajdl. “Just keep telling the person that you’ll be there with him and you’ll make it through this together.”

2. “I know how you feel.” This is almost an automatic response for many of us when someone is sad or upset. We say it out of the best of intentions, to demonstrate our compassion, our sympathy, our sense of having been there. The problem is, it has the unintended effect of shutting the other person down, says Knajdl. “When you say, ‘I know how you feel,’ the unspoken second part of the thought is, ‘and therefore you don’t have to go into any detail about it,’” Knajdl says. “It increases the patient’s sense of isolation, because it’s like telling him you don’t want him to talk about it.” Unless you’ve been treated for the same type of cancer and have undergone exactly the same treatment, you really don’t know how the person feels. “We have no idea what it’s like, and it’s upsetting to the patient when we act like we do,” says Knajdl.

What to say instead: A better approach, according to Knajdl, is to ask something like, “How are your mood and spirits holding up through this?” If the person you’re concerned about is anxious or sad, this gives him a chance to tell you how he feels, which can be a big relief to someone who’s trying to pretend he’s doing just fine. And even if he answers that he’s holding up pretty well, he’ll still feel better that you asked.

3. “Try to keep a positive attitude, relax, and avoid stress. It can help you heal.” Cancer patients hear endless variations on this “mind over body” theme. There are going to be days when a patient doesn’t feel positive at all, and you certainly don’t want him worrying that he’s sabotaging his own chances of recovery. And what if he has a stressful job, or is a type A personality who reacts easily to stress — do you want him feeling guilty or worrying that his high-strung personality or tendency toward anxiety either “caused” or will worsen his cancer? Unfortunately, an awful lot of the literature conveys, in one way or another, the underlying message to cancer patients that they may have “caused” cancer through stress, worry, or a negative attitude, and that they could heal the cancer if they’d only develop a mellow outlook or sunny disposition. All that really happens is that they feel even more anxious about trying not to be anxious, or they feel guilty for not feeling happy. Even some visualization techniques can make cancer patients feel a sense of defeat, Knajdl says, if the focus is on healing but healing doesn’t seem to be happening.

What to say instead: Suggest specific solutions. When your loved one is tense or anxious, ask him to identify what’s stressing him out and how you can help him put the worries to rest. In other words, instead of saying “relax,” help him relax by eradicating the stress trigger. For example, try refocusing any visualization he’s doing toward a concrete and reasonably accessible goal, such as comfort or sleep. Instead of trying to visualize eradicating a tumor, suggest that he visualize falling into a deep sleep in a quiet, safe, pleasant place. Sometimes you can help eradicate stress with a concrete act of assistance. Knajdl remembers one patient who was very anxious in the hospital because he felt he hadn’t put his financial house in order. His son brought all the documents to the hospital, and they took care of them one by one.

4. “We can beat this.” In our rush to be supportive, it’s all too easy to fall back on such encouraging and inspirational messages. But they can give cancer patients a deep-seated feeling of failure. “I call this the Lance Armstrong syndrome, this idea that if you have the right fighting spirit you can overcome disease,” says Knajdl. “I admire Armstrong and he’s done great things to publicize cancer, but this idea that people can triumph over cancer with will power and an upbeat attitude is just crazy. There are all sorts of factors that contribute to why some people recover and some don’t. The truth is, some people just get lucky.” This problem tends to come up with cancer survivors in particular, who may believe very deeply that their attitude, philosophy, spiritual focus, or belief in healing helped them survive. And sometimes hearing such stories can make other patients feel hopeful and optimistic. But if things aren’t going well — if a scary test result has just come in, if chemo’s side effects are almost unbearable, if your loved one is facing the fact that his cancer may not be curable — then hearing others’ tales of triumph may not be helpful.

What to say instead: The best way to help your loved one feel positive and hopeful is to just keep reassuring him that you’re in this together, and that you’ll keep caring for him and supporting him and making him as comfortable as possible during his treatment.

5. “Now, now, don’t get yourself all worked up.” Your loved one is scared, angry, or in tears, and you want him to feel better. But unfortunately, a statement like this makes it sound as if you want him to put his feelings, which are natural and unavoidable, under wraps. “In this situation, it’s okay to get worked up, and it’s okay to vent,” says Knajdl. “We have this fear of feelings getting out of control. But sometimes a patient needs opportunities to cry or get angry or get upset, and if you can help him express these feelings and get them out, in the end he’ll feel better.”

What to say instead: If you don’t know what to say, it’s okay not to say anything at all, Knajdl says. Just offer the comfort of your presence, a hug, or an arm around the shoulders. Allowing some silence without rushing to fill it gives the person a chance to say what’s on his mind in his own time. Perhaps he’s afraid of pain, afraid of letting you down, or frustrated by feeling incapacitated by his illness. “One patient surprised his son by saying, ‘I feel frustrated lying here in the hospital because I feel like I’m wasting my time,’” Knajdl says. “It turned out he was actually upset that he didn’t have his legal affairs in order. The son responded by saying, ‘Would you like me to get a lawyer to come in so we can take care of that?’ That made his father feel much better.”

6. “Congratulations, you’re done with chemo [or radiation].” As a friend or family member, you’ll feel thrilled when treatment is finished, but the patient’s feelings are likely to be much more mixed. During treatment, he’s taking action. That can be empowering because the focus is on a solution, either a cure or progress in pushing back the cancer. When treatment is finished, it can feel like there’s nothing more for him to do but wait, and naturally he may feel anxious and uncertain. “Often, people don’t feel like celebrating. Instead they think, ‘Now what do I do? Just wait for the cancer to come back?’” says Knajdl. No matter how relieved you are, try to keep it to yourself. “It’s really common to say something like, ‘Boy, am I glad that’s over,’ but that implies two things: that the treatment has been a burden on you, and that you want your loved one to be happy about it when maybe he’s not feeling happy,” Knajdl says.

 What to say instead: Give the person a chance to express how he’s feeling. Try asking an open-ended question, such as, “How are you feeling now that we’re finishing up the chemo?” This way, you allow him to control the response. He might say, “I know we were talking about throwing a party when I finished chemo, but I really don’t feel like it.” The bottom line is, whatever he’s feeling is okay, and your job is to make it clear you’re ready to listen.

Allowing Others To Walk Their Paths

July 17, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Watching a loved one or a peer traverse a path littered with stumbling blocks can be immensely painful. We instinctively want to guide them toward a safer track and share with them the wisdom we have acquired through experience. Yet all human beings have the right to carve their own paths without being unduly influenced by outside interference. To deny them that right is to deny them enlightenment, as true insight cannot be conveyed in lectures. Rather, each individual must earn independence and illumination by making decisions and reflecting upon the consequences of each choice. In allowing others to walk their paths freely, you honor their right to express their humanity in whatever way they see fit. Though you may not agree with or identify with their choices, understand that each person must learn in their own way and at their own pace.

The events and circumstances that shape our lives are unique because each of us is unique. What touches one person deeply may do nothing more than irritate or confound another. Therefore, each of us is drawn to different paths—the paths that will have the most profound effects on our personal evolution. If you feel compelled to intervene when watching another human being make their way slowly and painfully down a difficult path, try to empathize with their need to grow autonomous and make their own way in the world. Should this person ask for your aid, give it freely. You can even tell them about your path or offer advice in a conscious loving way. Otherwise, give them the space they need to make their own mistakes, to enjoy the fruits of their labors, to revel in their triumphs, and to discover their own truths.

The temptation to direct the paths of others is a creature of many origins. Overactive egos can convince us that ours is the one true path or awaken a craving for control within us. But each person is entitled to seek out their path leading from the darkness into the light. When we celebrate those paths and encourage the people navigating them, we not only enjoy the privilege of watching others grow—we also reinforce our dedication to diversity, independence, and individuality.

Alive in Joy

July 17, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

There are scores of people in the world who seem to be magnets for calamity. They live their lives jumping from one difficult to the next, surrounded by unstable individuals. Some believe themselves victims of fate and decry a universe they regard as malevolent. Others view their chaotic circumstances as just punishments for some failing within. Yet, in truth, neither group has been fated or consigned to suffer. They are likely unconsciously drawing drama into their lives, attracting catastrophe through their choices, attitudes, and patterns of thought. Drama, however disastrous, can be exciting and stimulating. But the thrill of pandemonium eventually begins to frustrate the soul and drain the energy of all who embrace it. To halt this process, we must understand the root of our drama addiction, be aware of our reactions, and be willing to accept that a serene, joyful life need not be a boring one.

Many people, so used to living in the dramatic world they create, feel uncomfortable when confronted with the prospect of a lifetime of peace and contentment. The drama in their lives serves multiple purposes. Upset causes excitement, prompting the body to manufacture adrenaline, which produces a pleasurable surge of energy. For those seeking affection in the form of sympathy, drama forms the basis of their identity as a victim. And when drama is familial, many people believe they can avoid abandonment by continuing to play a key role in the established family dynamic. The addiction to drama is fed by the intensity of the feelings evoked during bouts of conflict, periods of uncertainty, and upheaval.

Understanding where the subconscious need for drama stems from is the key to addressing it effectively. Journaling can help you transfer this need from your mind onto a benign piece of paper. After repeated writing sessions, your feelings regarding the mayhem, hurt feelings, and confusion often associated with drama become clear. When you confront your emotional response to drama and the purpose it serves in your life, you can reject it. Each time you consciously choose not to take part in dramatic situations or associate with dramatic people, you create space in your inner being that is filled with a calm and tranquil stillness and becomes an asset in your quest to lead a more centered life.

Exercising Flexibility

July 11, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Flexibility is the capacity to bend without breaking, as well as a continual willingness to change or be changed in order to accommodate new circumstances. People with flexible minds are open to shifting their course when necessary or useful; they are not overly attached to things going the way they had planned. This enables them to take advantage of opportunities that a more rigid person would miss out on. It can also make life a lot more fun. When we are flexible, we allow for situations we could not have planned, and so the world continues to surprise and delight us.

Since reality is in a constant state of flux, it doesn’t make sense to be rigid or to cling to any one idea of what is happening or what is going to happen. We are more in tune with reality when we are flexible. Being in tune enables us to adjust to the external environment and other people as they change and grow. When we are rigid or stuck in our ways, instead of adjusting to the world around us we hunker down, clinging to a concept of reality rather than reality itself. When we do this, we cut ourselves off from life, and we miss out on valuable opportunities, as well as a lot of joy.

Just as we create flexibility in our bodies by stretching physically, we can create limberness in our minds by stretching mentally. Every day we have the opportunity to exercise our flexibility. We can do this in small ways such as taking a different route home from work or changing our exercise routine. On a larger scale, we can rearrange the furniture or redo a room in our house. If these are things we already do regularly, we can stretch our minds by imagining several different possibilities for how the next year will unfold. As we do this, our minds become more supple and open, and when changes come our way, we are able to accommodate and flow with the new reality.

Walking Through

July 10, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

When a door opens, walk through it. Trust that the door has opened for a reason and you have been guided to it. Sometimes we have a tendency to overanalyze or agonize over the decision, but it is quicker to simply go through the door and discover what’s there as that’s the only way to know. Even if it doesn’t seem right at first, opening this door may lead to another door that will take us where we need to go.

Doors open when the time is right for us to enter a new space, metaphorically speaking, and we can have faith that walking through is the right thing to do. Sometimes we linger in the threshold because we are afraid of leaving our old life for a life we know nothing about. We may have voices inside of our heads that try to hold us back or people in our lives saying discouraging things. These voices, internal and external, are known as threshold spirits, and they express all the fears and doubts that arise at the beginning of a new life. Nevertheless, none of these voices can hold us back, and they will fall silent as soon as we cross the threshold.

There are many doors that open in the course of our lives, leading us into new relationships, jobs, friendships, and creative inspirations. Our lives up to this point are the result of all the doors we have walked through, and our continued growth depends on our willingness to keep moving into new spaces. Every time we walk through an open door, we create a sense memory that encourages us to move into the new fearlessly. When we enter the new space, we almost always feel a thrill and a new feeling of confidence, in ourselves and in the universe. We have stepped across the threshold into a new life.

The Changing Nest

July 9, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Once individuals become parents, they are parents forevermore. Their identities change perceptively the moment Mother Nature inaugurates them mom or dad. Yet the role they undertake when they welcome children into their lives is not a fixed one. As children move from one phase of their lives to the next, parental roles change. When these transitions involve a child gaining independence, many parents experience an empty nest feeling. Instead of feeling proud that their children have achieved so much—whether the flight from the nest refers to the first day of kindergarten or the start of college—parents feel they are losing a part of themselves. However, when approached thoughtfully, this new stage of parental life can be an exciting time in which mothers and fathers rediscover themselves and relate to their children in a new way.

As children earn greater levels of independence, their parents often gain unanticipated freedom. Used to being depended upon by and subject to the demands of their children, parents sometimes forget that they are not only mom or dad but also individuals. As the nest empties, parents can alleviate the anxiety and sadness they feel by rediscovering themselves and honoring the immense strides their children have made in life. The simplest way to honor a child undergoing a transition is to allow that child to make decisions and mistakes appropriate to their level of maturity. Freed from the role of disciplinarian, parents of college-age children can befriend their offspring and undertake an advisory position. Those with younger children beginning school or teenagers taking a first job can plan a special day in which they express their pride and explain that they will always be there to offer love and support.

An empty nest can touch other members of the family unit as well. Young people may feel isolated or abandoned when their siblings leave the nest. As this is normal, extra attention can help them feel more secure in their newly less populated home. Spouses with more leisure time on their hands may need to relearn how to be best friends and lovers. Other family members will likely grieve less when they understand the significance of the child’s new phase of life. The more parents both celebrate and honor their children’s life transitions, the less apprehension the children will feel. Parents who embrace their changing nest while still cherishing their offspring can look forward to developing deeper, more mature relationships with them in the future.

Hard Days

July 8, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

We all have days that seem endlessly difficult and hard. On these days, it is as if the odds are stacked against us and we just can’t get a break as one challenging situation follows another. We may feel like we’re standing in the ocean getting hit by wave after wave, never able to get a full breath. Sometimes it’s necessary or worth it to stay in the fray and work our way through. Other times, the best idea is to go home and take the breath we need in order to carry on.

If the only choice is to get through it, a hard day can be a great teacher. It will eventually end and we can look back on it, taking pride in the stamina, courage, and ingenuity it took to hold our ground. We may also look back and see how we could have done things differently. This knowledge will be valuable when we face hard days in the future. Trust your gut as you’re deciding whether to work through it,  and know that sometimes a timely retreat is the best way to ensure a positive outcome. Getting space can remind us that external circumstances are not the whole picture. Once we catch our breath and re-center ourselves, we will be able to determine our next move. With a little perspective, we may even find the inner resources to change our attitude about what’s happening. We may begin to see that what we saw as hardships are actually opportunities. As our attitude changes for the better, our actions and the circumstances will follow suit. 

Sometimes all that’s needed is a good night’s sleep. No one is immune to having a hard day and these are usually the times we can learn the most.  If we can find it in our hearts to examine the day, and maybe make one small change in perception, we can ease our pain and greet the next day that much wiser.

Conscious Decisions

July 7, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Just because an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. However, part of the way that something becomes popular is that many of us don’t take the time to determine what’s right for us; we simply do what most of the people we know are doing. In this way, our decisions about life are made by default, which means they aren’t what we call conscious decisions. There may be many other options available, but we don’t always take the time to explore them. This may be the result of feeling overwhelmed or pressured by family, peers, and humanity at large, to do things their way, the way things have always been done. Regardless of the cause, it is important that, as often as we can, we decide for ourselves what to do with our lives rather than just drift along on the current of popular opinion.

It is not always easy to make decisions that go against the grain. Many people feel threatened when those close to them make choices divergent from the ones they are making. Parents and grandparents may be confused and defensive when we choose to raise our children differently from the way they raised us. Friends may feel abandoned if we decide to change our habits or behavior. Meanwhile, on our side of the fence, it’s easy to feel frustrated and defensive when we feel unsupported and misunderstood simply because we are thinking for ourselves. It can be exhausting to have to explain and re-explain our points of view and our reasons.

This is where gentleness, openness, and tolerance come into play. It helps if we are calmly persistent, consistent, and clear as we communicate to those around us why we are making the choices we are making. At the same time, we have the right to say that we are tired of talking about it and simply need our choices to be respected. Our lives belong to us and so do our decisions. Those who truly love us will stand by us and support our choices, never mind what’s popular.

父親的心事 – 郭彬郁

July 6, 2009

星洲日報/快樂星期天‧報導:張佩莉 ‧2009.06.21