Lunar New Year 2022
Think of healing as being lost and needing to get back on track to get where you were going. Depending on how you address your pain, you may decide to just keep on going in the wrong direction and hope you’ll end up in the right place somehow, if you get lucky. Or, you keep on going because you’re determined to prove you can figure it out and get back in the right direction. But really the easiest thing to do in either case is to get directions from yourself. And in this case, in healing, it’s getting directions from yourself.
Welcome to the Life Lnxx podcast where we encourage women to live their true diversity out loud, in whatever way makes you feel empowered and joyous! Today we highlight transitioning through life to become the person you were born to be. And in that transition, embracing both the fear and the daring it will take to get you there. The fear of letting go, of moving on coupled with the daring of taking that leap of faith to land on that next ledge. What’s the secret behind that? Stepping back and viewing ourselves in a fuzzy light because in that soft frame, that golden light, we no longer see our flaws.
And this is the perfect day to rev ourselves up! Happy February to you on this Groundhog Day and Lunar New Year of 2022! I can’t believe we keep nailing some epic Wednesdays on our episode drops. Now, we’ve gone to press before Punxsutawney Phil has a chance to check his shadow and forecast our pending Spring, so I have no idea yet whether I can pull out my skimpy clothes for an early Spring. I can assure you, though, that today has started the Year of the Tiger, and more specifically, it’s the year of the Water Tiger for the Asian communities throughout the World. Happy Lunar New Year! May it be a kind and joyous one, full of good fortune. The woks of life website, (https://thewoksoflife.com/chinese-year-of-the-tiger/) I do love that; ‘woks’, as in W O K S, describes this year as one to gain strength in after an exhausting last year of the Metal Ox.
Closer to home and continually needed for equity and understanding, February celebrates Black History Month. We need to learn the Black historical origins clear through the future definitive, every day. This month helps consolidate the resources and speakers for this education so take a deep dive, ladies. Discover the brilliance, complexity and compassion of the Black community, in order to learn the true narrative.
So, ready to gain some strength and understanding this year? Thinking you can’t possibly go there after last year’s roller coaster of ups and downs? Sí, se puede, hermosas, se puede! As we go into the third calendar year of Covid unknowns, a transition seems to be occurring, both individually and en masse. I attribute it to Covid itself. It has acted as the great equalizer across the world.
Time to Heal After Traumatic Pandemic
Now, that’s not to say that communities were affected equally. The disparity of medical information and access was brought to the surface. As was the privilege of working from home while others, especially women, lost their jobs due to high cost of child care. Metal Ox, you were a beast! But still, Covid did not care what community you resonated with, what culture you identify with; it found our frailties equally.
So, as we enter this new year, we’ve had lots of time away from distractions to focus on ourselves and decide: Do we actually want the same things as we did 3 years ago? Or, is it time for a change, a transition into another version of ourselves that we may not have acknowledged before?
There are a lot of memes and one liners out there talking about what people chose to do in the shutdown. Anything from get a pet to buy a hot pot to having a child. Some of these might have been on a timeline and some may have been to fill a void caused by the isolation. Regardless, the forced change in our daily lives was exactly what needed to happen for a lot of us.
It gave us time to think outside of our own agendas and feel, empathize, with what others were experiencing, including ourselves. We were blessed by the strength of so many people who shared their struggle out loud. Whether it was doctors and nurses giving us personal insights of their traumatic days or professionals that seemingly were beyond the pandemic yet deeply affected in their own rights. We are forever grateful for making the process of healing public for us to learn from and choose to empathize, rather than shame.
And now, it’s time to heal, intentionally heal, in order to make the next transition in life. If we don’t take a moment to heal, to admit our pain and fear, then we can get trapped in our moment and create a perpetual Groundhog Day – a life lived on pain from the past rather than growing into the unknowns of our future self.
Understanding When You Got Hurt
Let’s take a moment to consider why healing is needed to begin with. After all, we may be in a place of success on our terms; whether it’s a business or career; house or nomadic couch surfing. But how we got here is really important to comprehend, especially the circumstances that occurred when we were perhaps too young to fully understand.
Remember, much of our pain comes from our early days when we accepted what was told to us and based our beliefs and behaviors on it. Then life got spoon-feed to us as we grew from children into adolescence and young adulthood. And we didn’t know to take the time and re-evaluate. During that time, although we may have been following the system, it can become more and more difficult to feel empowered by it. This may have begun the coverup when you felt the need to put on your supersuit and prove to others that you were all that.
This is totally understandable given how the system is set up for competition from a very young age. It is really difficult to stay true to yourself when you are being evaluated on how well you fit into this system. Do you remember what it first felt like when you were told you didn’t fit in? Yooow. Super painful. After that moment, do you remember what you did next?
Typically, there are 2 ways this could have played out: either, you accepted the concept from others and continued living under the belief that you didn’t fit in or weren’t good enough. Or, you doubled down to prove others wrong in how they viewed you. Neither of these actions allowed for healing the pain when it was happening. Both of these allow the pain to stay fresh.
Why We Need to Heal to Move Forward
In one situation, we continue to view experiences through the lens that we don’t fit in or we’re not good enough. It’s really easy to fall into this chasm but so difficult to get out of because we don’t realize we think that way. We haven’t stopped and given ourselves enough credit. So with this thought pulsing in our heads, we tend to stay stuck in that arena of pain, and we base our behaviors on that thought. After all, why bother, hoping or wanting more, if we’re not good enough, smart enough for the system. We don’t take the time to reassess and go, wait a minute. That’s not true.
In the other scenario, we cover up the pain with our supersuit and keep it festering under wraps. We are out to prove we are worthy and can compete in a system not meant for our success. All our energy, that could have been used for propelling us on our own path, is used to convince others we belong on theirs. But, that’s not necessarily the right path and so, again, we get diverted from our own journey by trying to downplay the pain.
Both scenarios can get us stuck where we don’t belong, either from believing that we don’t fit in or overdoing it to try to fit in. The time spent in that arena of pain, reliving the original moment that caused the pain, can be applied towards healing instead. Spending time on ourselves, re-evaluating why we feel the pain, can get us back on our true path sooner.
Think of healing as being lost and needing to get back on track to get to where you were going. Depending on how you address your pain, you may decide to just keep on going in the wrong direction and hope you will end up in the right place, somehow, if you get lucky. Or, you keep on going because you are determined to prove you can figure it out and get back in the right direction.
But really, the easiest thing to do in either case is to get directions. And in this case, in healing, it’s getting directions from yourself. Pull over, take some time to figure out where you took a wrong turn, then learn what needs to be done to get back on track. The sooner you are back on track, the sooner you’re excited again about where you are going.
Recognize You Are Changing
Much like today, as we work towards getting beyond this pandemic, taking time to reassess how we got to this point, and where we actually want to be, is invaluable. The practice of pausing, reflecting and assessing whether our actions today are based on covering up our pain of the past or proactively healing that wound, is a life skill. Learning this skill will keep us moving forward with a true identity, rather than being stuck spinning on the past.
We are not meant to be the same version of ourselves over a lifetime. Somehow this gets lost on us, usually by our twenties. Something about adolescence and young adulthood, when the real judgment starts, can send us down that rabbit hole. After all, we were fine with all the crazy life changes up to that point. We lost all our teeth and were so proud of it! May have even gotten some cash from the Tooth Fairy. But, getting acne and curves started a lifelong battle for perfect skin and body, rather than embracing our constantly changing selves.
Each stage of our lives gives us opportunity to get back on track to our true self but first we have to realize we are entering a new stage. Usually, we only do this when big life moments occur, like graduation, or childbirth or a new home. But, if we give ourselves time to think, to re-assess, we realize it’s time for a change, regardless of what’s happening externally.
This transition occurs in so many facets of our lives and it happens so slowly that we tend not to realize it. Then when we do realize how much we have changed, we tend to panic, thinking we weren’t supposed to change at all. But ladies, we are not supposed to be our 25 year old self for 60 years!
Embrace your ever changing self. Learn to transition through life and stay curious about who else you can become. Embrace the excitement of every day you are blessed with getting older. You are getting closer to the highly polished, finished version of yourself. But, it takes some daring. It takes some comfort level with the unknown of what exactly that will play out to be.
Stay Curious About Yourself
So, we have gone through a couple thought processes on learning to love personal transition and growth. First, realizing that often pain from our early years is keeping us stuck in the past and acting on behaviors we established when that pain occurred. Unless we begin to address it through healing, moving on will prove difficult. Second, embracing our ever changing selves as a sign that we are becoming experts on ourselves and with that, a whole lot of happiness and personal success on our own terms.
But, life is tricky and even with this understanding, we may still get stuck on a path that isn’t leading us to our final destination. This may feel frustrating and there is tendency to force ourselves onto the right path. But, here’s where patience comes into play. Luckily, there are other ways of transitioning towards our final version, even if it’s more of a side route on our journey. We can practice patience on the long haul by working on these short goals. This gives opportunity to exercise all our personal traits and keep them moving forward equally.
Sometimes we really don’t have a choice to make a drastic change. It’s too traumatic as this pandemic has shown us. So, we learn to do little ones.
Much of my professional life was based on perseverance and validation rather than real representation of who I am. Although I loved the thrill of creating buildings that will be here for generations to come, I yearned to try something new. I wanted to both prove to myself that I could be successful at something different, something that I had never done before and that it would be based on my true identity.
Cause Your Own Disruption in Life
So, I ran a marathon, at 43. I don’t know what I was thinking but I did it on behalf of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation because the AIDS epidemic had a huge impact on my young professional life. The disease was unknown and raging through the city, when I moved here at 21, and a lot of the professionals I was working with were impacted severely. I was too young. I didn’t know what to do at the time. And at this moment, at 43, I realized I could still contribute.
Running a marathon was never on my life plan. So, I chose this one because it was in Florence, Italy. I figured if I was going to die doing this, I might as well be close to God. But completing it taught me to stay curious about myself and not sell myself short of what was possible. I still had the opportunity to implement small goals, day trips on my journey. It refreshed my outlook, helped refocus myself towards others and taught me that anything was still possible, if I got help from others.
This was new territory for me. So I dropped all expectations for myself and stayed open to embracing the result without judgment. If it weren’t for the great guys in my group, I couldn’t have finished that on my own. That was huge. The experience helped me frame how I was transitioning into the next version of myself.
I was open to try new, crazy things in my life, to see where I stood with myself, but not necessarily alone. And that was a big lesson to learn; one that I don’t think I would have naturally if I just stayed on that engineering path, knowing exactly what I needed to do next.
My friend, who ran with me, made a video of the day, from early start in the morning to the final-final dinner celebration with friends. You can see it on our website, at TheLnxx.com, that’s L N Double X, by clicking through the link in the article, “Life Truly is a Marathon”. Mind you, there are some very shaky moments of running with the camera because this is 2006 and there is no high technology at work here.
Choose how you are going to disrupt your life a bit to test where you are in your personal growth. Try something completely out of your norm so you can’t guarantee success, but you can work towards it. It’s a way of testing your convictions, of experiencing change that wouldn’t typically have been in your life and loving yourself regardless of outcome.
Life Chunks – Mapping Your Next 5 Years
How often have you changed your trajectory on your own, without a disruption? It’s tricky to intentionally cause chaos in our lives unless we have learned to live fully for our true selves; to love ourselves no matter what version is present at any given time. We get too accustomed with our position, our success, our comfort level and stop appreciating that we are still changing. By stopping the process of reassessing, of figuring out who we are and where we’re at in our life, we are growing old in our past again.
Instead, make the transition when you are in that state of confidence and in charge of your situation. And, if you are still putting out the fires of struggle, then for sure, take a moment to reassess what you really want in life. Envision yourself in 5 years. What does that look like to you? Don’t go skimpy on the details, girl. Get into it and lay out all the wants.
I say 5 years because that’s really a common timeframe to instigate change from start to finish. By the time you come up with an idea, learn about how to make it come to fruition and then begin the process, it probably will take 5 years for it to take on a life of its own. I call those 5 years ‘Life Chunks’.
Life Chunks are easily digestible changes that you can make in life to keep your life based on your true self. Five years can readily be envisioned so you have more chance at success in achieving your goal. And yet, so much can happen in five years that it can seem like a lifetime. And really, it is because it can take you from a place of frustration – like needing validation, or trying to fit in, or overcome a barrier, to pure happiness of transitioning closer to your true self. If you do it every 5 years, you won’t be wandering off in the wrong direction for too long and coming back to where you should be, to your true self, to where your journey is supposed to lead you, will be so much easier.
So, what’s your next Life Chunk look like? What do you want to be doing and how will you make it happen? I will give you another hint. It’s not based on how much money you have or how comfortable you are in life. It’s reassessing what version of yourself you are living now versus the version you want to be in 5 years. If you don’t want change, then you are growing old in your past.
Make This a Year of Transition
So, whether you are already in a place of transition or hesitating to make one, this seems to be a great year to gain strength and vivacity and apply them in growing towards the woman you are supposed to be. What will you do this year to further your growth towards your true self?
For me, as much as I want to move on from engineering, I do want to have an engineering podcast. I’d call it, ‘That Should Fall Down’. If any of you have already heard me present at your companies or events, you know it’s my favorite topic. I love telling the public all the ways that buildings can collapse and why you want to pay top dollar for a structural engineer. Trying to go cheap on the engineer is like going cheap on your brain surgeon… really? Wouldn’t you rather go cheap on the head scarf, after the fact?
What will you do differently to let go of expectations and take that daring leap into the unknown to embrace your truth? Going back to how we started today, take yourself off society’s competitive track and check how you would reframe your life based on your true self. What would you do differently if you weren’t afraid of being judged by others?
Check how life is naturally changing you and learn to embrace it, ladies. This is your signature, your unique identity that separates you and at the same time, gives others a chance to embrace you for who you truly are.
We would love to see how you’re embracing the ever changing you, so tag us on Instagram or Facebook @LifeLnxx. So grateful you are here with us every week and learning to grow towards each other and keep our human touch.
Step into your truth, ladies! Ciao!