Outside vs. Inside

Whenever I’m out and encounter a rude person or someone who is mean, I’m never mean back to them. I always display kindness and acceptance to my greatest ability. That is because I understand that the encounters I have with people on the outside are very short and limited. That encounter may be the only one I ever have with them my whole entire life. And it is my one and only chance to show kindness to them, before they are off again, never to be seen. I also keep in mind that they may be having a terrible day, maybe even the worst day of their life. We never know what others are going through at any given moment. Life is so unpredictable and often hurl difficulties our way. So I try to keep that in mind while interacting with these grumpy and unpleasant passersby on the outside.

However, when the people who are close to me, like my family or relatives, are mean to me and consistently trespass their boundaries, I am quick to stand up for myself and put them back in their place. Their oppressiveness and controllingness have no room in my life. These relationships are long term and can impact me directly in a very deep and profound way. That is why I watch their actions like a hawk. If they are bound to injure or hurt me, then I need to protect my spirit like a dear mother protects her child. No one, in long lasting relationships, should ever be abused, trampled on or mistreated. No one should ever act as a doormat to another. There is never an excuse for that. Those who are guilty of performing such atrocious acts should be given consequences and shown that that is absolutely not allowed or tolerated. And it is up to deliver that message.

A Word About Empaths & Narcissists

After I came back from the hospital, I developed quite a bite for those who treat me unfairly or unreasonably. This is very unlike me. Before, I would just accept anything that came my way from the people who lived around me. I absorbed all their negativity, all their bad behavior and all their trespasses. But since my return, it’s like I have a third person’s perspective, which is more clear, and cannot tolerate any abuse and wrongs done towards me. When these things happen, I BITE.

Recently, I’ve come to learn that I am surrounded by narcissists. This tends to happen when there is an empath. Somehow, narcissists create empaths and their relationships are interrelated. Narcissists make worlds revolve around them and they need to be called out when they do this. They need to be bitched out really badly. They may love you. but their way of loving is wrong. It’s smothering, suffocating and controlling, and all about themselves. They absolutely need to be put in their place. Extremely badly. This requires you to have crystal clear vision to see through their behavior and not accept any transgressions, you need to be vigilant like a hawk and catch them in every act. They need to be stopped, sometimes harshly. You have to be your own savior. you have to be your own savior. When there’s an empath and narcissist involved, you can be sure that you are trampled on and no more of that nonsense. There will come a day where you cannot tolerate that any longer. you owe it to yourself to set yourself free. Love and peace to you all.

Be kind, and live the life you deserve.

Sepsis

(Beware: long)

On Tuesday night around 8pm, I suddenly felt a sharp pain on the side of my back under my rib. And soon it morphed into the squirming type of pain. I already knew right away what was going on. I was having another kidney stone. I had experience with passing a kidney stone once before and recognized the symptoms right away. I knew I was in for a long night of extreme pain. The pain develops into a pain that’s comparable to child birth. It’s excruciating, and not in a place that’s easy to bear. No doubt, everything progressed as I had imagined. For minute after minute, hour after hour, I laid in bed, suffering and squirming for the entire night. I woke up drained and exhausted. The pain lasted until the next morning around 11am and I was very much relieved. This was a much shorter duration than the first one I had experienced. The physical pain subsided, but I was not off the hook. In its place, I started getting strong chills while feeling so very cold and shortly after, I developed a fever. For almost the next 24 hours on, I had a fever consistently burning at 103-104. It was not going away. By this time, we decided it was time to make a phone consultation to the doctor. It was then that we were advised to go to the emergency room. It was 4 in the morning. It was a chore, but ah better to be safe and get things checked out.

Upon going to the hospital, they immediately put me in a gown and laid me on a bed. I was thinking, is this really necessary? I’m not in pain anymore, just having a fever. They examined me and the doctor came by with questions before I was wheeled off to take a ct scan. Yes this was the part I was familiar with- take a ct scan. Let’s find out what’s happening. The scan confirmed that there was a kidney stone blocking my ureter, and the stone was right outside my kidney. Because I was having a high fever, signifying infection, and there was even swelling in that kidney already, they had to take quick action. Otherwise, according to the urologist, “I could get really sick really fast.” A stent procedure was ordered for me. That’s where they insert a little noodle-like tube into the tiny ureter artery (the artery where pee travels down from the kidney), then up against the stone and past the stone so that urine can continue to flow through, thus flushing out the infection. At a later date, they would then schedule another procedure to actually remove the stone and stent. Ugh, I was not expecting all this… at all. From my prior experience, I had a kidney stone, went to the hospital and was out within the hour with antibiotics. Now, I was having to undergo a procedure which they were calling surgery and the doctor said I would have to be watched overnight. James was waiting for me in the car outside. No visitors were allowed in the facility. I couldn’t wait to get back to my purse and text him that he should probably go home and stop waiting. Things would not be like we expected.

They wheeled me to another level of the hospital in preparation of the stent procedure. “Any jewelry?” the nurse asked. I showed them my neck and she removed my necklace before placing it in the zippered pouch of my purse. Next, a man wheeled me into the operating room.. it was a cold, white and big space. I didn’t exactly feel comfortable in there. It felt very impersonal, kind of like a warehouse. I felt a dread in my stomach. They laid me on a hard surface where I suppose the operation would take place. Another man put an oxygen mask over my nose, told me to breathe deeply and before I knew it, I was put to sleep.

When I woke up, I was confused and was back in the room I had been where they took off my necklace. Apparently, the stent was placed and the whole thing was done. All done. I had not even been aware of anything. I enjoyed being conscious again, but straightaway, I became fiercely cold and found myself shivering hard and uncontrollably. “Is this normal?” I asked the nurse between chattered teeth. “Yeah, a lot of our patients get really cold after the anesthesia,” she said. They gave me what I call a space blanket (cause it looks like space stuff) and there was warm air blowing through it which warmed me up wonderfully. I was so content.

At the next stage, I was brought up to my room for the night and was hooked up to bags and bags of antibiotics and other fluids on my IV. I was on my way to recovery and felt relieved the procedure was done. Now I just needed to rest so I could go home.

Several hours later, before I had had any chance to rest, I was once again met with the ferocious shivers. Goodness, the shivers. I had never shivered like this in my life where my body was shaking with these enormous, jerky motions. Man, it was so exhausting after everything and especially since it required every muscle in my body. The coldness I felt didn’t help things. They piled more blankets on me. After a couple hours, the shivers finally subsided… to my great relief… but there, underneath the warm blankets, a fever started coming on. Finally, when I felt the fever was reaching a certain point, they took my temperature and it was 105. I was shocked. That’s an even higher number than the one I had at home. What the heck, shouldn’t the fever get lower since I had the procedure done already and since I got loads of medication? This was very confusing to me. So very confusing. The nurse was alarmed as well. She also wasn’t expecting this situation and called the doctor immediately. More batches of antibiotics were ordered and quickly hooked to my IV.

I was very calm at that point despite my bewilderment and despite all the extreme pain I had been through in the last 15 hours. Even if I went as far as to die, I had been fresh out of watching all those Near-Death Experience videos and thought, ha! Even if I die, it’ll be okay. Because I know it’ll be my time and it’ll be beautiful on the other side. I was feeling so much peace and calm in my heart. Things were chaotic, but I was in a good place. The new batch of medicine pouches drained and my fever died down. My situation was okay again. Whew. “Alright, let’s rest for the night now, for real this time,” I told myself.

Around 2am, the violent shivering started again. Shit, I thought. Not this again please not this. I had not been able to sleep since the last episode and was not ready for another. I was exhausted beyond exhausted. Just as I saw coming, the shivering got violent, in fact worst than all the other cases, and it was almost like I was convulsing there on the bed. I was aching in every single spot possible while I was convulsing… adding on weak, cold to the bone, and exerting energy I didn’t have. At this point, my mental state started to decline. Well, that’s an understatement. I was terrified and feeling hopeless. I was alone in my hospital room at 2am, not knowing what was happening, with all my loved ones sleeping- emotionally unavailable to me. Alone. After the shivering stopped, once again, the flood of fever came on. I called the nurse back in and she reported 106. “Okay, WHAT is going on??” I thought inside my head. My fever had gone up to an all time high. Could it get any higher? After all I’d gone through, it appeared that I was only getting sicker! I was not in a good place now. I felt all the light and hope drain from my body. Out of desperation, I told the nurse, “In times like these, I tend to think the worst.” I felt utter despair.

“Don’t think like that, be positive,” she said. At that moment, I felt sick to my stomach from her words. I know she meant well and that is probably THE most normal thing to say. But to me in that exact moment, it felt like she rejected my feelings in totality and didn’t have one ounce of sympathy or understanding of what I was going through. I could hear it in her voice. The automatic- “just be positive.” I wanted to barf. I was starting to see a side of myself that I didn’t recognize. It was dark and angry, scared, and viscous, wanting to lash out at everybody. I actually loved this nurse very much so I knew I was going through something. I was surprised to see this part of me come through because I typically think I have a high tolerance to withstand negative situations. But here I was, becoming a storm and monster of someone whom I didn’t know. It’s ironic because I’ve always been the one to advocate for positivity. So many of my messages are centered around being positive and having a good outlook towards life. But wow, I realized that being positive is a luxury. It’s a state that’s achieved only when everything in your life is going well in your perceived mind and you’re feeling content.

This made me learn a very deep lesson. That truly, Yes. People do need love the most when they deserve it the least. When I was baring my ugly form, it’s because I had been through too much pain. Just too much. I hadn’t slept for over 24 hours and had been put through one thing too many. I had reached my breaking point and had no more good thing coming out of me. People really do act in bad ways when they’re not in a good place; when they’re downright miserable. My own experience at the hospital taught me that. What I felt inside and how I acted taught me that- Gosh, people really do need love the most when they deserve it the least. They really do. No one acts that way intentionally. It’s only because their life isn’t going well. Feeling positive is a luxury. Show grace for those who can’t.

*Oh it turns out the real reason why I was having chills and fevers was because my kidney infection had turned into a blood infection. And a urine infection as well. Basically, there was infection in my whole body. This is called Sepsis. I also ended up getting a touch of pneumonia resulting in a 5 day stay. But now I’m all better :).

Christmas of IVs

Last thoughts: I feel so bad for people who get a blocked kidney stone or Sepsis in poor places. They just die from something so small. I had 5 days of intensive care in the Emergency Hospital. They tailored all the medicine to my body exactly. I was worked on day and night by people actively trying to heal me. What about people who are not afforded these amenities? What happens to them? I know what happens to them. It breaks my heart so much.

Highlights from my stay:

A flower in my breakfast

Care packages from home

Decorating my room

My husband wanted Baymax to be my healthcare companion

The most luxurious hospital stay I could ever ask for

My Face

I didn’t grow up with a mom who had a healthy relationship with her body. I remember her constantly scrutinizing her face and asking me to check if her freckles were darker than usual or if her wrinkles were very noticeable. I would always reassure her that they weren’t and remind her that she should love herself for who she is. When her hair was turning white and she wanted to dye it, I encouraged her to just keep it natural and embrace her body in its changing form. I thought I had escaped her limiting beliefs growing up. However, recently, when I noticed certain changes happening to my face, I resisted and felt my mom’s insecurity flood my mind. Anxiety and fear rushed through me as I grappled with the fact that my youth was failing me. I was horrified at my reality, but frustrated as to why I was feeling this way. Hadn’t I always been the one to tell my mom otherwise? Hadn’t I seen the destruction of her thinking and learned to avoid it? Yet without knowing, I had digested all of her self-doubt and low self-esteem.

I thought long and hard and realized that from her, I had learned this:

Getting Old = Ugly and Worthless

I don’t blame my mom and it’s not her fault because no one taught her better either. It’s so heartbreaking to grow up thinking that way. Our society seems to promote this belief as well. But that idea is not true and it’s definitely not healthy. That is not the right equation.  

Appearance fades, but your real beauty, beauty that comes from your heart never fades.

Let’s change the equation.

Getting Old = No Big Deal. It’s natural and a part of life.

My self-worth comes from INSIDE. Not from appearance and what others think of me.

At this point, I remembered Anita Moorjani’s video which I had seen recently. In it, she talked about how she had never honored her body, never treated it with love… and had actually whittled it down to a sickly state when she got cancer. After she returned from her coma and experienced a life-changing event, she faced herself in the mirror and couldn’t believe how she looked or what she had done to herself. Her face looked like a skull, her hair had fallen out and there were bandages on her neck from skin lesions. She couldn’t even recognize herself. It was her lack of self-love that did this to her. She promised herself that she would never EVER do that again. She would never forsake herself and would cherish herself instead. She thought about all that her body had gone through in her journey of life, all that it had experienced with her, and she was flooded with gratitude for it. Her body had been through so much and done so much for her. It was time to recognize that and honor it.

Taking that thought, I looked in the mirror at my face and started reflecting upon my own body. My body has also been through such a tremendous journey and done so much for me. It has been a vessel to give life to four children. I’m immensely proud of that. It is even capable of producing milk. How absolutely wondrous and miraculous. I don’t even know how it does that. It survived a ruptured appendix and brought me to this point in time. I’ve lived such a fruitful life. My body has truly experienced MIRACLES. I love and honor my body through every stage. It has served me so well. With each of these thoughts, I felt my relationship with my body changing. My body is not my enemy, only there to look pleasant and do as I want. It is the thing that has carried me through every moment. I felt so sorry that I was treating it with such contempt. As if it’s a thing to be manipulated and trashed. I also vowed that I would never go down that path again. So what if I have an eye bag. Or if my cheekbones are coming through. These are insignificant things when I consider the magnificence of my body and all that it’s capable of.  

I need to work on my healthier equation and get it right. Rewrite it. Because I strive to live a better life and to teach my children a better way. The destructive thinking ends with me.

MY LOVE COMES FROM THE INSIDE.  

Empaths & Relationships

When an empath walks into a room, they can immediately sense all the emotions that are occurring in the space. It’s like they have invisible feelers that just pick up on everything, every nuance, every vibe, and it happens effortlessly. If you’re not familiar with the term, empaths are people who take on the feelings of others, much like a sponge. They absorb everything other people are feeling and take them on as if they were their own. Empaths need a different guidebook for relationships because they see the world a bit differently. It’s hard to tell where their feelings begin and where others’ end because their sense of empathy is so strong.

It doesn’t always feel like it for the empath, but their sensitivity is perhaps their greatest attribute. They feel things deeply; they feel things heightened. Others’ emotions are just as real as their own. This allows them to have great compassion and not want anyone to suffer. The pain almost seems present in their own bodies. It can feel like a heavy burden, but at the same time, they are the healers and nurturers of the planet due to the fact that they connect so much with what others go through.

Because they are so sensitive to energies and get affected by people’s moods, this makes them long for and have an innate desire for peace. When the people around them are happy, then empaths in turn are happy. The “pool” of energy feels right. Conversely, they don’t do well with conflict because it makes them feel like something is wrong and needs to be fixed. They can obsess endlessly over the conflict until it is resolved, not unlike the feeling of having a thorn in one’s side. This can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be a blessing because they’re good at bringing peace into the environment, but a curse, because this can make them bend over backwards to achieve peace, even when it’s to their own detriment. They can get so focused on others and making sure others are happy that they completely neglect their own needs.

Another thing about empaths is that they are drawn to people who have been hurt or traumatized before because they recognize that those people are struggling and need assistance, first and foremost. Those who have been burdened with a difficult life are also drawn to empaths because they crave light when empaths have light to give. Empaths tend to be rescuers, always on a mission to make people whole, and interestingly enough, they are good at it. They are influential and powerful in their own way, able to initiate much change in their subjects. They always seem to know what the other needs, perhaps from the invisible feelers that are always sensing and observing, and the person under their care almost always undergoes a huge transformation. The result is incredibly gratifying and meaningful for the empath, causing them to seek and continue down this path again and again. It’s hard to tell them not to associate with people who are difficult because it’s part of their life purpose and DNA.

Yes, empaths are unique in that they thrive doing the hardest work that no one else wants to do. Their impact is truly tremendous and their intentions, noble. But there are certain things they need to be wary of while doing this type of work. Understandably, many of them get burned, betrayed or hurt in the process because they are dealing with people who veer towards the darker end of the spectrum. And after enough times, this often makes them retreat. But the lesson is not to never be around tough people (because as difficult a job as it is, empaths thrive off this challenge). The lesson is to put certain practices into place to ensure better safety and emotional health.

If not careful, empaths can easily become doormats and get taken advantage of by the strong and dominant personalities they are drawn to, especially since empaths will bend over backwards in order to cater to them.

So one piece of advice that’s especially important and helpful for empaths is to “make friends with conflict.” Let those bad feelings sit, even if they’re uncomfortable. The feeling of sitting with a bad feeling is extremely hard for empaths to endure because the energy feels so “off.” Like mentioned earlier, empaths have an obsessive need to fix negative energies and to bring about peace. But rushing in prematurely undermines the natural process of finding a good resolution and often subjects the empath to mistreatment in the long run. For example, if a fight breaks out and the empath rushes in to mend things purely out of discomfort of negative emotions, then the empath ends up swallowing everything and not getting the most beneficial outcome that they need. Also, the other person may end up doing whatever they want because they know they’ll always be forgiven and not have to suffer any consequences. Therefore, it’s really important for the empath to get comfortable with tension and to make friends with conflict so things can be thought through and resolved properly. It takes practice and training to sit with negativity, but repetition is key. Every single encounter makes it easier. Repeat the mantra, “Make friends with conflict.”

Another thing empaths have to be mindful of is not letting certain lines get crossed. It’s often hard to detect when lines are crossed because during the moment, things always seem to be going fine until they aren’t. The empath isn’t normally aware that they are contorting themselves to fit another’s image. Sometimes it takes a huge trespass to realize that a transgression has taken place. Then it becomes time to sit down and examine how far they’ve strayed from their own truth in order to not disappoint another. 

When this has happened, the next step is to gather courage, put their foot down and talk about what needs to be changed. They have to be strong and discuss the matter at hand despite their tendency to avoid conflict. And they must make sure something is done about it, especially if it’s a serious offense- see to it that things change- because empaths often have trouble seeing their own worth and value. They always place others so high that they forget about themselves and ignore their own wellbeing. Empaths need to love themselves, protect, respect and value themselves, and teach the other person what they are willing to tolerate. That’s how they can continue working with people who are complicated.

Those who struggle do need their help and the work done with them does make a huge difference. So to the empaths, I say, “Don’t stop helping them. You just need to add self-love and healthy boundaries to the equation, and that’s it! Don’t change what you’re doing, just adjust the situation to have a little more safety, consideration and protection for yourself.”

To conclude, if an empath can learn to just hone in on these 2 skills, 1.) Make friends with conflict and 2.) Not let lines be crossed, then they would be unstoppable. Their gentle and altruistic spirits are gifts to the world and their unique traits allow them to bring about tidal waves of change. They draw light out of darkness and work tirelessly to do so.  They give so much of themselves. Anyone who is next to an empath is very lucky and it’s time the empath learn that too.

Triage

At 11pm, I started getting contractions. I wasn’t sure if they were the real thing. They weren’t real prominent, not like my firstborn’s were, where the first time a contraction came on, I just knew. It was like the beating of a deep drum and I knew with every fiber of my being that I was going into labor. But this time, it was totally unclear; they felt just like the Braxton Hick ones I’d been feeling all along. The only difference was these came on every 2-3 minutes (James started timing them) and they lasted over an hour. After an hour had passed, James called his mom and Uncle and they came over so we could make preparations to leave for the hospital. The pain started increasing and shortly after 1am, there was a pop and a gush of liquid (sorry for the TMI). So… with the thought that my water had broke, we were on our way.

When we got to the hospital in Irvine, the doctor checked me and said my bag was pretty much intact and despite my pain, I was only 3cm dilated. They didn’t want to send me home since Irvine is quite a ways from Diamond Bar. So they told me to wait an hour or two in the room to see if I would make any progress. Then if I did, they would admit me into the hospital. I was disappointed to be told that news- go home or wait 2 hours- cause I was having painful contractions already. It seemed hard to imagine going through that much more time alone and I wondered how much more pain I would be in. At this time, James also had to leave the room because they had to check him for COVID downstairs. They said he could come back up when I got admitted.

During the 2 hours that I was alone in the room, things did not go as I imagined. Strangely, my contractions became really far apart and at one point, they stopped. I didn’t feel anything anymore and I spent much of that 2 hours just waiting for the nurse to come back. I was texting James about how embarrassed I was to drag everyone along into this false alarm. It was nearly 4am, the grandparents were at our house, James would have work the next day… it was so late and we were in Irvine unnecessarily. I felt so bad that my contractions stopped and that this was not the real thing. I dreaded making the long drive home and needing to do everything all over again on a different day.

When the nurse finally came back to check on my progress, she saw me and commented that I looked a lot less uncomfortable than when she last saw me. I said yeah, that I wasn’t feeling much pain anymore, trying to hide my disappointment. She told me that she and the doctor were playing a bit of phone tag and he asked if she could just check me for him. So she did and to my great shock, she said that I had made a lot of progress and was now 5cm dilated. “Yup, we’re going to keep you!” she said. I couldn’t believe my ears or believe what was happening. My contractions had stopped and I was no longer feeling any pain. How in the world could I have possibly gotten to 5cm dilation? The last time I was 5cm, I was in agony. It was excruciating pain. Like all hell breaking loose. But here and now, I was feeling nothing. It was a little eerie, like being in the twilight zone. I couldn’t wrap my head around it and still don’t understand what happened. This was my fourth time giving birth and it’s just unconceivable to me how that much of it was painless. It’s like I got a free ride… through childbirth! To me, this is nothing short of a miracle.

*If anyone has any insight on what might’ve happened, I’d love to know cause I’m still puzzled

Help! My Husband is a Bad Communicator

In the early stages of our marriage, there was one day where my husband and I were at the Orange County Fair. We had taken the bus that morning and made it our own little adventure. We were laughing and having a great time until suddenly, my husband’s behavior changed on a dime and he became incredibly upset. I was perplexed at the sudden switch in mood and asked, “What’s wrong?” He refused to say and replied, “You should know already!” I was completely dumbfounded. There was no way I could possibly know what was on his mind, and as for why he was upset, it could be anything under the blue sky.

He was mad for a long time which was a pretty stressful experience. But after much coaxing (he really couldn’t believe I had no idea) I finally got it out of him. He revealed that he felt I wasn’t contributing enough to doing things at home. This revelation came as a shock because it was the very first time he had ever mentioned it and prior to that, I had absolutely no idea. It was a big topic, and surely one enough to cause discontentment. But as someone who’s open to working through problems and considers themselves pretty accommodating, I wish he had mentioned something earlier. I would’ve been more than happy to discuss things and find a solution, especially since I thought I was the one being considerate to his needs this whole time.

Through the years after, I would come to learn that my husband often has trouble translating how he feels on the inside to others in a productive way. His default mechanism is to explode first, assume that everyone should know, then begrudgingly explain why later if prompted. Unfortunately, he misses the first step of discussing problems at their onset. This type of exploding and unknowing is very difficult to live with, especially for a sensitive person like me.

Before I proceed, I’d like to point out here that my husband is advanced in many ways that I am not. He is the problem solver in our family and has a lot of worldly smarts that I learn from. His experience as upper management has also given him many gifts in handling difficult situations. He manages everything in our house; he’s just so capable. All in all, I am usually the one taking pointers from him. But communication is one of those rare areas where he was not able to fully develop his abilities.

And if you ask me, I’m not at all surprised because from my observation, men in our society are not groomed to be good communicators. They’re not shown that it’s okay to share their emotions, or to talk through things that bother them; feelings in general are eluded to them. They rarely partake in deep conversations about life and personal problems to one another, whereas girls are trained and given every environment to do so. Women are accepted as chatty creatures and thrive on talking about any and all situations that arise in life. The difference is stark.

For my husband’s particular case, he was never given much opportunity to exercise his “communication muscle.” Each person has a certain percentage of how well they’ve learned to communicate. If we’re talking about education levels, the range goes between preschool and grad school. Anyone can fall anywhere in between that spectrum. My husband’s upbringing and environment placed him at a beginners-level and we would have to start almost from scratch.

Now when someone is a bad communicator, they don’t know how to articulate how they feel. It’s all just stuck. It’s difficult for the person who is trying to communicate, as well as the person receiving the communication. In the beginning, when I didn’t realize there was a communication problem yet, I would see my husband in the form of a full-grown adult. In terms of maturity and size, he looked just like me and I mistakenly felt that he should know better. “We’re all adults right?” But I learned to put on my “look-past-his-exterior-glasses” into his inner being and it’s apparent that his communication training was equivalent to that of a child (not in a mocking way). And that’s how children are. They have trouble putting words to feelings. Oftentimes, they’re not even aware of what they’re feeling, just that they’re upset. So they lash out in anger or act in difficult ways.

There would be many times in the future where the past would repeat itself and my husband would erupt out of nowhere just like that day at the fair. He would get furious, but fail to communicate what the problem was, leaving me completely in the dark. Or he would tell me what the problem was but it was already too late and he had spiraled far into his anger. It can be exhausting to live with a bad communicator because it can make them seem unstable and unpredictable. They don’t have a normal response system that can take care of miniscule problems as they arise. The moments are collected until they build steam, become more than they can handle, then detonate; all while the other person hasn’t been given a proper or fair chance to understand.

This is one of those instances where marriage requires nun-like diligence; having the patience to see them through on things, sometimes things you feel they should have mastered already. Everyone has different flaws and traits they need to work on. What’s easy for one may not be easy for the other. Being part of a marriage means helping the other person with the areas that are hard for them and having the generosity of spirit to guide them, step by step. Showing grace where need be. My husband has actually done the same thing with me on many occasions in the different areas that I struggle with. It’s a constant exchange between two people.

Whenever my husband has outbursts, I have to remind him of how his actions appear from my point of view. Like that day at the fair, I had to tell him, “Imagine we’re having a great time and suddenly I get mad at you and don’t tell you why. How would you feel?” He brings up once again that I should already know what he’s feeling because it’s obvious. But I tell him that it’s not obvious and one can never assume the other person knows because no one else is in your head but you. He seemed to accept things after that and understand the confusion his actions brought on.

I also reminded him that I am always up for talking about the things that bother him. But we can’t discuss things that I’m not aware of.  He would always think I’m doing things on purpose. As if I know exactly what’s bothering him, but don’t care and continue to hurt him. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s simply a case of me not knowing.

I’d like to add that poor communicators were never given the socially-accepted safe space to share their feelings. So it’s important that when they do end up sharing truthfully, to encourage that as you would an insecure and unsure child. If you do, you’ll get more honest sharing in the future. It becomes easier each time, like exercising a muscle. These steps are all part of a compassionate journey to unravelling the damage done from your partner’s previous stunted and stifling environment. It’s absolutely necessary and is not only beneficial for them, but also makes life so much easier for you too in the long run.

Lastly, encourage them to talk about things at the very start, as soon as they happen, rather than at the end when it’s too late. Convey the idea that little problems quickly escalate into big problems so it’s good to tackle them when they’re manageable. Tell them you’d rather be notified now, even if it’s uncomfortable, than deal with a huge argument later on. It’s always easier when the problem hasn’t had time to stew and fester, becoming larger than it needs be.

More often than not, both sides are coming from a good place and want the other person to be happy. And despite common beliefs, communicating well is not hard. It’s simply expressing how things appear from each person’s point of view so both can come to a mutual understanding, compromise or solution. Each person grew up in a different world and experienced different realities, making them see all things in a vastly different way. It’s easy to think that everyone grew up the same and sees things just as we do, but it’s not true. There are a million different perspectives. That’s why communicating well bridges the gap and sees the innocence embedded in others’ thinking.

Communicating well also entails being clear with what you mean. Not saying one thing but meaning another or giving mixed signals. It’s saying exactly what you feel in the most accurate manner which sometimes takes practice. As long as both people are willing to try, put in effort and discuss things, then a good result is almost always likely.

My husband has come a long way, but it’s still a process. A skill like that takes decades to develop. Be gentle, tread gently, exhibit loving patience, and I guarantee you, things will improve drastically. You will have freed him from his own prison of being trapped in his own feelings. Communication is one of those crucial blocks that supports a marriage and makes the whole thing thrive. Master it and you are well on your way to a blissful and smooth journey ahead.

Waving My White Flag

Being a nun doesn’t mean you’re perfect. Nuns may strive for super human goals, but they’re still made of human flesh. They still experience good days and bad days. If there’s one trait that sets them apart, perhaps it’s their relentless and fierce nature to overcome insurmountable obstacles. They never give up in order to reach that clear light in which to reside. They never give up.

 

A couple weeks ago, I had a bad day. A really really bad day. And it’s surprising (or not) that an onslaught of health problems came for me immediately after that.

 

You may recall my post about having severe abdominal pains. Well, those pains didn’t actually go away and in fact, worsened at some points.

 

It’s hard to describe what I went through. But here is a picture, in fragments.

 

Pain. Unspeakable pain. Pain that contorts your body into an unrecognizable shape and robs you of your breath. Pain that paints your world black and makes everything else cease to matter. Nothing else matters. Nothing else can be seen, heard or felt, except the horrific pain that clenches your every sensation. In this moment of darkness, the only person I beg to see is the person who can relieve me of my suffering, the person who can take this living hell out of my body.

 

When you come out of an experience of intense physical suffering that has been prolonged over the span of weeks, some things are changed forever.

 

The first thing I wrote on my phone afterwards was:

 

To do anything without pain is the greatest blessing. To not be in physical suffering is the greatest blessing. I cannot express how much weight this lesson holds for me. It’s easy to not think about the state of our health and bodies, especially if we are not feeling much of anything at all. But after enduring weeks of pain, going back to physical comfort is such sweet relief. Unparalleled relief.

 

  1. Health care workers. They are angels in the sea of suffering. When I was drowning, no one around me could help, no matter how much they loved me. But in my mind, I knew doctors were the ones who could actually do something and they shown like beacons of brilliant, luminous light. I held immense gratitude for these people that their skills and expertise could alleviate hurt.

 

  1. Emotions affect health. I already talked about this before. But it’s worth repeating. I know my health issues were stemmed directly from the bad day I had. My emotions tend to be very powerful and my body is sensitive, resulting in quick results like this. Positive emotions = good health. Negative emotions = bad health. Mind controls all.

 

  1. Family is everything.

 

I made a wish at the Kaiser pond that if I ever got better, I would come back Version 2.0. 🙂 And I intend to keep my promise. I’m going to live out the lesson I learned.

 

Please do not worry about me at all or ask about what happened. Everything is fine now and I am actually extremely grateful for the lessons I came away with. I believe the entire situation was orchestrated for my advancement, as I feel stronger and better than I ever did. Love you all.

What Dying Taught Me

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I’ve been very blessed to have “died” a number of times in my life. Each time it happened, I would be shocked awake, thinking hard about my life and evaluating whether or not I was living at my best.

Last Thursday, I had 8 hours of abdominal pain that resembled my ruptured appendix. As I lay in the bat tub writhing in pain, I felt for sure that I was dying. The pain was exactly where it had been before, so much so that I could point to its exact location.

 

My first thought was, “Damn. My fortune cookie was right.” (But more on that later.)

I was completely filled with regret.

Now, you must understand that I am a person who strictly abides by a “live life with no regrets” policy. So this strong feeling of regret shocked me. What is it that I regretted? It was just one thing and it was all I could think about.

I regretted not focusing enough on my family.

 

For the last several years, I’d been chasing a dream. And chasing a dream hard. People talk about going after your passion with everything you’ve got and I was doing just that. My dreams held a grip on me that was alluring, enthralling and crazy exciting.

But in the process, I had unintentionally lost sight of my family. I became distracted in home life. Even if I was physically with my kids, my head was often dreaming up something linked to my goals. There were many mornings where I couldn’t wait to finish my chores so I could type things up on my laptop. I thought I was handling both worlds in perfect harmony but in actuality, I was lost in my dreams.

Now, that’s a heavy price to pay and it was made crystal clear when I stared down the barrel of my own mortality.

There is nothing more important than family. There just isn’t.

Now, I still believe in chasing dreams. But my priorities have changed.

Family first. For real this time.

Thank you Death.

And what is it my fortune cookie said?

What is the one thing that rang true more than any other statement I’d ever heard when I was standing on the edge of my life?

This.

 

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Why You Don’t Have to Be Afraid

When I was the most depressed and scared in my life, my body did something interesting. It betrayed itself. After several years of mental torture, an organ in my body finally burst and infected everything, sending me on a path to death. I would’ve died in 1998, had someone not stepped in and intervened.

 

Looking back, I can’t believe something so horrific happened during the period when I was undergoing the most emotional pain I’d ever been in. There was so much stress and depression in my little body that it caused something to physically burst inside. That event pressed upon me a very important lesson: a toxic level of fear and overwhelming sadness can destroy your physical body. Simply put, your mind can kill you.

 

On the other hand, your mind can also save you. When you are happy, strong and full of passion for living (the complete opposite of what I was feeling), you’ll find that you radiate with an incredibly strong energy; as if you have a light shield surrounding you. Nothing can penetrate it. You become healthy, strong and invincible as you go about the world, which is a mere reflection of your inner state. Having a strong mind is essential for a healthy body and it is precisely in this peak state where you are naturally protected from ailments. A strong mind is your greatest friend and ally in a toxic world.

 

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There is a story by Anita Moorjani (author of Dying to Be Me) where she describes living her entire life in fear. She ends up getting stage 4 cancer, battles it for years and finally slips into a coma where she is believed to be at the end of her life. Unbeknownst to anyone though, she is experiencing a near-death experience where she learns from the other side that her overwhelming life of fear led to her demise. All of the negative energies surrounding her life made her body eventually break down. (Sound familiar?). In the end, she returns to her body after the near-death experience with a new understanding that her mind is the most powerful thing she possesses. It can physically alter her biology. Here is an excerpt I found to be important:

 

Pg. 86 Dying to Be Me, Anita Moorjani

 

“I watched as the nurses came in to administer the chemo. They hung the bag of drugs on the IV stand. Each bag, which they were feeding directly into my veins, was labeled “POISON” in huge, red capital letters. The nurses wore masks and latex gloves so that they couldn’t accidentally have contact with any of the dangerous chemicals. Strangely, it seemed that it was acceptable for these drugs to be introduced directly into my bloodstream.

 

I knew I didn’t need the chemo. The doctors were administering it for their own reasons, not mine, for I knew that I was invincible. Nothing could destroy me, not even poison directly into my veins- the very thing I’d feared for so many years! Interestingly, I didn’t suffer from the normal side effects. My medical team was very surprised that I didn’t have the usual nausea associated with the treatment.

 

I felt a level of victory. I’d so completely overcome my fear of everything- from dying to cancer to chemotherapy- that this proved to me that it had been the fear destroying me. I knew full well that if this had been before my experience in the other realm, the very sight of the word poison in giant red letters labeling a drug that was coursing through my veins, coupled with the nurses all wrapped up in protective gear to avoid contamination, would have sent enough fear through me to kill me. The psychological effect alone would have finished me, for I knew how fear-filled I was before.

 

But instead, I felt invincible. I knew that the decision to come back that I’d made on the other side completely overrode anything going on in the physical world.”

 

Anita did not feel fear even with poison “coursing through her veins,” for she had a full understanding within her mind that she would heal.

 

There’s a lot of fearful people right now and I just wanted to help them reclaim their power. Everyone has power in this situation. You have power in this situation. There are things you can control.

 

For situations you can’t avoid, like going to the market, just remember to toughen up your mentality, banish fear and ground your energy. Imagine a light shield all around you, protecting you. Walk as though you’re in a bubble that cannot be penetrated. I promise you, it’s better than running on fear. And I guarantee, you’ll be all the better and stronger for it.