Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy 7th Birthday Elise!

Elise at Disneyland. 3. 29. 2012

We celebrated my daughter Elise's birthday by spending a day at Disneyland.  I can't believe she's already seven years old.  It is through her I got married at the premature age of 24 and because of her I'm doing what I do today.  She came as an unexpected surprise to my life and while there were many moments of uncertainty and anxiety as a young wife and mother, I can now confidently say that I am who I am today because of her.

She taught me countless invaluable lessons in life- the most important lesson being learning to let go of control and let God steer my life.  She taught me that no matter how articulate my plans are, none compares to that of God and that with every difficulty comes greater blessings.  This is not to say I'm at the end of my journey because difficulties are not over and greater blessings are on its way.  At times I still experience moments of despair and regret. Yet today, like every day of my life, I'm grateful that I am her mother and that she is my daughter.

My daughter still has many difficulties and needs daily medication and therapies to function like the average child.  I used to dedicate my prayers for her to "get better" and for her conditions "to improve."  Recently I began to realize how foolish I was, because God tells me that she is perfect just the way she is.

She has trouble with communication but knows how to connect better than some adults.  She needs medication but enjoys food like no other.  She loves to sing, dance, play, laugh and already knows how to enjoy the moment and be present in everything she does while I still struggle with this at age 31.  She has a stubborn streak like mommy but is already gifted with the art of letting go.  She does not harbor negativity and does not complain, judge or condemn like many of us.  She radiates her smile and laughter to everyone around her and teaches me everyday what it means to love without expectations.  She teaches me not to take anything for granted, that every little thing like reading, talking and exercising are only possible through God's grace.

She is love, love itself and serves as a daily reminder of the person I need to become.

Happy Birthday Elise!

I love you from the depth of my heart and without you, I could've never reached this deep. I owe the depth of my heart to you- my love, my life, my everything.

Courage

On Pain by artstudio Norarts 
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear- Ambrose Redmoon

My best friend texted me this quote today and it is just what I needed to hear on this gloomy Saturday afternoon. God has a funny way of bringing people and inspiration in our lives when we most need it when we least expect it.

It's finals week in which months of efforts and self-control are put to the final test.  It is now time to put myself to test and get closer to my long term goal.  I'm still amazed I'm doing this as I'm in school for something that is entirely different from what I had imagined but again, God has a funny way of placing us in strange paths when we least expect it.

I'm going through a momentous transition now, a transition that is frightening and difficult. They say happiness comes from within but there are instances where one's surroundings obstruct the heart from truly feeling the happiness one deserves.

Some say you can find happiness wherever you are.  Others say you can't rely on someone else to make you happy.  Of course happiness comes from within but sometimes rediscovering one's happiness requires courage followed by pain.  Either way I must find my place and myself again.  The only thing that matters is my heart- and sometimes it takes a random phone conversation with an old friend to remind myself the goodness of my heart.  

Courage takes time. Courage takes work. Courage takes perseverance.  Courage takes faith. I can't let fear stop me from being courageous because God would not have placed me here if I wasn't able to overcome it.



Monday, March 26, 2012

Everyday Is New Beginning

How refreshing it is to be able to start anew each day with every sunrise. I love fresh mornings like today after days of rain as it serves as nature's way of reminding me of what is really important- my life, my existence, my blessings, my family and my soul.  In this way I'm actually starting to enjoy a period of confusion and darkness since it brings the goodness of life into brighter light.

Spent a relaxing weekend with family and friends. Reconnecting with high school friends & their kids is such a humbling experience- I love seeing my friends' features in their children's face and how their tiny fingers and mouths resemble their mom's. What a blessing it is to be able to give birth to a new life and add invaluable meaning to life, to add something beautiful to the universe.

A lot of my friends are in the process of being pregnant, giving birth and raising children and even as a mom, I'm envious. I never knew I had such strong maternal instincts but I guess life has its funny way of letting us discover strengths and talents in us that we never knew existed.

I would love to have another child one day. As difficult as it was, I look back to my children's early years as the best, most fruitful years of my life.  Fine dining, shopping and catching up with old friends are always enjoyable, but raising children seems to be the most rewarding task of all.

But as of now, I must focus on myself, pursue my vocation and live for myself even for a brief moment.  However fleeting this moment, it is this moment that helps us to step forward and start anew each day.

T's haircut- 3.26.12
Today was Tessa's first visit to a grown up hair salon.  She loved getting her hair styled and curled like a big girl. She is growing so fast as she now resists me calling her my baby.  How that makes me smile and reminds me to enjoy every moment. 

How fast life passes us by. Today is another reminder where being present in the moment seems to be greatest gift of all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

25 things you didn't know about me

I was going through old files in my computer and found this list I wrote in 2009. I began to cross out ones that are no longer relevant and.....

1. The most difficult part of life, for me, is waking up early in the morning. I have a bad habit of using my bed as a site for running memories, drafting things-to-do-lists, future plans, etc. and as a result, have trouble falling asleep swiftly and rising early in the morning.

2. I don't like to wear anything too flashy with bold patterns. I prefer wearing simple neutral or dark colors with unique accessories and statement shoes.

3. I've had several near-death incidents in my lifetime. In high school, I lost two close friends in a car accident and know I could've easily been in the car that day. In college, I was hit by a car (as a pedestrian) on a rainy day during finals week. I now realize I could've sued the UC system to become a multimillionaire at the age of 20, but at the time, I was just grateful that I was alive and breathing. When UCR started building speed bumps in the area where I'd been hit, I couldn't help but to feel like a sacrificial lamb.

4. Possibly as a result of #3, I spend a lot of time pondering about the meaning of life, death, and everything in between. So if you ever see me silently observing a trail of ants or looking over the mountains with distant eyes, you can be certain that I'm thinking about one of the three.

5. I don't like to be ordinary and don't like anything ordinary. When shopping for a car, I choose a color that no one has (even though it is uglier than traditional black or white). When choosing baby names, I check and re-check popular baby name lists to make sure the name is not popular.

6. I'm passionate about life. I'm passionate about my beliefs, my experiences, my dreams, my failures, my family, my friends, what I know and what I do not yet know. I believe that life without passion is life not worth living (or what makes us different than an animal?).

7. I'm pretty clear about what I like and what I don't like; what type of people to admire and what type of people to stay away from. I don't really dislike or hate anyone deep down inside because I realize everyone's different and some are just plain ignorant.

8. I like to try new things at least once except when it comes to food. I don't eat anything I don't recognize or anything too exotic like shark's fin. I don't doubt that duck tastes great, but please don't try to force feed it to me. I know steak tastes better rare, but I'll stick to my medium thank you.

9. I'm a neat freak. Living with a laid-back husband and two toddlers helped me to loosen up a lot, but I still sanitize the toilet every other day and wipe the bathroom mirror every night. I like my clothes to be folded and lined up a certain way and will jump out of bed at night if I see a piece of clothing sticking out of the drawer. When I don't have enough time or energy to clean to my satisfaction, I just walk around with my eyes closed to prevent coming face-to-face with my two worst fears- disorder and mess.

10. Because of #9, I don't like to use public restrooms, especially for number 2. In fact, I don't remember the last time when I used a public restroom for this purpose. My husband says this is a gross habit, but I just hold it until I get home unless it is a true emergency. Sorry, TMI. :)

11. When a Non-Korean person asks me where I'm from, I wonder whether I should say Korea, South Korea or Southern California. When I say Southern California, he or she says, 'No, where are you REALLY from?' and when I say Korea, he or she says 'North or South?' I'm used to such naivete but I do wish they'll make themselves clearer next time.

12. Every personality/psychology test says I make a better leader than a follower but I like to be somewhere in between.

13. I am a big nerd at heart. When I was a young girl I read incessantly, only stopping to eat and use the bathroom so I can go back to reading. This cycle lasted from about age 7 to 9th grade summer.

14. Then I became a trouble maker in HS. My school counselor hated me and tried to find ways to expel me from school. One day, he called me to his office and falsely accused me of being in a gang that I've never heard about (I was never in a gang).  Just like this, 4-years of HS are a big blur as if they didn't really exist- Or perhaps I wasn't wholly there.

15. I dream about writing a novel one day even though I know I'm not a great writer. This is embarrassing to say, but I even have a few pages filled with incoherent ramblings and prospective character names and scenes.

16. I'm type ENFJ- the benevolent 'pedagogues' of humanity or simply put, the Idealist Teacher- and fit this mold quite perfectly. I'm secretly proud of the fact I share this type with historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Oprah Winfrey and President Obama- along with the special 2% of the entire population.

17. I don't do well on standardized tests but have no problem grasping complex theories and philosophies. I'm learning disabled when it comes to math but can analyze a literary passage without much difficulty. I prefer theory over theorems, art over logic and abstraction over pragmatics. Good thing I chose literature over law.

18. I'm terrified of the unknown. This explains why I can't swim in the ocean (because you never know what's inside) and am easily stirred by horror stories. If I can't explain it, see it and touch it, I'm fearful of it, except of course, God and his mysteries.

19. I have a keen sixth sense and can 'feel' things that others don't usually notice. I've experienced prophetic dreams on several occasions, the first experience being at the age of 8 or 9. I'm convinced that my fate is intricately linked with the universe- or perhaps, everyone's is and I just spend more time thinking about it.

20. I'm more spiritual than religious. I am firmly rooted in my Catholic faith and know this is what works for me, but don't believe that non-Christians will go to hell. I read the bible for meditation rather than memorization and refuse to take every word literally. Therefore, I don't believe in using the words 'I'm saved.' The worst type of people in this world, in my opinion, are religious hypocrites.

21. I'm Catholic but for gay rights. I'm liberal but pro-life. I respect Korean tradition but believe many Korean adults are less respectable than their children. My heart yearns to return to Korea every single day but I can't imagine settling there permanently. I practice yoga and self-reflection as a way to deepen my Christian faith. Sometimes, I'll even recite Hail Marys and Our Fathers during yoga practice. You see, my life is full of contradictions.

22. I can't watch a film or even a short commercial without analyzing it. I can't read a book without marking its margins with side notes and questions to come back to. What started as a part of my literary training turned into a lifestyle that can't be undone. It's both a blessing and a curse.

23. If I had to choose between being a multimillionaire socialite or a solitary artist, I'd choose the latter in a heartbeat. If I had to choose between a huge walk-in closet filled with designer clothing & handbags or a cherry-oak library filled with rows and rows of books, I'd choose the latter as long as the room comes with a plush leather chair. Crazy, I know, but I told you I was a big nerd at heart.

24. I believe that indifference is the greatest societal ill of all times- even worse than racism, sexism and homophobia combined. Like they say without a diagnosis, there is no cure.

25. I am too verbose and need to work on being concise. See above.


How things have changed in the past 3 years. I now drive a white car, wake up at 7 every morning and have a closet full of designer things and still no library. I no longer discuss theories with students, instead take boring multiple choice tests and study graphs. My house is a mess and I stopped writing on margins when I read books. In fact, I haven't read a worthy book in months. I even forgot that I used to dream about writing books.  My life is entirely ordinary and being a multimillionaire sounds better than solitary artist.  I rarely reflect on the meaning of life, forgot how it feels to love like there's no tomorrow and can't remember the last time I had a meaningful dialogue about the two.


What happened to me since 2009. What happened in the past 3 years. What will happen when I turn 40? Is this the natural course of life or is my surrounding changing who I am inside? Time to get my life back in order.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dreams

Dream by Nayoun Kim

It is sometimes frightening to trust my intuition. It is always disastrous not to trust it. 

A spiritualist once told me to pay attention to my dreams and to keep a dream journal by my bed. She also told me I have the third eye. This seemed weird at the time but I think all she was reminding me to do was stay connected with my intuition and trust my inner voice.  After all, I've always been an intuitive person rather than a logical, linear thinker.

I've had some very significant dreams in my life that I will forever remember until I die. I've also had dreams that I dismissed as insignificant and meaningless.  I thought a dream is only a dream though Freud and Jung will disagree.

Recently, I've been having vivid dreams that are heartfelt and frightening at the same time. I've had dreams where a person who means so much to me hurts me in frightening ways and strangers become more meaningful. A loved one leaves and a stranger comes. Last night a stranger came and left with a smile. I wanted to ask him to stay but could not knowing it was not my time or place. An elevator door closed between us, leaving me to feel empty and powerless over my present situation.

It's funny how reality continues to play out in my dream as another layer to our existence.  Reality is materialistic, dreams are transcendent.  Suppressed feelings become magnified and suppressed anxieties play out in disturbing ways I don't even think about in my daily life.  God is telling me my intuition is more meaningful than the material world and that dreams can be a more accurate reflection of my soul than my daily actions.

Despite it all, I've been feeling a sense of peace, comfort and strength in my life. Attending group meetings with other women is definitely helping me to feel more connected with my inner self, inner God and put my surroundings into perspective. I'm now able to connect my inner trials with those around me by stories they tell and feelings they validate.

God is reaching out to me again and I feel strengthened and more at peace. My body is worn but soul is slowly being renewed.  My dreams continue and they remind me to stay connected with my inner voice that is God-- and for this, I'm grateful.

Without God, I am nothing and without God between us, we are nothing.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Silence

Silence by Sandra Arduini

That moment when silence speaks louder than words.

That touch, the soft touch that negates the silence.

The belief that fills my heart with even more uncertainty.

The dream that is scattered all over my room and empty walls.

The vision that is created in my own ego, not His will. 

The feeling, that powerful feeling that keeps translating to love.

Love, one that is lost, recovered and rediscovered, only to be lost again. 

The silence that I still cannot stand but must endure.

That moment when silence speaks louder than words




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Love language

Daybreak in the Meadow by Joy StClaire

Perhaps that was the problem, I didn't take the time to slow down and reflect. I've been running around frantically to make things better, to put things in order and feel a sense of clarity by seeking answers instead of letting it unfold as God intended. Perhaps what was playing out was too painful and confusing to endure, and in my desperation I tried to diffuse emotions by pushing forward blindly.

I realize there is too much seeking, too much questioning, too much asking, too much talking, too much negotiating, too much justifying, too much fixing, too much mending--mending something that is already broken and long gone.

I waste time on mending because I'm a coward.  If God is love and I lack faith in love, does that mean I lack faith in God? Logic says so but no, it's my heart.  All I can do is wait for God to speak to me since only He can help me to pick up the pieces.

God isn't the voice who said "Let there be light."  He is the light. He is the moment. I'm with the voice, not the moment.

The irony is that everything around me remains the same...if I choose not to awaken, I can live in this delirium and emptiness for many years, even a lifetime. But can I? I wish I can, but I know I cannot.  

If I knew what I know today I would've done things differently, but this doesn't matter since valuable lessons in life don't come for free. The more valuable the lesson is, heftier the price tag.

In a previous post I wrote I didn't yet know how to love selflessly. Now I realize I do know how to love selflessly. I knew all along.

It's him. It's me. It's me and him. He tries, I try. He doesn't try. I try.  He tries, I don't try. Why are we even dancing when we don't speak the same language to begin with. Why can't we dance even though we speak the same love language.

He tells me he doesn't deserve me. I laugh. How do I tell him that because of him, I now don't deserve any better. Now that I know, how can I take my wounded heart to someone I love selflessly. How does he not understand. How selfish he is, until this day.

Or perhaps it's me.  He is not changing, I am.  

Why am I relying on words, actions and objects to fill this void in my heart when all I need is one look, one touch and one moment to fill it instantly.  It's overflowing, abundant, too right and perplexing all at the same time.