Loving Life

I am so thrilled with life. It's been quite busy, but being on maternity leave has brought such clarity.

I love working for NationBuilder - I never imagined having a job that so closely aligns with my vision for the world. 

I love being married to Chung-Mau Cheng.

I love being pregnant and am so looking forward to being a mom.

I'm so grateful that my parents came into town the first time I thought I was in labor and now will be here whenever our child arrives. 

Stay tuned - it's going to be an exciting month....

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Thou shalt not covet thy cousin's ticket to Ellen

I'm pregnant with our first child. CJ hopes for Ellen tixHe's healthy and I haven't had too many problems other than insomnia. I have the incredible fortune of sharing this first-time motherhood experience with my cousins - one is due six weeks before me, the other shares my due date.   

So what's the problem? Well, we all applied for the Ellen Show's Mother's Day special and only one of us has gotten a ticket.  

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Acknowledging the Ghost

For a long time, it seemed strange to allow voices in my head to speak their truths. Over the course of four years, I think I've finally grown to apple-honey.jpegunderstand what Rabbi Finley means when he talks about the Shadow Self. It's a part of you that will never go away. It contains suppressed desires and feeling, all the aspects of you that don't see the light of day on the "A" side. It's important to let the Shadow Self talk, not to repress it. 

Rabbi Finley's drash today at Wilshire Ebell Theatre really pierced my soul. Here are some excerpts from my notes:

You can only live one life at a time.

The Shadow is in the basement and is shouting all the time.

It is the ghost of lost and missed opportunities.

Tell your Shadow, "I understand your pain and angst. I can't let you give me advice on what to do. I will listen completely."

The goal is to understand all aspects of youbefore making a decision on how to live deeply, how to live with courage. By acknowledging the pain of the Shadow, you can move towards living without anger, shame, anxiety, and depression.

For me, hearing that the Shadow is the ghost of lost and missed opportunities made everything click. I've made a thousand different choices in my 3+ decades of life. I have deep regret over things I did while in the grip of my Shadow, yet simultaneously I know that following those paths led me to where I am today: the wife of the most incredible man I've ever met. Since we met at work, it's unlikely any other set of choices would have led me to where I am today. So I work hard to forgive myself. To recognize that the guilt is unuseful - I can't change the choices of the past, I can only choose to live a more meaningful, intentional life in the present and the future. 

For the next ten days, I'll be reflecting on the past with an eye towards penitance, but more importantly with an eye towards outlining my deepest wounds. By understand my core wounds, I'll be able to determine a path forward. Rather than repressing that angst, I'll elevate it to a place of holy sorrow. And I'll be able to remove it from the shadow's reliquary. My pain can become sustenance, nourishing me towards future growth. I must accept that missed opportunities were not meant to be in this life time. That my path today, though rockier and slower than I expected, is leading me towards a soul-expanding conversation with the Divine. And I choose to not allow the Ghost of Missed Opportunities to continue to haunt my psyche. 

The ghost is real, but she can no longer posess me. I choose a life of virtue, a life of rationality and strength. I know my fears and anxieties will lessen as soon as I stop allowing the Shadow to take hold of me in moments of weakness. 

Shana tovah. May your year be filled with goodness, hope, strength, and resiliance. 

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Sovereignty of the Divine

This has been a tumultuous year for me. I married my soulmate - clearly the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Des_IMG_9326.jpgWe went on an amazing honeymoon to Paris - easily my best vacation ever. 

And then, 1.5 weeks after we returned from that honeymoon, I was laid off. That wasn't just an economic bump in the road. That single act began a process that spiraled out of control. First, I started freaking out about all the last minute wedding costs I had put on my credit card (did I really need $1,000 worth of flowers, most of which were in the synagogue on the Shabbat before our wedding and I never saw again?) Did I really need to get all those facials before the wedding, spending gobs of money to make sure I looked okay in photographs when I married an art director who could easily remove any blemish from the photo? (Okay, this last one's a no-brainer. Yes, I "needed" them. I'm glad I looked my best at my wedding and I'm glad I took some time for myself to relax before the big day.)

The cracks in my life were bigger than monetary regrets. I had spent the weeks before our wedding focused on my work, specifically on helping Occupy LA be the best experience it could be. Was it worth it? Was it worth the thousand little things I didn't plan for before the wedding? Was it worth the stress I put on my beloved by not being fully present in the preparations for our big day? Absolutely not. There is no political activity in the world nor any work responsibility that deserves to take you away from your beloved and from fully experiencing the process that leads to your wedding. There simply isn't. I've been able to forgive myself a bit, but the regret lingers and I don't know if I'll ever fully heal this wound.

For some reason, losing my job also led to me losing my faith. There were misteps along the way to the wedding - the location of our reception was changed the Thursday before and that was something that took me a long time to get over. I stopped going to shul. Fearful of losing our home, I stopped paying for our temple membership. And for six months, I dug myself into a deeper and deeper depression, closed myself off from my spiritual community and began having long conversations with the dog because she was the only one around most of the time.

And then, tragedy struck.

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Makeup Is My Wig

On Twitter, Roger Ebert posted a link to his post about Talia, a twelve year-old cancer patient who vlogs makeup tips and cancer treatment. As a friend commented when I posted this on Facebook, she knows how to do makeup better than most people three times her age. And I love the idea of wearing makeup instead of a wig. Here's a super cute example: 

 

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The Act of Will

Robert Assagioli wrote an incredible little book about will, long before neuroscience gave us The Power of Habit or The Willpower Instinct.

The best thing about studying Assagioli is that it isn't difficult to read his writing. Its theme can be overwhelming; but the map to a coherent existence that it offers is priceless. Some of us yearn for a deeper existence and a life of meaning must be pursued consciously. By understanding the qualities of will, the types of will, and using will to harmonize our sensations, feelings, impulses, imagination, thoughts, and intuition we can lift ourselves to a higher realm of consciousness.

Assagioli's Relationship Between Self, Will and Other Psychological Functions

Assagioli's Relationship Between Self, Will and Other Psychological Functions

 

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