Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sometimes music really fits the mood...and vice versa

It's that peculiar time of year when it's almost spring but definitely not quite, and though I do understand the necessity of winter, I am sooo over it and ready to feel consistent sunlight and warmth! I'm beyond excited to spring forward on March 10th!

Moreover, I'm having the hardest time trying to figure out why it's so cold in this here Starbucks when it's also cold outside! I can't focus on reviewing for my midterm right now because of this. So, instead I think about the sun, and sand and waves, and I feel warmer. Then, I listen to this song on repeat because it fits the mood I'm in. And, that's when I realize two things: 1. Pandora has filled my life with so much music throughout these years, it is seriously one of the best things ever. And, 2. It's awesome how there can be a song for every mood you're in! Music can literally take you back to a distinct memory or move you forward to a future reality. It's so mystical and wonderful. Don't you agree?

Anyhoo, it's not Music Monday, but please do enjoy this tune from one of my favorite bands Tennis!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Music Monday #5

I was born in the, I'm a grew up being a Spice Girls fan. Not ashamed. And, yes, I did own Spice World - one of my favorite movies when I was 8. I was always Mel C, y'know - Sporty Spice, when we acted like the Spice Girls, but I digress because I think you get the point.

Spice Girls fan or not, I think everyone can appreciate the sentiment of this Monday's song: "Never Give Up on the Good Times". You can probably tell from the title why I feel this song captures the essence of finding a better way. So, enjoy!

Favorite Line: "Living it up is a state of mind" 

I  like this line of the chorus because it reminds me that your outlook totally determines your how you proceed through any circumstance. For example, you can feel exhilarated and like you're "livin' it up" even if you're not living in your dream city working your dream job. It's all about how you look at it. I give you all permission to have a mini-dance party of one (or two or more if you can!) while listening to this song today. Live it up!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Half-Year Blog-iversary!

I started this blog on December 22, 2011, but I gave it rebirth in a big way on August 21, 2012 thanks to a few encouraging voices with whom I spent one unforgettable summer experience in Texas. That makes February 21, 2013 somewhat of a half-year anniversary? Is there such a thing? I think there is. So, I would like to propose an imaginary toast to this blog and you supporters!

When I first made the decision to blog consistently, I felt a couple of different emotions. One overarching emotion was ineptitude. I felt that I wasn't really worthy of being a blogger. The blogs that continuously inspire me are truly state of the art. I thought, "Seriously, how could I jump into this talented pool? How could I compete?"

And, it wasn't until now, really, that I've found a suitable answer for those impossible questions of doubt.

Truly, how could I not?

How could I not jump into something that gives me life and fulfills my passion to share and communicate with others? The truth is we all have something worthy of offering to others.

Secondly, I'm realizing, this is not a competition. When you pursue your passions in life at all costs, it's not about outdoing someone else. The only thing you're really competing with is that inner doubtful voice that isn't sure you can do it. Listen to your inner confident voice, and you'll win every time.

So, happy half-year blog-iversary to me and to you, my friends!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A little dose of inspiration for the day

Sometimes I use quotes as my desktop background. This is one I used during junior year. I just felt like sharing it today - it's a good one!

Oh, and also another quote has been in my head all morning, so I'm sharing that, too. Not sure if I've posted it before or not....actually, I'm pretty sure I've referenced this quote before, but I found it in its poem format, and I like it better, so there.

Always We Hope
~ Lao Tzu

Always we hope
someone else has the answer,
some other place will be better,
some other time,
it will turn out.

This is it.

No one else has the answer,
no other place will be better,
and it has already turned out.

At the center of your being,
you have the answer:
you know who you are and
you know what you want.

There is no need to run outside
for better seeing,
nor to peer from a window.
Rather abide at the center of your being:
for the more you leave it,
the less you learn.

Search your heart and see
the way to do is to be.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Music Monday #4

Today's tune is one of my all-time favorite oldies. Adapted from the passage in the Bible book of Ecclesiastes, the chill chords of The Byrds remind us that there's a time and place for everything. In a way, it inspires me to find a better way to cope with disappointments. My mindfulness teacher wrote an article that captures this idea of letting go in order to suffer less. I love this idea. I love this song.

Favorite Line: "A time for peace; I swear it's not too late"

Peace my people!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Academic Inferiority

Recently, I had an all-too-familiar experience that has sparked me to write about feeling inferior in the academic setting. Now, I don't claim to be an educational psychology expert nor an expert of any kind. The following thoughts are simply based on my own personal experiences.

The Conflict
Taking a challenging course - such as, Calculus, Physics, Organic Chemistry, etc - can be challenging for various reasons. The content in these courses are not only incredibly complex to grasp, but they also build upon each other rapidly. Above all, most of the time, the general overview of the concepts are interesting, but the knitty-gritty details are terribly uninteresting. And, the most challenging of all is when the professor or a lab partner or even study partner breezes through the material as you still struggle to climb up the steep learning curve.

That's where the inferiority kicks in.

Then, the doubts start to seep in, slowly but surely. "Perhaps, my brain just doesn't work this way." or "Maybe I don't want to pursue this career." or "I must've missed something in high school/undergrad/life because these concepts are just not intuitive for me!"

Now, I'm experiencing this same discomfort in graduate classes. However, just like Calculus or anything else, certain courses are prerequisites, a.k.a. necessary evils. So, they must be taken, regardless if I like it or not. So, I feel that a certain principle must be learned here to stop the cycle of academic inferiority.

From a Historical Perspective 
If we take a brief, noncontroversial stroll through history, I think we can all agree that there's been a common struggle in the academic setting. Minorities and women have often sought equality in the classroom. Now, of course, amazing progress has been made and I thankfully have never had to literally fight laws for my education. However, I mention this struggle here because I feel that subconsciously, I have carried knowledge of that struggle as a charge. It's a charge for me (a minority and a woman) to ensure that those who  fought for me to receive this education didn't do so in vain. Now, that's a lot of pressure to make an 'A' to put on one person, I understand - but it's a subconscious belief. Years of being told that "you're smart" and "you have potential" and "a mind is a terribly thing to waste" all culminate to avoiding perceived failure at all costs. So, when that professor or lab partner speed ahead and leave me behind and make clever statement regarding the need for me to study more, I feel this subconscious pressure that I need to hurry up and catch up. I feel that confidence being shaken by doubtful inner voices. And, emotion can trump all logic at times, if you let it.

Two powerful quotes come to mind when I feel this tinge of inferiority:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Elanor Roosevelt 


"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. ... We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson, adapted by the movie Coach Carter [abridged]

These quotes illuminate a truth: inferiority can be a perception in the mind. I talked about how inferiority feels but I can choose not to feel that way. Rather, I can take on the perspective that I just haven't taken the right approach in tapping into my innate potential to succeed in whatever challenging course. So, you take a different approach, try another tactic, until you find the approach that works congenially with you. I get the feeling that this principle extends way past the classroom and works well in many challenging life experiences.

This reminds me of taking a mindful approach to discomfort that one may feel while meditating in a seated position. You acknowledge the discomfort. You don't try to change it immediately, but rather you breathe through it because, after all, all suffering is only temporary.
Final Word
I posted a few days ago a compilation of a few of my favorite TED Talks. Another awesome quote from Sarah Kaye's 'If I Should Have A Daughter...' speech noted that she "uses poetry to help [her] work through what [she doesn't] understand." I think this quote resonates with me so much because it's the same way I approach blogging. There's plenty of concepts (like this one of academic inferiority) that I have not quite conquered. In fact, I don't think I'll ever quite conquer these complex concepts; I don't think we're supposed to. We're just supposed to progress and get better things. So, writing about life's complexities allows me to discover different facets of the these concepts. And, it helps me to work through the frustration, the confusion. I guess it helps me to simply "light up the darkness" (Bob Marley).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Music Monday #3

I figured it'd be good to start archiving all these chill songs. So, just for review:

Music Monday is all about me sharing some of my most favorite songs that reflect the essence of finding a better way!

Monday, January 28, 2013: "Nobody Right, Nobody Wrong" - Michael Franti

Monday, February 4, 2013: "Instead" - Madeleine Peyroux

And, today, I give you: "Life is Life" by Noah and the Whale

I first heard this song during the summer that I decided to not be pre-med anymore. Granted, I changed my mind and am currently preparing for the MCAT, so that's about as pre-med as you can get, but that's not the point. The point is this: when you make any resolute decision for your own life, it feels like a rebirth, a fresh new beginning. Even if all roads lead you back to where you were, I still feel like there's something admirable and necessary about making decisions and confidently following through, even if you are uncertain.

Favorite line from the song: "Your life, is your life, gotta live like it's your life!"

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Obsessed with Ted Talks...

Hey guys! So, I'm not sure if I've ever really shared this on the blog before, but I'm kinda sorta obsessed with TED Talks. I mean, "surprise, surprise", right? - coming from the girl who listens to graduate speeches in her not-so-spare time. I picked up this hobby during my senior year, as well - thanks to Hulu. And, the obsession has continued thanks to YouTube and

 I simply love inspiration. 

And, I definitely soak up those 'ideas worth spreading'! So, in the same spirit of the previous compilation post, I give you a few of my favorite TED Talks!

Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do
Favorite Line: "When it comes to fulfillment - that's an art. It's about appreciation, and it's about contribution."

Kathryn Schulz: On Being Wrong
Favorite line: "I thought this one thing was gonna happen, but something else happened instead. And the thing is, we need this."

Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ...
Favorite lines - couldn't choose just one: "There are plenty of things that I have trouble understanding, so I write poems to figure things out." AND "It's about gathering up all the knowledge and experience you've collected, up to now, to help you dive into the things you don't know" 

Feel the inspiration.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Beautiful New Discovery!

You guys. I have just quite literally stumbled upon an incredibly inspiring website! I was just casually on Holstee's Facebook page, one click led to another, and I ended up here. PARADISE.

Please, please, please visit the website to learn more, but if I had to sum it up in a nutshell: The Bright Side Project stirs within us that fiery passion that we all have the capacity to tap into.

This is the vibe I get from just the initial perusal, and I certainly can't wait to uncover more!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Becoming a Better Yoga Student

Ever since I took Beginner's Yoga as a Freshman, I have wanted to add 'yoga instructor' as another tool in my belt of talents. I just absolutely admired the eloquence with which a yoga instructor could lead a group into a beautiful practice of ancient yoga moves. This obsession to become an instructor hit its peak when I led a 10-minute group yoga exercise on a retreat with my church group last spring, and even more so when I briefly got to share some posture as a camp counselor this past summer. In these moments, I just felt absolutely certain that I could actually become an instructor! However, being the poor recent college grad that I am, of course I can't afford to get the proper training or certification right now...nor anytime in the foreseeable future. This realization set in hard earlier last fall. And, honestly, I haven't practiced much since then.

Tonight, for the first time in a long time, I resumed my practice with a local instructor at my neighborhood fitness center. This location is not as critically acclaimed as some other places in this big city, but I just loved the fact that our group was somewhat tucked away and left to privately practice this ancient art. I thoroughly enjoyed the session, and it made me realize that perhaps I hadn't fully embraced the idea of being a yoga student

I have been so focused on being an instructor this past year that even when I did practice alone in my room, I would do so as if in front of an audience. I would think to myself, "You should describe it to them this way" or "Maybe don't use that phrase, it takes too many breaths". So wrapped up in this inner dialogue, was I actually experiencing my own yoga practice? Maybe a little bit...but not really. 

Taking the lofty goal of yoga instructor off the table for now, perhaps, I can be more content in the position that I am - the student, ever-learning and ever-practicing. For now, I have indeed found a better way for approaching my yoga practice. Perhaps there's something in your life that you haven't been fully embracing due to staring at a loftier goal. Not that anything about your lifestyle has to drastically change, but maybe looking from a different perspective might ease some unconscious tension and do you some good. Just a thought.

Oh, and of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't share these beautiful reminders the instructor emphasized throughout the session:

Don't Force Anything, Relax and Be Still for a While, and Just Keep Breathing

See how seamlessly yoga tips can fit into everyday life? I mean, seriously, aren't the above, boldface phrases words to live by! 

Loving all this yoga-intertwined-into-life talk? Be sure to check out this post by Jenny Blake. It's just SUCH truth! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Finding a Better Way Web Series? I think yes.

Soo...I miss talking to cameras. Thus, Finding a Better Way is going to YouTube! This web-series is just going to be a series of little interviews that feature different, inspiring people who have found a better way of doing things. Times when I can't find someone to interview, I'll just give my own two cents. It's all about finding a better way! So, I've started a list and am open to suggestions!

Possible Topics:
  • Finding a better way to ... express yourself through music
    • I'm talking to the first inspiring local artist I find!
  • Finding a better way to advance my career
    • I know a young woman who is motivated and well on her way to fulfilling your professional goals - she's found her better way! 
  • Finding a better way to... reminisce
    • Ever find yourself getting lost in thoughts of yesteryear? Or picture-gazing and profile-peeking on Facebook?? There must be a way to balance the fond memories without longing for them to come back.
  • Finding a better way to...modernize health care
    • Yes, I have a friend who has done this and she is awesome - you'll see!
And, there'll be many, many more! For now, enjoy this impromptu "welcome video"!
 By the way, do you not LOVE that painting?! I love that painting.