Before I begin dumping a bunch of contradicting self-discovery nonsense in this post, here’s a very simple yet quite entertaining video on how to meditate for ya’ll. It is simply about: focusing on breathing. I’ve realised how important just focusing on breathing is especially during this very challenging, emotional transition period. Meditating really isn’t serious nor religious, it’s just a way to stay calm and refresh. It helps me stay awake as much as it helps me sleep. I hope it could help you too.
For years I used to focus on one thing before bed to help me sleep, which is, focusing on the colour: Black. The simple reason for this is because it’s easier. Once you close your eyes, all you see is black. So seeing only the colour you need to think about makes it easier to revolve the brain around it. Every time my brain starts it’s before-bed-wandering-thinking-activity, I will step back and keep focusing on “black” and I’ll be knocked out in no time. Little did I know this was similar to meditating.
After I started taking a few classes of yoga, I learnt to focus breathing. In – open chest, out – close chest, and relax the space on your forehead and between your eyes. It is the reliever for stress and antidote for sleepless nights, believe me! The only exception where it might not work is if you have caffeine in your system.
How You Can Meditate Everywhere, Anytime | HuffPost RiseLearn meditation from this Buddhist master.
Posted by The Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Okay, so on to my long, boring and quite-personal soul searching shizz:
As most of my friends know now, I’ve taken a plunge out of my full-time, good and steady 8-5 office job into a world unknown. Yes, I often feel reckless because, no – I have no solid plans, I don’t have a brick and mortar business and I do not have anything to sell (yet). All I have is just my fragile little body and determined spirit to accept and complete small and large art commissions; plus a ton of ideas and inspiration to work on the side while I’m not “at work”.
Why is this scary? Because like in the lyrics of Lucas Graham, “Never rich so we were out to make that steady figure”. When you’re brought up in a typical traditional working class Chinese family, you probably would have been taught your whole life to work hard, be the best in everything and get a good, stable, professional job that’ll make sure you can eat every month and eventually have a family, get them all educated while having enough money as well to retire comfortably. So that was what I did, I took a study loan, got a Marketing degree in university and went to get a steady job. I never spent more than 2 weeks not studying or working since I could read. So if money/ stability or achieving dreams has never been a big issue in your life, you probably won’t relate to the rest of my sharing and could stop reading here.
But hey, doing your own thing is fun right? Well, if you really really, I mean, REALLY LOVE CHALLENGES, then, yes, it is VERY “fun”. There are many romantic thoughts vs the reality of working on your own/ starting your own business/ setting sail on the entrepreneur ship. Today, I shall share on one of the most common statements one could possibly hear with regards to self-employment. Because in reality, for most glamorous looking work, one has to endure crap to build it (think air stewards and award winning actors).
Lovely Thought on Being Your Own Boss #1: You can do what you like whenever you like. You will be free.
Reality: No one really tells you that “freedom” is not at all easy; it is in fact, a lot of hard work, and few would like that. Like a little lamb who left it’s pen and into the woods, you will be exposed to the unknown, you will be lost, you will be scared. Your freedom will come with a price of uncertainty. You know you want adventure and do not want to end up like the rest of the sheep in the pen, so you escape to the wild to find freedom. But to maintain this freedom, you will need to be “successful”. Being successful comes at many levels: to some, it is being able to get by as long as you’re doing something you choose; to others, it is making it Big. Whatever your aim may be, you and/or your business need to grown with time, if not, you will be left behind. In order to survive the wild, you will need to be sustainable by adapting, to be brave enough to take risks, to be disciplined enough to work hard, and to be committed enough to keep all these values up because, “success is not a sprint, it’s a marathon”. You have to be committed in order to stay “free”. In the words of Poet & Writer, Paulo Coelho:
“Freedom is not the absence of commitments,
but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.”
What I have experienced in the past couple of months: The unknown was what made it such a fearful decision for me. I knew I was going to be lost. I knew I wasn’t an expert in anything. Hence, it took me months to finally make my decision to board the ship that I’ve been spending so much time building for the past year. The fear even made me forget every now and then what I was working so hard for in the first place. I could easily spend all I have to temporary fun such as travel and buying things. But my thoughts of being free to do what I want with my time was still too strong. It became so addictive that throughout every passing day, I knew I had to do it eventually before I go mad. Now that I’m out here alone, in the middle of the sea, the uncertainty hasn’t really left – it’s merely under control. I’m in the early months of my wandering, and I often get shaken by waves of impatience and fear. Impatience because I haven’t succeeded. Fear that I won’t succeed. Very often, I will come along bigger ships, some are so big, connected and successful that they should be called an island. A lot of those ships are welcoming, they want you to abandon your ship and come aboard theirs, promising smoother sailing – an easier life. You just have to be dedicated to those ships and you’ll have little to fear. It really is easy to loose your focus and be tempted to board those glamorous ships and forget why you built one yourself. It is easy to leap on someone else’s island or copy someone else’s successful ship. But if you were true to yourself on your journey, if you’re a creative and want to build an island like no other, EASY is a very very very tempting but disastrous distraction.
There’s also the thought of people around you. People will question why you make the decisions you make, give up what you gave up or believe what you believed in. Most question out of concern, and even though you appreciate it, sometimes it gets tiring to explain. Especially when you don’t have any immediate outcome to justify your actions. It is like saying you would do something, but there is no outcome from what you are doing that is plain for everyone to see. This is why many have said that this is a very lonely journey – because no one else would really understand. Hence, having a just few very close nonjudgemental people for support and entertainment is something one will really treasure.
Out of all the 1,250 words written above you could say that I had a really tough time. But it really is a love-hate affair. Even though the words above cannot even begin to describe the amount of emotions and the number of posts I’ve written and cancelled because they’re so dark and nothing to be proud of at all, I am still trying and I’m glad things are getting a little more hopeful lately, making all the hardship worthwhile.
I’ll end this with a bunch of two cents’ for young aspiring creative entrepreneurs out there:
- You’re not alone. It’s nice to have help and surrounding yourself with other inspiring, energetic people.
- You’re tougher than you think you are.
- “Be foolish” doesn’t mean be really dumb and do silly risky things. It’s more to: don’t be afraid to be different, do things you feel is smart even though others don’t understand it, and that it’s okay at times to feel a little foolish from probable mistakes. Being able to criticise yourself helps you grow after all.
- Focus on your values.
- Be nice to everyone. Be humble. “There is always a taller mountain”. There is always something to learn from everyone. One of them might even be your lucky star.
- Keep an open, positive mind. There’s always something to learn from new strange requests, an unconventional way to do things or even criticism.
- “Just do it” doesn’t mean blindly doing whatever. It means just start by finding the first step that will take you towards what you think brings you value and happiness, and take it. One step at a time, be patient, be determined, and don’t give up.
- Be careful yet brave. Everyone is afraid of something, most of us hide behind an act called: Confidence.
- Think of how to always offer value to others.
- The easiest way out is not always the best way.
- There’s no right or wrong in doing things, there’s only ethical or unethical.
The next commonly used phrase I’ll probably talk about in the near future is Lovely Thought on Being Your Own Boss #2: “Since you’re good at it, just start your own business”. Because 1. You don’t JUST start a business without knowing a thing or two about it, and 2. If you’re good at it, you’d probably want to work that aspect, and not the business part of it. So think, research, and make reasonable plans before leaping on decisions. Then again, if you already jumped, the worse thing that could happen in life is actually death. As long as you’re alive and don’t give up on what you want to do, you haven’t failed yet. There is no age limit to achieving anything anyway, as long as you tried it, that will make all the difference.
Thank you for all the time spent here. It is not easy to admit weakness but it sure feels liberating to have moved pass each struggle and come out a little stronger. I’d love to hear your struggles and success stories too, email me if you have something constructive or relatable to share at [email protected] or just leave a comment.
Stay tuned for my weekly Saturday Art & Style posts! Ta!