It’s been a few months since I’ve written here on my blog and I’m happy to be typing these words to revisit it again. As some of you know, I was in China for six weeks as a founding facilitator for the World Academy for the Future of Women. It is a new empowerment and leadership program we piloted at the SIAS University in Xinzheng in the Henan Province. I left on April 14th and came home on May 24th. It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been home for 3 and a half weeks. The first few weeks was about getting over the very brutal jet lag trying to adjust back to LA time and LA life. After a lot of sleeping and taking afternoon naps I am finally feeling normal again.
It was my intention to blog about my experience while I was there but I experienced my first cultural difference where as my website was blocked. I’ll be talking about some other cultural differences as well as basic human similarities in another entry. I had a student install a proxy for me on my computer that allowed me to access my site, Facebook and Twitter for about two weeks but decided to stop working when it felt like it. Even when it did it was extremely slow. So I did write about my experience every night while I was in China but those Word documents are saved in a file on my computer that I not so secretly named. Although I caught up with everything else I had wanted to do since I’ve been home, getting back into blogging has been a struggle. Mostly because there is so much I want to share about those six weeks but I just didn’t know where to start.
Apart from updating my blog, some other goals I had once I got home was to start getting certified in Reiki of which I completed my Reiki I today, go on many walks and play fetch with my dog, and get my body back in shape. I’ve been diligent about going to yoga, walking to the local 24 Hr. Fitness, doing Tao Bo in my living room and I’ve even taken a Richard Simmons class which was so much fun! So now for my blog…
Since I’m still trying to figure out where to even start in sharing about my experience, I thought I would at least share the speech I gave at the Women’s Symposium my last two days at SIAS. There were key note speakers, breakout sessions and there were over five thousand students who attended. Rather than lecturing, I gave my “speech” as part of a discussion where I asked the Freshmen who were most of my audience, how they would define themselves if someone asked them “who are you?” We talked about beliefs they have about themselves, and how to create their future using SMART Goals and creating future memories. That was the most fun since the word “memory” itself reflects something usually interpreted as that which has already happened in the past.
Thank you for reading and if you can imagine the kind of potential conversations were stirred up during those few hours of interaction with Chinese students and teachers. It was a lot of fun. I look forward to doing it again next year.
Introduction I gave:
For the past 6 weeks, I have been participating in The World Academy for the Future of Women, a program that is designed to assist women in finding their identity as leaders. This powerful program helps the participants to truly know what their values and personal passions are. It teaches them how to use their individual uniqueness and special qualities, to inspire others to take action, and to implement change that will affect everyone in a positive way.
As a facilitator in the World Academy for Women I have had the opportunity and pleasure to get to know these courageous women and to be a part of their personal growth. Along side them I too have experienced my own growth as I believe we are all each other’s students and teachers. I have worked with the Academy members to express their purpose and passion for the work and projects they want to lead in life.
I did this by teaching them to use the power of their voice. I also taught them the importance of understanding their emotions and how to connect feelings to their physical body. These skills will help them to be effective speakers and to have the confidence in being able to powerfully inspire an audience.
The Key to Defining Your Identity
In the past, if someone were to ask me “how would you define your identity?” I would have defined myself by what I do for work or facts used to describe myself. I am a woman, I am a working Sales Professional, I am a certain age, I am single, I am living in San Francisco, and I have brown curly hair. What I know now is that I am more than just these few descriptions.
Have you ever felt as though you wasted time or made bad choices? In the past, I used to feel that way in many different areas of my life. Such as when it came to jobs I had, roommates I lived with, friends I spent time with, and men I went on dates with. I also regretted things I said in past conversations and wrong opinions I had of other people. I even regretted driving on the highway at a certain time of the day after having been in a car accident.
An expression we sometimes use in America is, “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.” When we think certain thoughts, or use the power of our language, it’s important to choose your words wisely. This is because you just might experience what it is you are thinking or projecting what may happen to you, almost as if it becomes a prediction.
By changing my perspective and acknowledging that certain events didn’t just happen to me, that I was a part of the creation of those events, I now feel empowered. To understand that I have the power to make choices in my life in any given moment, gave me the key to creating my life with intention. With this new way of thinking, if you were to try it yourself, it may change your experience by no longer seeing yourself as a victim to events or circumstances.
This theory may challenge the idea of “luck” or the idea that certain people are “lucky.” By believing in luck, you are also possibly saying that one person deserves luck whereas someone else doesn’t. I’ve heard some people say that you are either born lucky or you’re not. That doesn’t leave much opportunity to change during a person’s life. What if the people who are seen as lucky just knew how to create what happens in their life?
To define your identity is to ask the question, “Who am I?” Most people live a simple life by staying in their safe box or “comfort zone.” They don’t challenge themselves to do things beyond what they would normally do. They also don’t usually challenge themselves to think differently than they usually do. The question, “are you a leader or a follower?” also is a question that helps to answer how you would define your identity.
It is true that we are sometimes a leader and sometimes a follower depending on the situation. When it is not okay to be a follower is when you use it as your reason to stay in your safe box or “comfort zone.” To define yourself as a leader is to admit that you have the power to create your life moment by moment. By calling yourself a leader in your own life, you also recognize that you have the ability to be an example to others, and that you can have a positive influence on others. What you’ll also then discover is that you are more than your professional career and physical characteristics.
I started to discover what I learned. With each job, I learned skills I could use the rest of my life in different contexts. With each roommate I had I learned how to get along with many different personalities, how to communicate and how to listen, and how to resolve conflicts. With the friends I have had throughout my life, I learned what my own fashion style is, how to be myself, how to have fun, and when to support someone else emotionally when something bad happened to them. I can also now define what “friendship” means to me.
From men that I dated, I learned the difference between masculine and feminine energy and what each of them mean. I learned how to ask for help, how to allow myself to receive help, and that I have a large capacity to love. I also now know what my values are and what is important to me in a relationship.
From the car accident, I learned something really powerful about myself. I learned that when an event such as a car accident happens, it’s usually because you are resisting something. What I realized was that I was resisting my life purpose. My purpose is to use my life experiences and the lessons from those experiences, as a way of inspiring other people to make powerful changes in their own life.
If someone were to ask you how you would define your identity, what would you tell them? If you imagine that your life now, is a compilation of all the good and the bad experiences you have ever had, and there are no mistakes, only valuable lessons, how would that affect the way you look at your life in this moment? If you stop wishing that some events in your life never happened, you could simply free yourself of any regret. The result would be your appreciation of everything you have ever experienced in your life and the gift each experience has given you.
What I know now is that I am a daughter, I am a sister, I am a good friend, and I am a mentor. I am consciousness, I am evolution, I am creativity, and I am expression. Some of the most successful people in the world practice using visualizations, where they create pictures in their mind, about what they want and desire in life. It’s like telling a story that hasn’t happened yet. Who would you like to be? Tell that story and let the desire of your future define you.