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I received an unexpected phone call 2PM in the afternoon and I answered “Hi, this is Allan. How many I help you?”

A harsh voice on the other end started screaming at me.

“The quote is due in two hours. Why haven’t you email the quote out yet?”

“You know what, no excuses. I don’t want to hear any excuses from you. “

“There should be absolutely no reason why you can’t respond quicker.”

“This is the year-end buying cycle. You should be working 24 x 7 like the rest of us.”

“You need to respond sooner and faster.“

“No excuses. I will not have you give any. You need to do your job or I’ll recommend to your boss to fire you.”

“This is not acceptable. You got promoted and you need to do more work.“

“Get it done!” as one of the Sales Directors I support scolded at me.

I took a deep breath and wondered what just happened and why am I getting yelled at.

I have been working since 6:30 AM this morning on trying to get the quote go through the proper channel for the discount approval.

I know there is a deadline with the quote. I am actively working on it.

I am waiting for another Manager’s approval on discount before I can email this quote out. I have emailed and called that Manager several times. He promised to give me the approval within an hour.

I understand the urgency of this. I am on top of it. I don’t understand why he is berating me when things are moving forward. I don’t get it.

I said, “Can I pause you for a second here? I am not giving you any excuses. I just want to update you the situation. Is that ok?”

 The Director was still fuming and reluctantly said, “Yes.”

“I saw an email come in at 8:12PM last night from one of the Sales Reps and I responded at 10:16PM to let her know that I will take care of it first thing in the morning.”

“I woke up at 6:30, finished up the quote and sent it at 7:00 to another Manager for approval. I have been catching up with my workload with them and email until 1 AM this morning.”

“I don’t understand why I’m getting yelled at for responding quickly? I really don’t get it.”

The Director says, ”Email me with what you just said” and click, he hung up the phone.

I spent the next two hours putting together all of my evidence emails so that I can draft another email showing the reason why I had indeed responded in the appropriate amount of time. I shot the email off to that Director.

At the same time, I wondered, “If today is my last day on earth, is the job that I am doing worth me stressing over, losing sleep and feeling burnt out?”

“Is working 80+ hours a week, sacrifice my weekends, be on road living from hotel to hotel and flying all across the country worth it?”

 “Is there a higher purpose than just hitting my uber high sales unattainable sales quota and helping my Sales Reps and their Sales Director hitting their quota?

 The answers were all “No.”

“Then I am doing this just for what?”

“Is it for the money in exchange of my relationship with my family, my health and my happiness?”

“At the end, is it all worth it?”

 The answer was still “No.”

Go out and live your life today.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job quit. 

This is your life. Do what you LOVE and do it OFTEN! 

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Live.Love.Journey!

Almost exactly a year ago, I was crying my eyes out while my ex-girlfriend drove me to Los Angeles International Airport. 

As a man, I can count the number of times when I broke down and cry uncontrollably with only five fingers.

I said to myself, “Be strong Allan. Things will get better. Just get through today and tomorrow is another day.” I repeated that mantra over and over to help me get through that day.

“Where did our relationship go wrong? Have I done my best and gave her everything,” I asked myself.

My inner voice said, “You have given your all and you have done your best. You gave her everything and done you could have. That is something you should be proud of.”

I was really torn. I was really broken.

My heart was in pieces as I left LAX wearing a pair sunglass at night for the first time. I didn’t want the world to see me like this, weak and fragile.

I was free falling towards depression and I knew I needed to somehow pick myself up fast because I support my mom and dad and I still have a hectic corporate job to do.

I needed to stop the bleeding so the very next day, I went to a power yoga session. I felt physically better after class, but I know my heart was still mangled.

Many times throughout the day, I would feel all sorts of heavy emotions from getting very angry, to missing her, to wondering what went wrong. This perpetual figure eight loop keeps circling over and over in my head.

The worst part was that I still have to work 14 hour days and on weekends to catch up. Heck, I even had to work during Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas writing statement of work.

By January of this year, I was burnt out with my super stressful job. Last year, I had logged in over 75 hotel nights and over 80,000 airline miles for work. Everything about me fell apart.

I asked my Manager to take time off from work. He gracefully supported my decision.

I felt like I had to get away from everything so that I have a better perspective. I took that opportunity and traveled so that I could pick up the pieces of my heart and to get away from ever piling emails.

I booked a one-way ticket from San Francisco to Savusavu Fiji, Sydney Australia, Ubud Bali, and Heifei China. It was a one and half-month trip and I’m not sure where I wanted to go after China.

Even thought I was suffering in deep depression and burn out, I committed myself to help people that came across my path.

I met many amazing people that simply needed someone to listen to and I was there to help support them if they wished. I asked for nothing in return.

I met a dog trainer who lost her dog, her best friend.

I met a man who’s parents looked down on what he loves to do in life.

I met a mother that was extremely depressed.

I met a dad that was overwhelmed with his job and didn’t know what to do.

I met a father who beats his wife because he felt trapped and angry.

I met a yoga teacher that could use a little confidence.

I met a woman that is working on her depression after a divorce.

I met a woman that finally forgive her brother after 20+ years

And I have met many others.

The profound thing was that I saw bits and pieces of myself in everyone that I had helped out.

The best part was that I met a young man who’s passion is to spread love and joy.

I learned that his mission in life is to inspire others to spread love and joy to their family, love ones, friends and even random strangers. Together everyone can make a difference in the world, one person at a time.

I found that young man in my heart. By serving the amazing people that I have met and by giving them my unconditional love, I was able to help heal my heart in return.

This year, I found what I was made of.

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Live.Love.Journey!

“No,” I did not reach enlightenment as the title might indicate. Well, sort of. I have received some insights but it’s not exactly holy. It is more of a hole to be exact.

Recently in the last few months, I have been finally able to do better balancing handstand poses now that I feel a lot stronger. I also feel like I can push myself a little more and learn to teeter around the edge a bit.

When my yoga teacher said to get into tripod headstand, I was a bit hesitant because of the previous neck injury caused by headstand two years ago. The pose caused bad compression on my neck and it took months for my Chiropractor to realign me.

Fast-forward two years later and here I feel like I am stronger now and I want to give headstand another shot. I had setup my arms like dolphin pose and gently rested the top of my head against my mat. Once I found the sturdiness of the pose, I slowly used my core to bring up my legs. I was also very mindful of not compressing my neck again, so I concentrated on the lifting part of the neck and spine. To my surprise, I was able to get up and balance with ease, well for a few seconds anyways.

“So far, so good,” I thought to myself.

Next thing I know, I felt the weight shifting forward and started to tip over to the front of my mat. The problem is that I know exactly what I am going to collide into. It was a large stereo amplifier with a bunch of sharp knobs.

What I heard next was a loud bang against the metal box after drop kicking it with my right knee and the other students’ loud gasps. I recovered from my fall and my yoga teacher immediate comes to me and asked if I was ok.

I felt fine and didn’t feel much pain so I just laughed it off and said, “I’m ok!”

I slowed everything down to assess the fall and I looked around my right knee since I did feel a bit of pain. To my surprise, I saw a dime size hole in my right leg, about ½ inch from my right knee cap.  I also noticed blood all over my mat, and some blood droplets near the stereo as well.

“It looks pretty bad,” my yoga teacher said.

From my Army medical training days, the first thing I did was to stop the bleeding. I grabbed my hand towel and firmly pressed it against the laceration. From there, I walked to the near by medical kit, taped myself up with gauze and medical tape and went back to the class to pack my things up. Then I rode off on my motorcycle and headed from the nearest hospital.

Since I had a few hours to kill at the hospital, I decided to reflect what just happened so here I am at the ER writing this blog on my phone.

I remember one of my favorite trainers, Scott Harris from Tony Robbins, talked about his concept “Feather, Brick, Truck.”

What does feather, brick, and truck have to do with my injury?

I have been experiencing some tenderness in my wrist from doing too many arm balance poses in the last few months and the soreness from my wrists are trying to tell me something. This is known as feather. It also doesn’t help that I am typing away for months now on a non-ergonomic laptop. I have noticed the pain in my wrist but I have been kind of ignoring it. Key word is “ignoring ” it.

“If you don’t pay attention to the feathers in your life, then you’ll get hit by a brick,” Scott says.

Bam, I get a deep laceration on my right kneed or AKA brick.

Since I understand feather, brick, truck, I realized what my body is trying to tell me. If I really don’t pay attention after this incident and continue to do what I’m doing, I will eventually experience truck and that will be some kind of a major injury.

I am fortunate that I did not injure my tendon or I will really be out of commission for a while. Even though I kept a real positive attitude by smiling all the way to the ER, I need to take care of my body. Due to this knee injury, I won’t be able to do yoga or chi gong for a while.  I also limp around my house from one chair to another and I can’t go out for a walk or drive my car or my motorcycle.

It’s the little things that we take for granted that we should always appreciate.

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Live.Love.Journey.

I went to a social gathering recently of the non yogi type with my Om necklace and I had quite a few people asking me “Are you 30 years old because your necklace says 3 – 0.”

“Thank you for asking. I am not 30 years old. I bought this necklace from my recent trip to Bali in early March of this year and it is a sign of Om, the Universal sound,” as I said and smiled warmly.

Then one of the girls said, ”Om, That’s interesting. No pun intended…”

I laughed and we went on talking about life in general, and living life.

After that night, I went home and reflected my journey thus far with “Om.” My thoughts brought me back three years ago when I was going through my 200 hours of yoga teacher training and why “Om” and chanting became an intricate part of my yoga practice.

One of our mentors, who falls under the Iyengar lineage, had us not only chant “Om” but also chant a gazillion invocations and another gazillion Patanjali sutras for twenty minutes before we start our physical asana practice. In the beginning, I dreaded these chants and sometimes I even felt restless as we went through the songs.

“What’s the point of chanting?” as I asked my friend who had previously attended the yoga teacher training.

She said, “For what it’s worth, just explore the sounds and vibrations in your body when you chant.”

For the first month of chanting, I thought it was useless and that we should just skip all of the “Num, num, yum, yum” sounding vowels as none of it made sense to me. I even tried to avoid my mentor’s classes because I just did not like chanting.

For me, chanting Sanskirt was not only hard to enunciate, but I couldn’t understand any of the meanings behind what I was chanting for. There is translation right below each chant, but I was also too lazy to look into the meaning so I never really took the time to understand what I was chanting to.

Worst part was that our mentor highly suggested us chanting as a part of our finals before graduating as a yoga teacher.

“Oh did I dread chanting…” I thought to myself. I kicked and fought chanting, in silence, the whole way through my yoga teacher training.

Something happened during the third month of the teachers training. When we finish chanting The Invocation to Patanjali with “Hari Om – my salutations to Thee,” my mind felt at ease. I felt like a sense of relief, a soothing energy that flowed from the top of my head, down my heart, and permeated to my entire body.

I felt whole and centered – one heart, one soul, one mind, one body, and all together as one. There was nothing to be attached to. The list of what I wanted – new car, new gadgets, new clothes, more money, etc, all went out of the window. I felt lighter, less stressed, blissful, content, and happy just where I am. I don’t need to keep up with “The Jones” and I didn’t need to have million dollars to be happy. I was no longer suffering from perpetual wants and needs of material things.

Instead, I am thankful for what I have in life. My family is in good health. I am in good health. I also have some amazing friends, teachers, and many more amazing people who I will meet along the way.

Was there something in your life that you did not enjoy doing in the beginning but somehow you stuck with it, and now it is a part of your life? I love to hear from you about your story as well.

“Hari Om. Nameste” – my salutation to Thee. I see the divine in you, and you see the divine in me.

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Live.Love.Journey.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you are a millionaire. How would you feel? Would you think you might be happier if you had a million dollars? Perhaps some of us are not happy with being a millionaire by today’s monetary standards. Instead, “I want to be a Billionaire so freakin bad…” according to a song from a popular pop artist.

Last night, I felt like a millionaire. I had $1.8 million cash on hand. No joke! “No”, I was not in Vegas, and “No” I was not trafficking drugs. I pulled the money straight from an ATM machine. For a brief moment, I felt like I was on the top of the world. I felt financially secured and happy. I felt like I didn’t have to worry about money for a long time. I was in heaven. “Yes,” that was my ego mind thinking.

I also thought about how I could serve and help people with that money. I started to dream of doing endless philanthropy work, serving those that are in need and reaching out to different parts of the world one person at a time. A wealthy person once told me that, “Money is nothing more than a form of energy. You can always receive and give more energy than one will ever need.”

Some people believe that money is scarce so they hoard money. They believe that they will never have enough money so they keep trying to fill this bottomless pit with their desire and ambition for money. There is term in Chinese called, “The Hungry Ghost.” This Hungry Ghost has a stomach that is enlarged like a huge terracotta drum with a neck as thin as a needle. The ghost has a ferocious appetite, but he can barely swallow anything down his thin needle neck. He suffers much as his life never seems fulfilling and he constantly wants more and more. He is perpetually hungry.

Money is more like oxygen. There isn’t a lack of money as if there is a lack of oxygen. Air will always be there as long as take care of our mother earth. Money will be there as long as we take care of ourselves – mentally, spiritually, physically, and serving others. I choose to live in a world of abundance, not scarcity.

Yes I did have $1.8 million last night, although I’m down to $1.2 million today. How did I spend $600K in one day you ask? I went out with my friends and had a few nice meals through out the day. I had filled up the empty gas tank in my rented Honda scooter. I had bought an Om symbol t-shirt from a yoga boutique shop. I also had a 1.5 hour Esalen massage, the kind without happy endings thank you very much.

By the way, $1.8 million in Bali Rupee is roughly about $200 USD. My point is that we can all feel like millionaires by feeling contempt, and grateful even without the money. Money is important to survive. How we serve with that money I believe is even more important.

Use this energy well, my friends.

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Live.Love.Journey!

 

I had attended one of Jennifer Prugh’s Foundation of Flow/Meditation class recently and the theme to her class was to dedicate the practice to someone we know who is suffering and to wish them well.

I had asked my heart to whom I should dedicate this session to and he reminded me of a recent road rage incident. Gordo, a nickname whom I have given to the middle age Mexican man, taught me a life lesson about compassion and forgiveness.

A few weeks ago, I was driving my Nissan, “The Un-Prius,” as I called my 15 miles per gallon V8 truck, on the freeway heading going home. I usually have the music blasting to the tunes of my favorite Black Eye Peas songs while driving. However, I wanted some peace and quiet that day because I was really angry. I wanted to calm my mind through silence and breathing and that was when my rage boomerang back at me.

As I exited off the freeway, I looked up my rear view mirror and noticed a dinged up 1975 silver Toyota Celica fast approaching me. When he came close enough for me to see his face, I saw a Hispanic man in his early 40s screaming and waving his arms ecstatically and yelling at me.

My first thought was, “Is he trying to warn me that there is something wrong with my vehicle because I have a flat tire?”

I had ignored him and continue to drive after the light turned green. At the second stop light, I saw the mid age man screaming at me again and now I know for sure he was upset at me.

I thought to myself, “What the heck did I do to you? I was minding my own business. Truly you got the wrong person. So what gives?”

When we both came to a full stop at the red light, Gordo got out of his car, started to run towards me with his large belly giggling up and down. He got right next to my car door and started screaming something in Spanish as he stood in the middle of the street. I told him, “I do not understand what you are saying and if I cut you off, I’m really sorry.”

Gordo did not care what I had to say even if he could understand me. Just then he wound up his left arm getting ready to punch me through the driver window. During that split second, I wanted to punch him first to protect myself. However, for some reason, my heart told me not to extend my arm because he wasn’t angry. He was just really hurt inside.

Something strange happened. He unwound his fist, withdrew his anger, and walked back to his car. When the light turned green, I drove off and continued to send thoughts of compassion and forgiveness to him.

Before Jennifer’s class, I didn’t understand why Gordo was so upset at me other than I might have cut him off on the freeway. After the meditation session, I had another prospective where that Toyota might have been Gordo’s only transportation, and he might not have auto insurance let alone medical insurance. If one does not have auto insurance in California, the driver is at fault and will also lose his driver’s license.

If Gordo had gotten into a car accident, he would have lost his driving privilege by three years, and not have the money to repair his car. If he was hurt from the accident, he won’t be able to cover his medical expenses. More importantly, he may be the only breadwinner in his family supporting his wife and three kids. If he is injured, who will be supporting his family?

I realized that underneath the anger, he was really afraid and hurt. Everyone has his or her own suffering underneath it all. Often times we use anger as a façade to protect ourselves as a form of self-defense mechanism.

When we are in an angry state, we are walking through life as if we have blinds covering the side of our eyes like the horses pulling the carriage in New York’s Central Park. We only see what is wrong with our lives and what is wrong with others and nothing else.

When we’re in that un-resourceful state, we blind ourselves from gratitude, compassion and forgiveness that empower us. The feeling of hate just makes us bitter in life, a life that hurts everyone around us, and even random strangers.

“Choose gratitude, compassion and forgiveness,” my heart says.

Spread Love, Joy, and…Peace.

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Live.Love.Journey!