Category Archives: Unplanning

Quitting the Year of Quitting

Well it’s been a good run. I’ve learned a lot. But now it’s time to end the Year Of Quitting and Unplanning Project. I might write more about what I’ve learned later. But right now I don’t feel like it.

Part of the point was to get rid of some of the things that don’t serve me to make space for the things that do and discern which things I really want to keep in my life. I’ve minimized my activities to the point where it’s time to start adding things back in. So that’s what I’m focusing on for now and for the rest of the year as I transition to a new phase of my life.

Unplanning Abundance

This month’s #unplanning task is not planning where my money is going to come from. For the last 7 months I’ve been coasting quite cushily on savings. Now it’s time to get back to the daily grind and make some dough. I already have a few part time jobs lined up, but I don’t have a complete idea of where all my money is going to be coming from. I’m trying not to worry about it though because I’m trusting in the idea of abundance.

One of my core desired feelings for the year is abundance. (I’ll have to write more about core desired feelings in a future post.) Basically abundance is the idea that there is more than enough out there. More than enough money. More than enough opportunities. More than enough job prospects. More than enough love. More than enough time. More than enough.

So when I go through my day, I try to remind myself to live from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. For example, when I’m trying to keep to my budget, sometimes I get to the end of the week and think I can’t spend a single won more on fruit or snacks, etc. But sometimes I just need to splurge on some bananas for myself. I remind myself in those times that I do have enough. And I deserve a banana, dammit. (Yes, these are the types of conversations I really have with myself in my head.)

Abundance is closely tied to the idea of synchronicity. Synchronicity is the idea that there is a force in the universe out there pulling the strings for you in your favor. Synchronicity is how I landed 3 of my recent part time jobs.

One day I ran into some members from my meditation group having a chat downstairs after meditation. We got to talking, and one of them mentioned they were looking for someone to tutor a nun. I was looking for a job at the time and voila- the first part time job was hand delivered to me via synchroncity. Through that nun I recieved two other tutoring jobs. And who knows, maybe through those people I’ll land a few more.

My other core desired feeling is trust. So I’m trusting in synchronicity to supply me with the right amount of abundance to get me through the month, and the next few months, before I head off to grad school. Did I mention on this blog yet that I got accepted into grad school? Well, if I didn’t, now I have.

I’ll be leaving Korea at the end of July and heading to Ohio University in August to study photojournalism. Super excited! Oh, and there’s another example of abundance in action. I was told I will be eligible for some grants to help pay for tuition. So yay for abundance! Keep it coming universe.

 

The Stages of Grief

Somewhere I read that the stages of grief are the same as the stages of forgiveness. This makes a lot of sense to me. It also explains why I have such a hard time forgiving people and why it takes so long to process.

If you never let yourself mourn, you can never reach the final stage. And if you never reach acceptance, then you can never really forgive. I’ve never really let myself mourn before.

You can’t rush the stages of grief. And you can’t skip any of them. You have to let them wash over you in waves. Once each stage has hit it’s high tide, I promise you’ll feel cleaner.

I know because I feel like I’ve been in a constant tsunami of grief for the last year. I must have gone through the stages at least 4 or 5 times now.

I’m crossing my fingers that I’m riding the last wave of the season. It’s unclear if I’ve reached the acceptance stage for any of the previous run-throughs, but maybe they were all just dress rehearsals leading up to the final performance. I’m hoping this is the final performance.

Last Sunday, I asked a question in yoga class and I didn’t like the answer I got. I don’t know if it was even the answer so much as the question itself, but something triggered a flood of tears that didn’t stop for a good 20 minutes. I was sitting there on my mat sobbing and my teacher was telling me to stop fighting the battle that was eating away inside of me. I was mad at him. I was mad at myself. I was mad. And then he said, “You’re dying.”

It didn’t click until later, but he was right. I’m mourning my old self. Again. And when you mourn you go through the stages of grief. And right now I’m dead center in the anger/ depression stage. That’s what’s been keeping me up all night for the last month. That’s what’s been keeping me numbing on youtube videos and tumblr posts. That’s what’s been making me feel bad that I couldn’t get up before noon, or go to bed before 3am.

At last month’s open mic, I performed this poem that was about anger and depression and forgiveness and the stages of grief. And in the poem I said:

“I deserve to go through every single stage of grief, even if it takes 100 years to do so.”

In the poem, I was speaking to someone else, but I was really just trying to convince myself that it was true.

It is.

And I’m slowly learning to believe it and live by it.

I’m stuck in one of those stages right now. And even if it takes 100 years, I’m allowed to be here. Right where I am. Awake at 1am in the morning, angry, sad, sleepless, unproductive, not crossing things off my to-do list, whatever. It’s ok.

I’m a glass-half-full type of person, so I predict this stage will last less time than 100 years. It might turn out to be closer to 100 days, though, and that’s ok too.

Midnight Musings

I’ve been having major sleep routine struggles for the last month. I wrote about how I’d given up on getting up early when I tried to quit sleeping in a few months back. Letting myself have no sleep routine seemed to work really well for that month. It was quite freeing to let myself get up at noon and stay up til 3am.

But somehow between then and now I reabsorbed my feelings of inadequacy for not being able to get up early and establish a morning routine. Everyday I’d try to set a new alarm to get me up earlier the next day, and everyday I’d snooze and then stay up later and later, continuing the cycle.

This month I gave up fighting.

It’s good that this month’s #unplanning task is unplanned. I had been stressing out about what to unplan, so I decided I just wouldn’t plan it.

Now I just unplan things whenever I feel the need. Like I’ve stopped planning when I get up in the morning. Or writing down my to-do list the night before. Or trying to stick to the morning routine I’d been slowly building up for the last few months.

I don’t know how long this staying up til 4am and sleeping til 1pm habit is gonna last. But for now, that seems to be what’s happening. And I’m just grateful I don’t have a job, so it doesn’t matter.

Why are we so afraid?

FEAR.

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear recently. And how to face it.

Our wold lives in fear. And I get pissed when people try to tell me I shouldn’t do things because I should be afraid. Just because other people are afraid doesn’t mean I need to be. The worst part is it’s really hard to reject it. I absorb fear subconsciously just by nature of the fact that people keep pushing it on me.

Fear is the most powerful force out there. Fear of failure. Fear of missing out. Fear of rejection. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of being alone. Fear of death. I’m sure there are plenty more.

I understand that some fear is valid, but a lot of it is false. And I don’t have room in my life for false fear anymore.

I reject fear.

I admit, I have fear. I don’t have any less fear than others. I almost feel it more acutely because I’m so aware of it. I feel it in body. Sometimes it manifests in my churning stomach or in the speed of my beating heart.

I was telling my friend M about some of my #half-thoughts on fear and she told me about this guy who practices Rejection Therapy to overcome his fear of rejection.

I really liked the idea, so I decided February’s #Unplanning task is Rejection Therapy. Every day this month I’m practicing getting rejected and also rejecting others.

One of my biggest struggles is rejecting others and moving on. I have a really hard time saying no to things and people and letting go. I hope this month of rejection therapy will allow me to strengthen some of my anti-fear muscles.

Art Therapy- Learning to color outside the lines

Recently, I saw this photo on the internet somewhere that said, “Color outside the lines.” There was a single blank box in the center of the page. Every square inch of paper outside that box was filled with color. I liked the sentiment.

For my birthday last year my friend A gave me a little art therapy coloring book.  It’s a new fad these days and I hope more people pick it up. I’m a big fan.

Earlier in the year when I was slowly weaning myself off technology, I would spend my 10 minute breaks between classes coloring. The great thing about working at an elementary school is the endless supply of coloring utensils.

It was incredibly soothing to color in the lines. I didn’t have to think. Or talk. Or worry. Or plan. I just focused on the colors.

Yesterday I was looking for my little art notebook, which I had taken off the shelf earlier in the week. I couldn’t seem to remember where I placed it. I searched fruitlessly for several minutes before I told myself it was time for me to start coloring outside the lines. I picked up my jar of colored pencils, opened a blank page in my journal, and started sketching.

My sketches are not quite museum ready yet. But for me they are enough. They are beautiful. They are reflective. And most of all they are colorful.  I find joy in being able to mix colors together, blend them, and give them texture.

 

The Thing About Dancing

“The thing about dancing all night is, I don’t feel tired,” I say to M as we walk down the street at 3 a.m. to catch a taxi home from Hongdae.  She doesn’t respond, so I continue trying to explain myself. “I mean, I’m tired, but I don’t feel tired. Does that even make sense?”

“Yeah. I understand exactly what you mean,” M says with a smile on her face. “In my head I’m trying to figure out- would it be rude to ask if she wants to go back?

I pause, and consider the proposal seriously, as we approach the taxi stand.

—-

Last month, M and I went out dancing. I’d been clubbing in Seoul only once before and I wasn’t really ready for it at the time.

But that particular weekend things had changed. I was in dire need of some playfulness and wanted to do something fun and spontaneous. My friend M was coming up and I knew she regularly went out dancing. I was secretly hoping she would want to go out when she came.

As soon as she walked in the door, she said “C and I are going out tonight.”

Perfect, my wish was granted. “I wanna go!” I exclaimed.

Now was my chance for Hongdae to redeem itself.

——

As we were getting ready to leave, the first obstacle was trying to find that little purse I used to have. Turns out I got rid of it in my decluttering. I remember specifically picking up the purse, holding it and thinking- I only need to keep bags that hold my camera because I should always be carrying my camera with me. Thus, there won’t be a situation where I will need this little tiny purse that doesn’t fit the camera.

Well, I didn’t foresee this night to happen. Once I realized I no longer had the purse, I managed to find a workaround. Luckily, I’m well endowed.

“This is happening,” I said to myself as I stored my money and id card in my bra.

The second obstacle was deciding weather or not to bring a sweater.  I had my grey sweaters all laid out to go with my grey shirt dress.

“You’re not bringing a jacket?” I ask M, who’s still in short sleeves.

“No.” She says, “But you get cold easily.”

I pause to see if I can get away with not bringing a jacket too.

I decide not to bring it, knowing it will be warm inside. And the night is cool, but not cold, so it turned out to be fine.

The great thing about having no purse was I felt totally free. It was nice to not have a purse, a phone, or a jacket to worry about.

—-

“I mean, don’t stay out all night just because I want to.” M quickly inserts, giving me an out.

What I’m I feeling? Do I want to stay? I check in with myself. I figured if I was gonna go out dancing, I might as well go all the way.

“Let’s go back,” I say, grinning.

“Yolo?” M offers.

“Yeah. That.” I say.

“Are you sure?” M asks hesitantly.

“Yes.” I feel like a little kid, totally stoked about the prospect of dancing all night long. “You’re just lucky I don’t have a job.”

“Ok. I’m not going to ask you again,” M says, delighted to live it up one last time in Hongdae before she leaves the country for her next adventure. “And yes, I’m so lucky.”

—-

We danced until 5 a.m. and caught the first train home in the morning. This is something I knew other people occasionally did. Even as much as every weekend. But it wasn’t  something I was ever interested in before this night.

Now I understand why people enjoy this activity. You get so much energy from dancing, which makes sense because it’s basically exercise. And exercise lets your energy rise.

The great thing about going dancing with M was it was only about the dancing. There was no drinking, no socializing, no talking. I didn’t have to meet new people, or be friendly, or make conversation. I didn’t even have to think.

I just got to be. And feel the music.