Jin Li Frick
The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse challenges you to let go of the past, live the present, and discover the future in 21 days. Ford takes the reader through a systematic spiritual awakening over 21 days, and challenges the reader to face the past and let go of all those memories, beliefs and interpretations that are holding you back from living your best life. Her process is simple and easy to follow, but the results are powerful if you allow yourself to raise your level of consciousness. She encourages you to not be afraid to have some fun and write some new rules for your life as you move forward. I was deeply impact by a powerful statement she makes: "Life truly is an amazing dance between the inner and the outer -- a journey of your human needs and soul desires. You need the outer experience so that you will learn, grow, and evolve. But if you just go after the outer without tending to the inner, you end up empty and painfully disappointed. And if you just retreat to the inner world -- unless you're a monk or happen to be a saint -- you will likely experience isolation, loneliness, and lack. The powerful truth is that you are a child of the universe, a molecule of the divine spirit that orchestrates your greatest experience. And for you to truly experience a life of complete satisfaction, joy, and endless gratitude, you must accept that you are part of a much bigger game -- a game in which if you win, I win. And if I win, you win. A game in which if I lose, you lose. And if you lose, I lose." For many of us, it is easy to tend to your outer needs and forget that you have a beautiful inner spirit that needs equal nurturing. I found myself wondering, what if in the game of life it didn't matter who won or lost, but we simply played the game for the pure JOY of it.
Jin Li Frick
The phrase, "God won't give you more than you can handle" popped into my head recently and as I thought about it I came to the realization that God somehow heaped the proverbial Pink Elephant on me, and then decided I should take on the Camel and the Hippopotamus as well before he left to go about the rest of his business. The problem is, he forgot to come back to relieve me of my load!
I learned early in life that stoicism is part and parcel of my family's genetic makeup. My parents have tolerated a lot in their lives, having uprooted themselves from the comfort and luxury of their home in Malaysia to make a new home in California. Their goal was to offer their two young daughters the opportunities in life that they would not have been able to access had we stayed in Malaysia. My father gave up his management track career to set up shop as a small business owner. My mother gave up her socialite lifestyle and luxuries to become a stay-at-home mom (in it's literal sense). It was a culture shock for them but I never heard them complain.
While I respect what they did for us and am eternally grateful, as I reached adulthood, that same sense of tolerance, of taking on more and more, and never saying "no" became my standard as well. Whether it was school, work or family, I had the "bring it on baby" attitude and never once thought I could or should push back or say "no more."
What happened? Well, I exploded and imploded all over myself and anyone who was standing near me at the time, namely my family. It was ugly.
Thankfully I had a handful of caring people around to pick me up and piece me back together. My husband has stood by me through the literal "thick and thin" of life. I am a sunflower in the light of his love and am forever indebted to him for his unfailing belief me in and our love. My closest of friends, who have also stuck it out with me, have given me a shoulder to cry on and listened to countless hours of my self flagellation, even while it was for no productive end other than to flame my own victim energy.
It was ultimately the lowest point in my life - hitting the rock bottom of rock bottoms - that saved me from myself and made me realize that my self pity was doing nothing more than empowering my demons. Coming out of the darkness an emotionally healthier individual, I realize that saying "I can't.." is okay. No one will notice that I couldn't do it or that I didn't take on more. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, cares. They have their own lives to lead. So what was I out to prove? That I am Wonder Woman? That I am a Survivor? That I am Perfect?
Well...let me say that I am Perfect Just as I am; I am a Thriver not a survivor; and, I certainly can't save the world doing what I'm doing, except on Halloween of course. So on this quiet Sunday evening, after I've tucked my rascal of a son into bed, I raise a glass to myself and toast the fact that I got kicked in the butt very recently, and I chose to Thrive!!
Jin Li Frick, Thriver
My youngest step-daughter sent me a terrible message today via my website contact form, filled with name calling and accusations. While she utilized a false name, it was clearly her by the tone, manner, and choice of words. Let's just say it was a very creative way to use the "C" word coupled with something about a "bag of flour". She has sent similar messages (via email and text) in the past - usually late at night - with accusations having been wronged and destroying her childhood, or expressing angst over her lost life, general hatred of humanity, and estrangement from life and family. Her disorder, while not officially diagnosed, has been challenging to live with.
Border line personality disorder or BPD is a serious mental illness marked by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships. According to the NIH most people who suffer from BPD exhibit...
According to the DSM, Fourth Edition, to be diagnosed with BPD, a person must show an enduring pattern of behavior that includes at least five of the following symptoms and she suffers from many of the items listed below:
In living with my step-daughter, she alternates favoring of one parent over the other, and our family has also experienced the following:
Over the years, my life has spiraled out of control. The more I tried to control, the less control I had, the more unhappy I became. One saving grace perhaps is that her rejection of one of her parents at any given time offers a reprieve to that parent - a mental holiday of sorts. She is currently favoring her mother and is living with her in New Jersey after her unsuccessful attempts to gain emancipation. Realizing she had no other alternatives, and with the Department of Youth and Family Services (NJ's version of Child Protective Services) and the police involved, she was escorted back to her mother's home after having lived with her former best friend for a few months. It was that or face being placed in a group home with mental health professionals.
I was recently diagnosed with mild PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) resulting from the negative and intense environment I lived in for 9 years. I was in constant fear for our family, for my sanity and my young son - imagine a perpetual state of being in flight or flight mode with no positive outlet for release. At one time I had removed all sharp objects and knives in the house to stop her from hurting herself. I was strongly advised by a former psychologist of my step-daughter's (she's gone through a laundry list of therapists, switching when she doesn't receive affirmations for her behavior) to never leave her alone with our 3-year old son as she might hurt him. We had to have her take a test in order to gain approval to adopt our son. At the time we told her it was an IQ test, telling her that adoption agencies are more likely to place children in homes where their siblings are intelligent in order to protect her from the truth. The agency needed to be reassured that she would not harm him before they would agree to our adoption. I went so far as to place a lock on our master bedroom door to keep her out, and in the more recent past I tried to disassociate myself from her, emotionally distancing myself from her and the turmoil in our home.
When my step-daughter abruptly returned to NJ after having lived with us in CA for a few months, the social worker from Child Protective Services who visited our home advised that it would be better for her to stay in NJ rather than having her return for various reasons, including ensuring a healthier environment in which to raise our son. The CPS worker sympathized with the situation and discouraged enabling of her behaviors, urging me to focus on myself and our son.
Nine months later, after spending time reflecting, self-coaching, being coached by others and therapy, I recognize now that my way of dealing only brought more unhappiness and stress to everyone. I am now on a journey of healing, forgiveness and self discovery. When I say forgiveness, it is not that I am not imposing forgiveness on her as I cannot offer forgiveness to an individual who does not seek it. Rather I am giving myself the gift of forgiveness for how I handled things, my anger towards her, my anger towards the toxic relationship between her parents which either created or exacerbated the situation, and especially the blame I placed on my husband for what I had perceived to be a passive approach to the situation. I recognize my behavior only served to make things worse, and I made it about me when in fact it wasn't. As a result, I am finding a more peaceful state of living, filling my life with love and gratitude each and every day, for the kindness the Universe has bestowed on me and the support of those in the system who understand that mine had been a difficult and challenging journey. At the end of the day, as I sit here writing, I realize that I am proud of my journey, but I also know that I am still releasing the negative energies accumulated over the years. _I continue to peel back the lessons offered each and everyday, but I also have the opportunity now to help others who will travel or are traveling this similar road of trauma and disruption to their lives. Most importantly, my husband and I are at peace, wholeheartedly loving each other and accepting each others faults as a reflection of ourselves. These are the new gifts in my life, but I cherish the old lessons learned as they have brought me into a higher level of consciousness and peace. I am grateful to the Universe for letting me make this journey on my own terms, and loving me each step of the way.
Jin Li Frick, Quiet Thriver
I recently listened to a TedTalk by Susan Cain on The Power of Introverts. It was particularly poignant to me because I always considered myself to be an introvert, but felt a bit ashamed of it.
What I learned...
Introverts prefer quiet, solitary activities, and time alone to recharge and re-energize. They think best on their own versus in groups, and prefer to have time to process before making a decision. Introverts register the world differently from an extrovert. They don't need social interaction to feel stimulated. Introverts often have a small group of close friends versus drawing energy from a large and gregarious social group. To those who know them, they’re often great listeners, can give thoughtful advice, and are extremely empathetic. For an introvert, being alone with their thoughts or having a quiet dinner with one or two close friends, or even by themselves is a treat.
So I go back to my shame. After listening to Susan Cain, I realized that I had tried hard to fit into our society's definition of a successful individual. It goes beyond measurable contributions and deliverables. We celebrate and revere the outgoing nature and loud opinions of the extrovert. Companies are moving towards open floor plans and office sharing to facilitate creativity and promote group think. Schools are seating students in pods, and chastising those who prefer to work alone, read quietly or learn by themselves, labeling them as antisocial. I could never rise to that standard because I was simply not wired that way. I was often described as "standoffish", "unapproachable", "too focused", and I love this one, "piercing." I never understood why people saw me that way. I had numerous supervisors tell me to work on being more open and approachable, but I didn't know where to start because I didn't think I was unapproachable in the first place. I tried taking my teams to lunch, inviting them out, making small talk, but still I received the same feedback year after year. I felt that I was falling short of the standards for success.
It's time for companies and our educational system to truly celebrate the differences in our employees and students. Our differences aren't simply limited to our beliefs, heritage or politics, it also extends to our personalities and traits. The brain of the introvert is hard-wired differently than that of the extrovert. We process information differently and as a result have a different approach to social interactions and decision making. Neither trait nor personality is right or wrong so we should not classify introverts as dysfunctional. And, we need to stop retrofitting the introvert into an extrovert's world like there's something that needs to be fixed. Rather, let's start by harnessing and celebrating the different kinds of power that lie in both the introvert and the extrovert, and create environments where each trait will THRIVE - not one where the introvert will wither and feel ashamed for their uniqueness.