Archive for Tina

  • Insecurities: A Slice From My Diary

    Posted on 02.11.09 | 101 Comments

    Photo by: Asaf Einy

    The beautiful topic of relationships has occupied much of my mental space over the past few weeks. This is apparent through my recent articles on “How to Get Over Breakups” and “How to Find True Love” (New) via Think Simple Now.

    To write these articles, I had to dig deep within myself and recall my own romantic journey and all of the empowering things I’ve learned through the ups and downs of my own relationships.

    The most significant day in my personal growth was November 19, 2006. It was through the state of despair and depression I was in that the pain I was experiencing helped to nudge me into sudden clarity about what I’ve been doing wrong all these years.  It was an exceptionally exhilarating and liberating day for me.

    The following is a snapshot of my realization from that day, as written in my journal.

    From that day on, my life has never been the same.  The cycle of destruction had finally come to an end. Sometimes, life can only turn around when you’ve hit rock bottom.

    I hope that by sharing this slice from my diary, it will help to shine some light on your story and whatever it is that you are going through.  For anyone who’s ever felt insecure and insufficient, you are not alone.  There is hope, and the future is VERY bright!

    ” November 19, 2006

    Uncertainty is the topic of my day. No, actually it’s insecurities – the insecurity of not being liked, of not fitting in, of not belonging, of being alone, of not being loved. Through much realization about myself in the past few days, I discovered that I used to have a psychological dependency on men, or the idea of having a man there for me.

    In the most extreme sense, it was as if my entire self worth relied on this dependency, on this idea of support. Once that dependency is challenged and uncertainty is added into the equation, I become this insecure little girl, unable to continue. I scramble, I panic, I look for plan B, I start to seek out alternatives, replacements … pads to protect my body from shattering into little pieces should I fall from that balcony of visions that I’ve created.

    Visions and fixation, of hope, of ideals, of situations, of longing… all of which I have projected onto this man who is the current holder of my self-worth and whom I’ve depended on such that I cannot function normally without. He helps me to feel together, to feel complete. But he also hinders me from achieving my ultimate goals.

    In a deeply unconscious state, without knowing it, I’ve asked him to put an invisible leash on my self-worth and my security. As a result, he’s got all of my time, my attention, my heart, and my love and a momentary pause has been placed on my true passions.

    I have goals, but in the pursuit of keeping him happy, I set aside my goals and grace him with my attention and time. Deep down, secretly, I feel that without his image around, I will not be able to excel, and that I will not be okay. This of course is a false illusion, but because it’s been deeply buried in my subconscious, I have not been aware of it until now.

    With each partner, when their true, ugly qualities re-surface above the perfect image I’ve projected upon them, I abruptly leave and start seeking the next holder of my invisible leash.

    Today, I declare to the Universe that with this self revelation, I shall let this go, completely. I do not need it in my life, for it is no longer serving me.

    My true self worth comes from myself, my heart, and my perception of my world. I adore myself, I love myself, and I am a wonderful being with lots of love to share.

    I am in complete control of my life and my experiences. I gain more security in myself each time I do something that pleases me. I gain when I read wonderful books and learn new things. I gain when I am writing and exploring my feelings. I gain when I re-organize my life (living space, routine, health, goals). I gain when I think about all the wonderful blessings in my life. I gain when I take pictures that capture truth. I gain when I have meaningful conversations. I gain each time I accomplish a goal. I gain each time I think – with absolute faith that – I will always end up in the best possible place no matter what happens. There is something wonderful and valuable from every situation I encounter.

    I learned something today:
    Love yourself, and love others as if they were me.
    Smile lots, and spread joy.
    Be truthful, be compassionate, be patient, and be forgiving.
    Live with the big heart you were born with. ”

  • Swimming Through Life

    Posted on 02.03.09 | 21 Comments

    Photo by: Colleen Yancy. See her flickr stream.

    I started training for swimming a month ago. For a sprint triathlon, one will have to swim 800 meters without stopping.  Alright, that’s my goal.  I’ve calculated the length of the pool I use: 25 meters. Okay, 32 laps it is!

    On my first day I started with great optimism. “Okay Tina, you can do this! 10 laps without stopping! Go!” By the end of lap 2, I was collapsed over the edge of the pool lane, huffing and puffing to catch my breath.  My performance was pathetic and it brought with it the clarity I needed to practice harder. I continued to swim laps every other day, stopping only to catch my breath when needed, until I’d finished a cumulative of 32 laps.

    Two weeks later, I overheard an older lady talking about her experience with a sprint triathlon, and I went over to ask a few questions. She said for the swimming leg, I’ll need to prepare to be able to do 40 laps, since it’ll be in a lake and the measurements are not very exact.  And also that it was important that I train myself to be able to swim all 40 laps non-stop, or risk drowning.

    Forty LAPS??? Holy Crap!

    I recall hearing a small voice in my head whispering, “I‘ll never be able to do that”, and then a few pulses later, I heard Tony Robbins’ voice yelling, “If you can’t, then you must!”

    Well, all I can say is that there’s nothing like the threat of death by drowning that motivates one to get creative.  With that in mind, that very same day I was able to swim the 40 laps without stopping.

    Four to Forty Laps in One Day

    For one thing, I noticed that I had been experiencing breathing issues when I did the freestyle stroke, which made me super tired and in need of catching my breath at the end of every two laps. So, I started to do back strokes – something I am more comfortable with.  My goal wasn’t to look like a professional freestyle swimmer, my goal was to stay afloat and swim the length of 40 laps continuously, so that in an emergency situation, I wouldn’t drown.

    Now I do 40 laps each time I hit the pool.  Here’s what I’ve observed:

    I start with enough confidence and energy to complete all 40 laps.  The first 2 laps are easy.  But then I start to feel tired.  The next 10 or so laps are the hardest. I start to witness my mind looking for excuses to stop. I feel it finding and pointing out the discomfort in my body so that it can maybe convince me that I’m too tired to continue.

    Once I get myself to complete 10 laps, things gets significantly easier, and my body is just riding out the repetitive movements.  Laps 20 to 30, and from 30 to 40 are a breeze.  When I actually hit lap 40, I feel that I can easily do 10 more laps.

    Life Patterns

    Upon further thought, I have noticed that this pattern of easy-difficult-easy can be seen in many other aspects of life: starting a business, starting a blog, learning a new skill, long distance running, etc.

    Let’s take blogging as an example. When a blogger first starts out, they are enthusiastic and hopeful for the future. Pretty easy so far. But all bloggers will go through a period near the start of their blogging career where they experience friction. They may feel discouraged that it’s tough to attract new readers or to market themselves. Or they may run into technology issues and they feel the urge to quite. But if they just hang on and persist through the discouragement and friction, they’ll reach a certain threshold where blogging and marketing become natural and easy, at which point they will be capable of continuing on indefinitely.

    The same is true for starting and running a successful business. It starts with fresh enthusiasm which makes the job appear easy. But soon, we experience some form of hardship or problem where we have to work long and challenging hours. The friction makes it tempting to quit, but more likely than not, if we soldier on, staying innovative and persistent, we will succeed.

    Take Away Lesson

    What I’ve learned through this observation is that persistence is the key! The ability to hanging on, when others have easily given up separates the failures from the triumphs.  In life, it isn’t about finding the most comfortable route, but rather finding destinations you want to arrive at and keeping moving until you get there.

    No matter how insurmountable a goal may seem, if you just keep trying, one step at a time, there will be a point at which the steps necessary to get there become an easy and effortless trek.

    Anything is possible.

  • Update: ‘Blackie’ Travels to America

    Posted on 11.20.08 | 22 Comments

    Six weeks ago, I had written about my encounter with a puppy on the streets of Beijing. Many have since written asking about his safety and status. This is an update following up on the first post.

    After spending four happy weeks in Beijing with friends and family, Blackie and I have successfully, safely and stress-free-ly landed in Seattle.

    Blackie would like to thank you all for your concern and curiosity regarding his well being. Your love is gratefully received and gladly reciprocated.

    Blackie in Beijing

    After spending 2 weeks in a doggie hotel with a loving care taker while I traveled to XinJiang, Blackie and I reunited. Surprisingly, dogs weren’t allowed on Beijing public transports, and you couldn’t try to sneak him in, since all bags need to go through X-ray machines. So, we took taxis everywhere we went.

    He was small enough (under 3 lbs) to fit into my day purse, and we brought him along with us pretty much everywhere we went: restaurants, shopping malls, people’s homes, museums, the Olympic Stadium, the Great Wall of China.

    My parents and I were to rendezvous in Beijing, they had arrived from Toronto a week prior. Since we live in different cities, it was super nice to spend time with them while seeing a ‘foreign’ city (so much about the city has changed and in unfathomable ways), while carrying a small puppy around. My parents loved their new grand-doggie, Blackie, and hope to see him soon on their next trip to Seattle.

    Blackie touring around Beijing’s major tourist attractions in Tina’s purse.

    Resting on the shoulders of Tina’s dad on a road trip just outside of Beijing.

    While shopping, Blackie met his long lost twin. We had to take a picture. :)

    (read more…)

  • An Unexpected Encounter: Impulse or Destiny?

    Posted on 09.27.08 | 38 Comments

    Photo by Tina Su

    I did something crazy and completely random yesterday; I bought a puppy on the streets of Beijing.

    How are you gonna bring it back to the US? I don’t think you’ll be able to take it back.” seems to be the common response I get asked. That and bewildered looks on the faces of my relatives. My answer has been a quick shoulder shrug and a reply of, “Eh, I’ll figure something out.” Everyone else seems to be more stressed out by it than me.

    The sequence of events went something like this:

    Sept 23, 7:30 pm – paid for puppy in cash.
    Sept 23, 7:49 pm – drove to pet supply store for food, leash, pee-pee pads, chew toys and treats.
    Sept 23, 8:46 pm – went to animal hospital for details on shots and health certificates needed.
    Sept 24, 8:07 am – booked puppy’s spot on the same return flight as mine.

    It all happened very quickly.

    How I Ended Up Buying a Puppy (in Beijing)

    We were walking along the streets in the historic Qianmen Hutong area. While waiting for my uncle to return from the bathroom, a woman (let’s call her Rose) walked by holding an adorable puppy in her arms. I asked to pet him and ended up playing with him.

    At that moment, a local Beijingese couple on their evening stroll stopped in front of us. The woman (let’s call her Betty) asked rudely, “How much you gonna sell that dog for?” without first asking whether the dog was in fact for sale. Culturally, I was shocked by the way she questioned this stranger. If I had asked someone that on the streets of any North American city, I’d get a nasty look or a few choice curse words.

    Turns out, Rose is a street umbrella seller who will not be able to afford to keep the puppy. She said politely, “He is for sale to a good family. I’m not an expert on pet prices. How much do you think he is worth?”

    Betty and her husband continued along with their rude tone and asked ridiculous questions that were both purposefully belittling to Rose and demeaning to the dog. They spent the next 5 minutes picking out all the things that might be wrong with the puppy:

    • “His tail is not straight”
    • “How come he is walking wobbly” (Because he’s a bloody puppy! He’s only 8 weeks old.)
    • “How come he has a beige patch by his eye? Is that a disease? Will I get the disease and die?” (No. He was born that way. It’s part of his fur. I think he is perfect the way he is.)
    • “The colored patches on his back aren’t balanced on both sides.” (He was born that way, the same way that one of your eyes is higher than the other.)
    • “How come his ears are so flimsy? Too soft and doesn’t stand up straight.”

    Turns out my relatives would later ask me the same annoying series of questions – along with commenting that I paid too much. I don’t think owning dogs is generally an accepted practice in Chinese culture. Many of the locals have the notion that dogs are dirty and that horrible diseases can be contracted from them.

    It was clear that Betty wanted to and was ready to buy the dog. Yet, she was afraid to even touch the little 3-lb ball of fur. She said that she might get a disease and die. “Okay, I’ve had enough.” I thought.

    (read more…)

  • China, Baby! 中国, 宝貝儿!

    Posted on 09.18.08 | 17 Comments

    Photo by Chas Pope

    Tomorrow morning, I leave for a five week trip to China.  I will focus on two major destinations: Beijing (北京) and XinJiang (新疆).  My original plan was to visit Mongolia from Beijing, but scrapped that plan due to recent visa restrictions imposed by the Chinese government for double entries.  “Sweet, I get to see XinJiang!” I thought.

    Here’s my plan so far:

    • Travel: Seattle – Beijing
    • Beijing – 4 Days
    • Travel: Beijing -Ürümqi
    • Side trip to TianChi – 2 Days
    • Travel: Ürümqi -Kashgar
    • Kashgar – 10 Days
    • Travel: Kashgar – Beijing
    • Beijing -15 Days
    • Travel: Beijing to Seattle

    Coincidentally and independently, two of my friends from Seattle (Ravi and Jeremy), and fellow blogger friend Nathalie will also be in Beijing for business during parts of my stay.  Plus, my parents will also be visiting Beijing around the same time, so it’ll be a party. I feel pretty lucky right now!

    My photographer friend Jeremy will be joining me for the XinJiang route, my Yoga-Teacher friend Ravi will meet us in Beijing, and hopefully we’ll get to see Nathalie.

    XinJiang – 新疆

    I’ve always been fascinated by XinJiang, a relatively foreign region within China.  What attracts me to it are the vast cultural diversities. Did you know that XinJiang is home to 19 distinct ethnic groups?  Wow!  As a little girl in Beijing, my association with XinJiang people was that they were the kabob sellers who wore exquisite decorative square hats, with tanned skin and Caucasian features.  I’m about to learn more…

    XinJiang borders all the “estan” countries: Kazakhstan (Borat!), Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It also borders: Mongolia, Russia and India.   The majority of the population is Muslim. Urghur (pronounced “We-ger”), a Turkic language, is the common tongue.  I heard that Mandarin is frowned upon, so I’m all geared up with a handy Central Asia phrasebook, ready to bust out some Urghur.

    Most of my XinJiang time will be spent in Kashgar.  I actually laughed out loud when I saw it on a map, it’s waaaaaay on the west end of China.  Initially, my plan was to travel by train from Beijing in an attempt to save some money. But learning that trains will take around 72 hours, I jumped at the faster alternative – by plane.

    I’m all ready, armed with a dozen rolls of film and several digital cameras.  It will be a photojournalist’s dream.

    Beijing – 北京

    I was born and raised in Beijing until age 10 (English was my second language). I was there during the Tiananmen Square Massacre (六四) and recall seeing tanks along the main road on my way to school each morning.  The last time I was back was ten years ago, and I’m really excited to see the results of Beijing’s massive modernization.

    My focus in Beijing is mostly for visiting family and to test out how well I can work remotely. (*fingers crossed*)

    Get Packin’

    I will do my best to keep up with ThinkSimpleNow, but I anticipate that reliable internet access will be challenging, especially in XinJiang.  We shall see.

    I will be spending most of my time roaming around each town, taking photos, contemplating, writing, listening to music and reading.  I’ve loaded my iPod with all of Steve Pavlina’s podcasts, videos from Oprah’s Soul Series and a ton of music.  That should keep me busy. :)

    If you’re curious, I’ll be bringing the following books:

  • Lifestyle Update – September 16, 2008

    Posted on 09.16.08 | 8 Comments

    Photo by Melissa Webb (See more images at her flickr stream)

    The past week seemed to have zipped by in a flash. Even though I’m not expected to show up at an office each day, I feel busier than ever.

    Evaluate Goals from Last Week

    My goals for last week were:

    • Read – Spend a minimum of two hours reading everyday
    • Exercise – Go jogging three times a week. Preferably, every other day. Do Yoga on off days.
    • Renew Spirit – Meditate in silence for 15 minutes twice daily.
    • Reduce Email Consumption – Spend no more than one hour on email a day, broken down into two 30 minute sessions.
    • Productivity - Set 3 achievable and bite sized goals every morning, commit to completing them first, before doing any other random tasks.

    How did I do? Here are the ones I’ve succeeded in:

    • Exercise – I went jogging every other day. YAY!  I would force myself to go out regardless of how late in the day it was: whether it was noon or 3pm (This used to be an excuse I used to avoid running). I’m learning that the more I do it, the less resistance I feel towards getting outside, and the further I can go without needing to stop. Pretty cool to observe how responsive our body is at adapting to change.  I have been doing 1.4 mile walk-runs. I would jog half way and speed-walk the other half back.  The goal next week is to jog all the way, both ways.
    • Reduce Email Consumption – I’ve gotten my email time down to about an hour a day during the week and rarely checking email on the weekend.  This feels really liberating, as I now have more time for other things I’ve been wanting to do.  It has, however, been difficult to peel myself away from the computer after an hour, knowing that I have more email that needs replying.  I think with time, I will get better at not beating myself up too much for not replying to email immediately.
    • Productivity - The biggest challenge with setting 3 bite sized goals every morning, is the impulse to set more than 3 goals. If I’m not careful, I’ll end up with a list of 9 must do items (becoming a wish list rather than the top three priorities).  So what I do now is list out top items I want to get done, even if there are more than three, and put the numbers 1, 2, and 3 beside the tasks with the highest priority. Everything else is an optional item, and I can only work on them if 1,2 and 3 are done. This is pretty challenging, as I feel a pull towards other items on the optional list and end up doing those instead.   Again, I’m getting better the more I practice it, both at evaluating what is realistic and shifting my focus to the priority items first.

    Goals that still need some work:

    • Read – I read about an hour a day for 3 days out of the week. After completing my tasks each day, it would be late, and this goal tended to be the item that fell off my plate.
    • Renew Spirit – I meditated for 15 minutes once the entire week. I think I’m gonna put this goal on hold until I can focus on it solely.

    I’m learning that I tend to underestimate how long things will take and I need to take into consideration unexpected events when planning my week.   For example, the article on vegetarian diet last week took 20 hours to write – unexpected meetings, errands and other admin tasks took up the other 20 hours.

    I’m also learning (once again) the importance of focusing on as few major goals as possible.  For the next week I will be focused solely on my exercise, email and daily productivity goals. I will get back to meditation, reading and rising early once I’ve habituated the other goals.

    All in all, the exercise alone has shifted my state towards a positive one.  I feel renewed and excited for the future.

    What’s New?

    I bought a ticket to Beijing a month ago, and last week, I bought a ticket from Beijing to Ürümqi, and then from Ürümqi to Kashgar. I leave this Friday (3 days). It’ll be an adventurous trip in a remote part of China. I’ll post more about this, later this week.

    I’ll be updating Simply Tina with pictures and words during my travels in China.

    Eeeeeee!!!! I’m so excited!

  • Thirty Saturdays: Lifestyle Update

    Posted on 09.05.08 | 8 Comments

    Photo: Margaret Durow

    A month ago, I had left my job and started this new life devoid of external responsibilities.  Here is an update on how that’s going so far.

    Being Away

    I had spent the first two weeks in Canada visiting my parents and tying up loose ends related to the parting of my last relationship.  It was an emotional ride.  I’m sad for what happened, but I am very hopeful for the bright future ahead.  Several weeks have passed, I now feel restored and whole once again.

    Last week, I traveled to LA for a 3-day relationship seminar taught by the amazing Alison Armstrong. The topic was marriage relationships, and as with Alison’s other seminars, focused on gaining clarity and understanding around the miscommunications between Men and Women.  I walked away feeling enlightened, refreshed and incredibly grateful for the gift of clarity.

    During the seminar, I had enrolled in their Mastery and Leadership Program for 2009. It’s a year-long training program to become a workshop leader and teach the same topics that have profoundly touched my life.  The purpose of the material taught is to create harmonious partnerships between men and women in all contexts, by uncovering the mysteries and misunderstandings between men and women.  I’m totally stoked!

    Coming Home

    It felt unnatural waking up every day and not needing to be anywhere in particular, or needing to get dressed to go out.  While I had a job, I longed for the weekends, and dreaded peeling myself out of bed in the morning for work. Well, now that every day seems like a Saturday, I have to be honest and say, “It feels a little strange.”
    (read more…)

  • Welcome to Simply Tina

    Posted on 09.03.08 | 6 Comments

    Photo: Vanessa Paxton

    Think Simple Now posts have always been in the format of in-depth articles on personal development. As such, I don’t consider it a blog, but rather a free web publication on personal wellbeing.

    Simply Tina is a personal blog where I’ll be posting much more liberally and casually. The topics will consist of a larger range of subjects, including: updates of my progress in this new lifestyle, traveling, business lessons, blogging, passive income, the 4 hour workweek lifestyle, startups, empowering mindsets, photography, and useful resources.

    Subscribe here for updates from this space. Thanks again for your readership and continued encouragement.