My family moved to California from Okinawa, when I was 4 years old, and then from CA to Washington in 69. I was 7. I barely passed my early school years, because my English was so poor. And the teachers asked my parents to not speak Japanese to their children, so that we could learn English.
But this was not my real difficulty. My difficulty was in social skills. Not speaking English, I had difficulty making friends. The result of all of this for me was low self esteem. This low self esteem resulted in numerous conflicts, feelings of rejection and eventually repressed anger.
At the age of 27 I realized I had to make a radical change in my life, because I knew life had more to offer. I started to smile more. Consciously forcing myself to smile. After 6 months, I started to giggle. And then I started to find spiritual training.
These are things I learned and used from my spiritual training.
Exercises you can do to build your awareness of your own greatness.
1. What do you admire most in other people?…make a list.
You cannot see anything in anyone else that does not exist in you. If you doubt this, then ask your friends “what can you rely on me the most for? And what are my most admirable qualities?”
2. Spend time in nature. Physically in nature.
We get caught up in our lives and we forget to connect to the Source of all things, the 4 elements, the land the nature. Because of this we feel disconnected to the flowing consciousness of nature. And getting back in touch with this will help you reconnect to your own soul. If you are bored with nature, go camping. If you are bored with that, go on a walk about. Seriously though, just get outside and connect. (zoos do not count)
Mountains and being near water, oceans, rivers, lakes are the best place to connect.
3. Look into the mirror and reflect in your past.
Reawaken your memories of good experiences while staring at your eyes. Stare into your eyes until you can see the true beauty of your own soul.
4. Reward yourself, for the good things you have done. And forgive all things of the past, for they are but a memory, and have no place in the present.
Food is a great reward. However, dietary concerns should be taken into consideration. Socializing works. Treat yourself to something that you have always wanted to do or have. Have you ever given a gift to somebody that you also wanted for yourself? Maybe its time to give it to yourself.
In the end, we feel best about ourselves, when we can give without fear or need. And the greatest gift is the gift of a smile and sincere appreciation to another. The more you do this for others, the more you will naturally do this for yourself. And the more you do this for yourself, the healthier and more confident you become.
Start to see yourself for who you truly are, in your own unique and magnificent glory. That part of you that is so individuated, that no one could possibly duplicate it no matter how hard they try.
And in that recognition, smile, even laugh and celebrate. Because without you, all would not exist.
This beautiful photograph was taken by our wonderful friend Mira Zaki.