Joe's Journey to Life

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Re: Joe's Journey to Life

Postby Anna » 29 Jul 2014, 12:36

Cool Joe!

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joe kou
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Re: Joe's Journey to Life

Postby joe kou » 10 Aug 2014, 08:54

Day 190 - Who's Afraid of Their Big, Bad Wolf?

One of the tendencies and “old tricks” I have become intimately aware of within myself is what I will now introduce as the personality/character of the “Big, Bad Wolf”.

Big Bad Wolf is what comes up whenever I am facing a difficulty or challenge that I have struggled with for an extensive amount of time – it comes in the disguise of selective memories, and will also go as far as speaking to me inside my own mind using my own voice – “reminding” me of how many times I have struggled and failed and how difficult it is and how much easier it would be to just give up, just give in, just “Not go there”.

And why would I listen? Why would I be afraid of such a character? Because the Big Bad Wolf knows the things that I suppress, the things that I am afraid of, the things I feel guilty and remorseful about, the things that I fear to let go of, the things that I still believe I cannot “live” without, and all the moments that I still remember that cause me pain or discomfort or cause me to lose faith and confidence in myself – namely all the things that I have NOT actually forgiven myself for. All of this is what feeds the Big Bad Wolf and the more I listen – the more I give in and accept the words of the Big Bad Wolf as my own and allow myself to really believe and accept that I am a “failure” or that it is “too late” or that I have done such consequential things that there is no “coming back” and that I don’t “deserve forgiveness”.

The consequence of listening to the Big Bad Wolf is that I would shift into waiting – waiting for the “coast to clear”, waiting for things to not be as challenging as they are now because, well, Big Bad Wolf tells me that I’m not good enough, not strong enough, not clever enough. I mean – look at all the times I made mistakes last time! And so I would wait – wait for my job to be less stressful because surely eventually things will balance out. And I would wait on opening myself up to relationships and meeting people and building a network – because surely the “right people” will just come my way and I should just sit tight and not get attached to anything or anyone because I haven’t found the “right person” or the “right group” because Big Bad Wolf says so. And so I would just wait and wait – and things would just get more complicated, more convoluted, and everything would actually feel much heavier as my waiting was weighting everything down.

See that is one of the things about the Big Bad Wolf syndrome – it takes as “hostage” all the things that make me feel like crap and all the things that I suppress and do not want to face. It is not so much that the Big Bad Wolf itself is in any way scary – it is what is BEHIND the Big Bad Wolf that lends it its manipulative power – and it takes a WHOLE LOT OF ENERGY to keep suppressing and not facing things. It takes a whole new personality and character to emerge and be dominant and remain “active” in place of my own directive awareness.

So all of the energy that was required for me to spend month after month at the same job, hating the same things, reacting to the same things, getting irritated and frustrated and stressed out day in and day out – all of the energy required for me to constantly isolate myself and deliberately shut people out while I waited for the “right connection” and the “right people” and the “right circumstances” – and all of the energy required to go home and become even MORE reactive about my living situation and wanting an “out” from it all – yeah all of that energy came directly from my own physical body – it all came from the ONE PLACE where I actually needed to stand and substantiate myself – and so I would feel constantly “drained” and everything would “feel” quite heavy and things just seemed “too much” to change or direct in any lasting or purposeful way.

And here I am at this moment again – Big Bad Wolf right here with me, reminding me of all the times I would make statements and commitments to stand up and see something through only to have things come up in my world where I would get distracted or would end up giving up and giving in to one pressure or another – and so within me is the question “Well, what makes this any different? Why are you going to do NOW what you couldn’t do in all those previous times? What makes THIS TIME so special?”

And usually, I would let the Big Bad Wolf answer for me – and would sigh and slink back into my waiting and my fear – but tonight, in this moment at least, the answer is different. Why is this time not like the other times? Because this is the ONLY TIME THERE IS. This is the very cutting edge of time, and this is the only moment in which I as a human physical being can breathe and make a decision, and to also DECIDE that no matter how many breaths I have taken and how many other decisions I have made – this breath and this decision is what is here now, and who I am as well as how I choose to be defined by my past is ALSO for me to decide here, THIS TIME.

And this time does not mean I change in this moment and I am “done” and transcended – it means this time is one time – and the next time is another time – and each time after that is a new time – and one by one, one plus one, that is how I create myself through a decision.

I see and I realize thus that it is not about how many times I fell or how long I waited to stand back up again – but to in each moment the decision is here before me, to choose what is best – to choose the decision upon which my next decisions can in a way be built on, expanded on – to be ready, able, and willing to always choose what is best for all no matter what my past, my Big Bad Wolf, might say. It is a moment to moment, breath to breath commitment.

Self-Forgiveness Statements

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to postpone supporting myself with the tools of writing, self-forgiveness, and practical self-corrective application when I allowed myself to become possessed within points of judgment and guilt and shame about myself and my mistakes and failures, and within this to have not allowed myself to see until now that my past and my mistakes do not have to haunt me or cause me grief or fear – and that any energy attached to them that apparently makes me “feel” something is not in fact real and can be let go of, and becomes lighter and easier to let go of the more I stick to it and practice and develop my self-trust and self-authority.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to be “hard on myself” when looking over my past and seeing where I had fallen and made mistakes and created negative consequences in my life and potentially the lives of others and yet within this to not until now see that being “hard on myself” is nothing but an experience for me to have in my mind and to “feel bad”, when the events that have happened in my past and the mistakes that I have made are done, and do not have “feelings”, and do not “care” one way or another whether or not I “feel bad” or that I punish myself by being hard on myself – and that the most practical and real way to work with my past mistakes and regrets is to, without further emotion or judgment, unconditionally do what it takes to correct myself, starting with what I can immediately work with.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see until now that when there is a challenge that appears too big and I react within fear and hesitation and feeling like I am all alone left to face this seemingly impossible wave before me, that I can rather look at what it is that I am fearing and resisting, forgive myself for the EXPERIENCE of resistance and fear, and rather look at the situation logistically – break it down in writing into smaller parts and where things are too complicated or massive, I break down even further to things that I can immediately work with – such as looking at where I can find more information, who I can call, who in my environment can assist, what materials are available to me readily – and simply START knowing that I am doing what I am able to do in the moment and anything else is a projection, is a fear, is a thought not based in reality because in reality I am already moving, already directing the point and thus can dismiss any thoughts to the contrary.


When and as I see/notice the experience of the Big Bad Wolf coming where I feel myself going into a resistance or feel myself go into a petrification/freezing/prolonged procrastination, I stop and I breathe. I see and realize that this is simply an experience and self-defense mechanism that I created and relied on to keep myself from facing that which I feared to face directly – and thus I can decide who I am and how I participate with this experience.

Therefore, I take this experience that I call the Big Bad Wolf and I turn it into an ally – I see the Big Bad Wolf experience within me and I see it as a helper, holding back a tide/crowd of things that I have not yet sorted, and is asking me “Okay, all of this is here. I will hold back anything you aren’t prepared for yet so that you are not overwhelmed. Now, how do you want to take this on? Which part should I let through now?”

I commit myself to utilize this shift as a crutch and as a point of self support to change my relationship to fear and the Big Bad Wolf syndrome of resistance until I stand and the point becomes me fully and entirely and such shifts and characterizations are not longer necessary because I have become the very point of my own “Big Bad Wolf” that will not back down again.

I commit myself to, when and as such moments of fear and resistance and not wanting to push myself through and remain consistent in my commitments and self-change, to bring it to the single moment, the cutting edge of time, and where necessary to utilize the “Big Bad Wolf” characterization as an ally, a moment to stabilize myself and see that no matter what I am always the one that breaths, and in each breath I make the decision of who I am, and in that decision I can always decide to be and do what is best for all, no matter what, regardless of any “experience” that tells me I can’t. ... 8ATGT.dpuf

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joe kou
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Re: Joe's Journey to Life

Postby joe kou » 18 Sep 2014, 07:54

Day 191 Spit In One Hand And Wish In The Other

Tonight I am writing on the phrase “Spit in one hand and wish in the other, and see which one you have the most in”. Some of you may have heard this phrase before but for those who haven’t, the basic meaning is that wishing for something is always less effective than doing something real – in this case spitting into one’s own hand – because one will find that the hand you spit in will always be filled before the hand you wish in.

This has been quite an interesting lesson for me – as I have definitely leaned more toward wishing and “simulating” in my mind the potential futures and outcomes and projecting my awareness way way way out into theoretical realms and then sitting back and waiting for my projected future to manifest before me instead of considering and allowing myself to do the most seemingly obvious thing – which is to work with what is HERE, practically, and SLOW DOWN and really get to know and participate with what is in my world instead of constantly holding out for the future that I was projecting and wishing and waiting for – the one where things have “worked out” and things were “in my favor” and I was already living and being and doing what I have idealized as my “fullest potential”.

But while all of this was going on, I actually slipped more and more into the routine of things and found that my “spark” for living and expressing and pushing andchallenging myself began to wane more and more until it all seemed like such a burden – such a heavy weight to break out of the habit of “going along until the next opportunity comes” – where it seemed anything other than going to work, coming home, tending to chores, going to sleep, and repeating the exact same the next day would take too much “effort”. It seemed like life was dull and boring and that I was just going through the motions – because, well, I WAS just going through the motions and was not participating in creating or expressing my living.

Now, because I allowed this “shift” within me where I essentially took a back seat and said “I’m sitting this one out, guys. Wake me up when things settle down and I can get back to my own plans.” – I actually began to really diminish and get “weaker” in terms of my self-directiveness and self-trust and more and more gave in to the habits and routine of a full time job and daily survival – and as this pattern became more and more what I actually lived and allowed day after day, indeed the more difficult it seemed to break out of it.

But eventually I came around to seeing that there really is no way “out” of whatever situation I am in – because the situation I am in is the situation I had accepted and allowed myself to participate in and thus become a part of – and therefore the only way to change things if I am not satisfied is to first take responsibility for what I have already created – and oh boy did I resist this!

It took a few rounds of this before I came to seeing the pattern – because every time I was about to plant myself down really start dealing with the nitty gritty details of my living – something new and exciting would come along – some new “once in a lifetime opportunity” that would promise to sweep me way from where I was and set me on the fast track to getting back to my idealized projected future and life, and that new project or work opportunity would become the new focus and center of my world for a moment until I realized that it was not going to just “happen” – that things in our physical time and space reality do not just quantumly fall into place without consistent effort – and that in the process of self-creation and facing one’s consequences there are no shortcuts and there are no exits because all things come back full circle to one’s starting point.

And so begrudgingly at first I began to slowly but surely STOP trying to run away from or seek quick fixes for the parts of my life and living where I was not satisfied and decided to wish and project for better things – and in no particular order the following changes began to happen:

Stopped whining/complaining about work and started to see difficulties at work as “challenges” to be met.

Stopped judging aspects of my job and my company and started to get to know it as part of the system that we are all currently bound to.

Became less impatient with coworkers and staff when presented with problems and tasks and started communicating with them more, understanding their concerns and issues and becoming better able to adapt to their needs and requests.

Stopped resisting and judging my boss and eventually became promoted into the company’s inner circle.

Have more financial stability now with new position and can finally move, find a new place, and upgrade to a better car (with air conditioning and an engine not on the verge of implosion) and start eating better quality food.

And the most surprising thing is – in the beginning I was in so much fear and insecurity and doubt. But as I more and more pushed myself to stand and simply work with what was relevant in the moment, taking things slowly point by point and asserting my responsibility more and more – the more and more I was in fact able to take on and handle and direct.

Here – the things that got me through were the constant communication with fellow destonians and my I Process buddy – and still seeing the same people I have known over the past years continuing and pushing even during times when I thought I couldn’t go on – the immense support of the EQAFE interviews, and the awareness and ability to look at things within practical self honesty that is a skill that one cannot ‘fake’ but must develop and train, but more than pays off for the effort one puts into it.

So now looking back, pushing and moving myself with what is here in my world now – using my job and my current environment as a platform, I am much closer now in real, physical practical terms to having what I had been previously only wishing and waiting for – and thus the lesson of “Spit in one hand and wish in the other” was one I walked and learned – and now share for those who may still be in the dark periods that come into our lives now and then or those who may feel ‘stuck’ and sick and tired of the same routine – the solution is self-movement and responsibility and taking a breath, forgiving oneself of any fears or projections or resistances or separation from what is currently in one’s world, and being willing to walk straight through the wall of resistance even (and especially) if you have no actual clue what may be on the other side – to realize that one WILL and MUST make mistakes, fail, and stumble initially – and chances are you are going to make an absolute fool of yourself - but the more one keeps at it, the more exponential one’s ability to take things on further becomes. I myself am realizing what a gift this has been, and would encourage all to gift themselves the same.

- See more at: ... DkNDs.dpuf

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joe kou
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Re: Joe's Journey to Life

Postby joe kou » 08 Sep 2015, 09:53

Day 193 - RECAP - Joe and the Big, Scary, Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

It has been a while since posting and writing, so a bit of a recap is in order.

An overall summary of my past years discussed at this Desteni Hangout - Practical Self-Empowerment: Moving Beyond the Rock and a Hard Place

In the past several months there have been quite a few changes going on in my life and throughout all of this I am now seeing how many things had opened up that can now be shared. I will begin with the point that I think many can relate to. This is the point of "CHANGE". So, here begins a short story that will recap the highlights of my past months.

"Joe and the Great Big Scary Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes"

CHAPTER ONE - The times, they are a changin'

Change is not something I have been comfortable with in my life. In fact let me be frank and say that change usually brought up a petrifying terror within me - especially whenever the change would put me into a situation where I would have to step out of my comfort zones and have to deal with things I have not dealt with before.

So it was quite appropriate that "change" and the troubled relationship I have had with it has been a prominent theme in the past several months as I faced many dimensions of this scary, scary beast.

It began with me realizing that the job that I had been working for the past few years would be coming to an end due to restructuring going on within the company. The work that I did and the department that I was responsible for was no longer part of the business setup and that basically meant there was nothing more for me or my department to do.

So, the job that I had finally began to come to find peace with after almost 4 years drew to an end. During this time there was a bit of scramble as I once again set out to find employment. The last time I did this I didn't own anything other than some clothes and a laptop and didn't have a place of my own. Now, I was seeking employment while having to pay for a car and an apartment.

And so the beast called "Change" reared it's head and stirred things up for me just when I thought things would be settling down.

It was so very very tempting to at this point use the excuse of the situation to go into a classic emotional tantrum and go on an extended vacation rather than seek immediate employment. I mean, didn't I EARN it? Didn't I have to put up with so much and hadn't I done enough working in the past 4 years to take some time off? Don't even try to answer those questions because it is just a trick to justify allowing fears and limitations to remain valid and protected - and having seen this particular trick coming up, I knew that it was time to immediately (while I was still at the job) start making some phone calls to see if there was anyone I knew who had an opening or any leads on a potential job opening.

(It is important here to address a point. I am not saying that taking time off is inherently bad. But you really have to look at the practicality of the situation and make sure that you are in fact in a position to take time off even if you think you have enough money saved up to last you for a while. A recent interview speaks directly about this point of "Living in the Now" where one may be tempted to postpone finding employment or attending to practical matters because of a sense of having "earned" it and having some money that can be used to sustain oneself for a while without working - give it a listen if you are facing a similar situation or having the same temptations.)

So - thankfully because I did NOT slip into the temptation of putting things off and blaming my situation and instead moved myself to make phone calls and reach out to people, I got two job offers within a couple of days. When I made those calls and sent those emails I had made it a point to be certain that I was not in any kind of emotional state where my words may carry the vibe of desperation or uncertainty. While I don't have a way to test the theory now, I am thinking that a part of why I got job offers so soon partly had to do with who I was within reaching out to people and had I approached them say after a month or so of being on "vacation" and needing income right away, the results may have varied.

But alas this didn't make my fear of CHANGE any less of a challenge. Because as it turns out it was not really losing my job and not finding work that was my actual fear. The actual change that I was dreading was in having to step into new roles and positions that I was not familiar with - and this is where the deeper root my doubts began to expose itself while more and more I found myself caught within trying to decide which offer to take and which way would be best and lamenting over the fact that there was not clear-cut and easy answer. Yes - here I had to face the point of change head on and make my own decision, and I would have to live with that decision and accept the consequences.

So, I had the choice of moving up into a higher level of the company I was working for - where I had gotten comfortable and already knew much of the procedures and business model and developed relationships with people, but would be taking a slight pay cut with little room for growth, OR leave the company and take an offer from a former co-worker who had gone into a totally different business where I would be working 12 hour graveyard shifts but would potentially double my salary with room to grow, but no guarantee that I would be a good fit for the job.

So, how did I face this point and how did I come to a decision? Which points did I consider within my process of picking one position over the other? Find out in the next chapter.

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joe kou
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Re: Joe's Journey to Life

Postby joe kou » 14 Sep 2015, 09:30

Day 194 - Joe and the Great Big Scary Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Chapter 2

CHAPTER TWO - Making a Decision

In facing this choice there were some very interesting things that were coming up for me - and within me I experienced conflict for a few days while I found myself going back and forth between the two options with both sides seeming to have their own army of lobbyists in my mind. Back and forth went the internal conflict until I realized that there was only one reasonable and practical thing to do in a situation like this: To write it out and look at it without the energetic and emotional charges.

In writing it out and really sitting down with it all I saw how, as things tend to be, deeper and more complex than it appeared on the surface. There were actually many layers of fears and doubts and anxieties behind each option, and in facing one dimension I was also facing all of the others in quantum time - where multiple layers and dimensions are brought through into one single moment right here, right now (See "Future of Consciousness: Quantum Time Compression" for explanation on how/why this is now occurring more frequently)

While there were multiple layers and dimension to the issue I will share here the two main themes that came through:

On the one hand I was wanting to remain within the same line of work because I was already familiar with it and had already established some professional relationships with people, and it would allow me to remain employed with a decent enough salary and not have to step out of my comfort zone. It would also give me a bit of an ego boost because I would technically then be the "boss" of the boss I had been working for.

The drawback here would be that I would not be making more money than what I was making, and would technically have more responsibilities - which I did not like because for a long time now one of my goals was to be able to earn more so that I can consider working less and going back to school, or at least if not going to school being able to save up money.

On the other hand the second job offer would have a much higher earning potential nearly double what I had been making and would allow me to save up a good amount of money relatively quickly and may provide a way for me to be able to walk away and consider other options later on having saved up enough money to transition.

The drawback on the second option was that it would require me to work 13-14 hour graveyard (afternoon into early next morning) shifts, which effectively would prevent going to school and would be a job that would require that I step out of a lot of comfort zones and have to acclimate to a job that can be quite stressful and taxing as well as face the point of no longer being in a position of authority or management that I was used to.

You may have spotted the common root that was lurking within both decisions - which is that the fear and resistance of stepping outside of my comfort zones was a central point: the point of not wanting to have to step beyond my comfort zone.

Realizations of Opportunity

So here is where the REAL decision comes. Because ultimately it was not so much about wanting to make the 'right' choice about which job to take or which working environment to be in - but rather the REAL decision was who I am and who I decide to be in the face of these two options, and which option I see would be the most practical and effective in terms of me directing and moving myself to achieve my fullest potential.

What I realized here was that there was in fact no "right" or "correct" choice here to not look at it in such a limited way. But rather to consider this a kind of "decision point" within my life that is asking the question :

"Joe, in light of everything that has happened up to this moment, who do you decide to be and how will you engage or create yourself?".

Ah, now it begins to unfold more - and within this perspective of looking at the decision before me not as a 'test' to see if I get it right, but rather seeing it as a point of self-creation and direction I realized the following:

No matter which job I chose, I would have to face the point of not wanting to step outside of my comfort zone - and in order to address this of course I had to define and specify what this comfort zone is, and what I am allowing myself to fear which is keeping me dependent on remaining behind the comfort zone.

For me, this comfort zone was about having to be vulnerable and open to new people, to new experiences, and to be willing to be humble with myself and take responsibility for my weaknesses while finding ways to better utilize my strengths. To in one moment be open to new things while also letting go of the old and having to take full responsibility for whatever comes.

Defining the Problem

Rising up and facing new things head on is something that I have developed quite a resistance to throughout myself, as one of the main patterns that played out in my childhood and young adult life was that of feeling disempowered and having to 'make do' with compromising myself and protecting myself from the 'outside' which included anything new or anything that did not come from people that I depended on to make decisions for me such as my parents.

For many years I developed layer after layer of defenses to essentially protect myself from the things I had not learned to address which over time became more and more automated - to a degree where such defenses became such a constant and consistent part of my decision making that I eventually stopped noticing it and simply determined that it is who I am and who I always was. Almost 'instinctively' I would create positions for myself where I would be 'safe' from having too much responsibility or having to take on new challenges and whenever I did find myself in a situation where I would have to step beyond those fears, I would immediately and conveniently create a way "out".

And now within this moment of opportunity before me I began to see more clearly my role and responsibility within the decision I was about to make - do I allow my memories and my past experiences to define me? Do I continue to defend my limitations for fear of what challenges I may face beyond them? But perhaps most important:

Do I accept and allow myself to believe that my comfort zone or my fears and limitations are concrete, unchangeable, and more substantial than the potential that I can be and become in regards to this decision before me?

And so from that starting point I looked again at the choices -

To continue with a job that would not greatly contribute to my earning potential but would be comfortable and easy and allow me to accept a lesser version of my potential.

Or to unconditionally allow myself to face the new challenges as they come within the new position, understanding that I will have to face fears and doubts and to instead of judging myself when I run up against the walls of my comfort zone, rather see it as an opportunity to find ways to expand and step beyond it - to allow myself to attain a higher earning potential than I ever had before and with this to expand and be able to do more, contribute more, and come closer to reaching my utmost potential with the time that I have left - or at least having pushed myself to try and be willing to challenge and contest the walls of my self-limitations rather than giving in automatically.

I chose the latter. And with it came new challenges and indeed the barriers of my comfort zone rose quickly to greet me. Though that is a story for another chapter.

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joe kou
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Re: Joe's Journey to Life

Postby joe kou » 21 Jun 2016, 14:10

Day 195 - To all the Isolated Loners on the Outside Looking In

This one goes out to all of the people out there who are on the "outside looking in".

You know who you are. You are the ones who at some point in your life, for one reason or another, went on a path that took you away from the kinds of paths your fellow peers took. You are the ones sitting in the back row, watching the action unfold but never getting yourself into the mix. You are the wallflower, leaning against the back wall with arms folded across your chest attentively listening in but never speaking unless spoken to. You are the deep ones, with a lot to say, but somehow don't seem to have whatever it is other people have that lets them just open up and talk to people and be "social" and this drives you crazy but you'll never let anyone else see it on your face.

If this at all sounds like you, you probably think this is just the way you are, and that this is the way you are going to remain for the rest of your life - and maybe you have even made peace with it or romaticized the idea of being the "outsider" and turned it into a part of who you are even though there is still some part of you, some small, tiny spark that says "No, I am more than this and I want to connect with people" but instead of listening to that little spark, you tend to push it down and dismiss it as fantasy or wishful thinking.

I am going to tell you a very personal story - a story that I very rarely tell, but may open up some new perspectives for you, the outsiders looking in. And by the end of the story perhaps you will reconsider some things about yourself and see that the fears that come up inside of you when even considering the possibility of engaging in a social life, or participating in a group setting, or simply sharing yourself with others and being comfortable, are simply indications that some very simple steps had been missed at some point in your crazy, outsider life - steps that with some understanding, awareness, and a bit of effort can easily be recovered.

An Outsider is Born

Throughout childhood I would often move back and forth between two countries. I was initially raised primarily by my aunts and grandparents in Taiwan and then returned to the US to begin my elementary schooling.

In the beginning I spoke no English - but it was quite remarkable how quickly and effortlessly I learned by simply being immersed in the language while I was in the US. I wanted to reach out and play with the other kids in my neighborhood and at that young age I did not have a conception of judging myself or thinking about whether or not the other kids would accept me if my language skills were poor or nearly non-existent. There was a kind of innocence to me back then - something that only later on in my life got replaced - but more on that later.

Throughout the years though I would be taken out of school and return to stay for many months in Taiwan - which meant that I never fully got a grade school education and would often be absent for much of the schooling. This also meant that I would be away from the friends that I had made and the American culture that I had gotten accustomed to and identified with.

When I was around 11 years old, we left the US once more but this time we stayed in Taiwan for a year. During this year the majority of my time was spent in my bedroom, very much isolated for most of the day except for the few moments of eating with family members. I was not able to read or write Chinese, and so I did not attend school while I was in Taiwan. Rather, I simply stayed at my bedroom and entertained myself with my toys, comic books, and video games - very much in my own little bubble.

I would often see other kids from outside of my window, looking down from the several storied flat where we lived. I felt detached from them - like I was locked up in my tower looking down. The most contact I managed to establish was to throw down from my window pictures and drawings that I had made to see if the kids down below would pick them up, react to them, comment about them. I never dared to venture out by myself to meet and interact with those kids on my own.

As the year progressed I found myself spending more and more time alone, in my own mind, creating pictures and fantasies and developing a lot of internalization in the absence of social living, all of this while also going through the onset of puberty. My mind began to become far more 'active' and 'vivid' so to speak - where I would constantly participate in backchat and internal dialogue while very seldom speaking with others.

At the end of that long stay, I returned to the US to finish the 8th grade - where once again there were other kids my age who spoke English and had been raised in the American culture that I had identified with. But this time however, I did not have that same point of "innocence" that I had when I was a child. This time, I had judgment and fear and comparison and all manner of fears and anxieties in dealing with other people after my period of relative isolation. Gone was that child who fearlessly went out to play with the "foreign" kids despite having no common language.

From that point on, I felt it was always a matter of having to "catch up" with everyone else - everyone else who had lived a more stable life, had a more well rounded education experience, had spent time socializing with others while I did not. I felt constantly awkward and judged myself for feeling awkward, which only made me act more.... awkward. Oh, did I mention I was also going through puberty? Yeah that didn't help my sense of confusion.

My voice was soft, quiet, sometimes quivering. I was often nervous and anxious and by hands and arms would shake like a caffeine addict going through withdrawal. My body was small, scrawny, and in some ways underdeveloped in comparison to others who had more active childhoods. It was hard to speak up, to ask for things, to seek assistance - the last thing I wanted was for more people to see this awkward, scrawny kid that I had become.

And thus, a loner/isolationist/outsider was born.

I, Outsider

I never felt that I could relate to other people. The things that they were involved in and interested in didn't seem as interesting or appealing to me. But this was also due to my own judgments about myself not fitting in and telling myself that I would never be accepted and that those things were just "not for me". I would for instance attempt to play sports with the other kids but because I never learned the rules of the sport or watched any sports on TV, I would make mistakes or do things that put my team into a bad position. I never quite got the hang of working within a team and did not understand how many of those dynamics worked. When the team I was on would tell me that I was no longer allowed to play with, I would simply internalize it as "That's okay, I don't like this anyway".

I focused more on my own pursuits and was a very introverted person, though of somebody were to reach out to me and speak with me I would have plenty to say. It simply did not move myself to engage with or open myself up to others. From High School on, I would live out this pattern of being a lone wolf so to speak - doing my own thing, not wanting to bother with friends, social outings, sports, or anything having to do with a normal life - which included going to school, going to college, earning a degree, getting into a career, settling down and having kids and a house, etc. All of that seemed strange to me and I told myself I wanted no part in it - even though within me a part of me always did.

I struggled with understanding HOW so many other people in my life seemed to be so good at... well, life. How did they manage to get into relationships, have children, get careers, move on with their lives? Why was it so difficult for me to develop those things? How can others so easily and effortlessly just seem to walk into a crowd and instantly make friends and be an "insider"? The answer eluded me for a long time - because the answer was always RIGHT IN MY FACE and I was too busy being an "outsider" to recognize the simplicity of it.

Fear as an Ally

I realized that my 'shyness' and aversion to social situations was not something bad or something to be ashamed of - it was the natural and logical defense mechanism for the kind of childhood I grew up in. I had abusive parents and did not establish communication or sharing skills at home. I did not spend my time with other children to learn/practice socialization skills. I did not participate in the things that the 'average' person would have participated in - and yet I was COMPARING myself to other people as though I had lived the lives they had.

I also realized that FEAR is simply a lack of understanding or relevant skill. It is a defense mechanism where we are trying to prepare for anything and everything because we do not know what to expect within a new situation, or when we are in a situation that involves things we don't understand and/or have not yet developed enough skill with. So within FEAR we try to compensate for our lack of awareness or skill by heightening everything - making everything MORE than what it is in case we miss something.

So when I looked again at the social situations where I find myself staying in the back rows, making myself scarce and barely present, but yet still wanting to be "part" of something and "contribute" something, I realized that what is holding me back is not fear itself, but what the fear was showing me: that I did not understand how certain things worked within social situations. And the reason I did not understand how certain things worked in social situations was because I did not have as much experience as others have - and simply had not developed the skills or learned the techniques due to my rather isolationist lifestyle and early childhood development.

So I realized that I spent so much time comparing myself to other people who have had totally different lives compared to my own, and then judging myself for not being like others. All that I lacked was the will to go out there and DO it - the same way that my much younger childhood self simply decided to GO outside, play with the other kids who I wasn't able to communicate with, and just have fun and figure it out as I went rather than already shooting myself down for not being able to already do something I had not learned or practiced.

So - these days when an opportunity to do something new with a group or with new people in general, I make it a point to push myself and remember the young child version of me that was fearless - because fear was totally unnecessary - and yes now and then certain social situations are still uncomfortable, but I do it regardless and each time I do, I become more natural, more skilled, and understand more how those particular social dynamics work - and you know what? The fears subside. And the plus side of it is - all of the depth that I had developed over the years now has an outlet, and boy have I got things to tell you.

For now, if any of you relate to my story of being an outsider or isolationist for experience fears or nervousness or even if like me your body/hands shake visibly and other people can see it - what I can tell you is that NOBODY ever judges you as much as you judge yourself. Seriously you might be offended at how little space you take up in other people's minds. Get yourself out there - slowly but surely. Start showing up at meetings. Then start participating a bit. Then keep doing it. And once you see that you have survived this horrifying socialization, SEEK OUT opportunities to express yourself and participate and come out of your comfort zone - and prepare to be surprised at how helpful people can be if you simply ask for support or spend some time to get to know them.

And for those who know of people who are isolationist but you can see them hanging around, kind of lingering, just barely there, know that it is very likely that they really really want to participate more but are not yet equipped with the skills to come out and engage with you. Sometimes they just need you to reach out to them first so they can see you aren't going to immediately judge them, and it takes the pressure off of them to have to break down the walls that they have been living behind for potentially many years - and be patient! These people can be very deep and like any deep body of water, it can take a while for things to surface - but when they do you may be surprised at what treasures and richness these deep people carry inside.

For more perspective, check out these interviews from EQAFE:
Life Review - Loner
Life Review - The Outsider

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joe kou
Posts: 451
Joined: 14 Jun 2011, 22:52

Re: Joe's Journey to Life

Postby joe kou » 20 Oct 2016, 19:11

DAY 196 - Vlog Challenge - Looking Back and Facing Forward

Have you ever found yourself asking why you haven't changed or progressed as much as you think you should have after so many years? Many of us have asked that question but seldom do we really slow down and appreciate or recognize the various ways we really have changed and how far we really have come.


Day 197 - Vlog Challenge - Creation VS Re-Creation

Have you ever felt disappointed when something doesn't go the way you planned and you are unable to recreate what you were working on? Here I share how I was able to let go of the past and of my hangups so that I can get right back into the creative flow.


Day 198 - Vlog Challenge - Speaking Up

Beginning a challenge for myself and others to speak up more directly and more often about the things we all see but don't speak about. Has your politeness compromised your integrity?


Day 199 - Vlog Challenge - Stop Lying to Yourself

Do you ever lie to yourself? Did you just now lie to yourself when looking at that very question? Why do we so often give up on the things that we commit to do for ourselves?


Day 200 - No Excuse for a Crap Day

We have all woken up to "one of those days" when you feel like crap and nothing seems worthwhile. But have you ever considered how your experience affects others?

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joe kou
Posts: 451
Joined: 14 Jun 2011, 22:52

Re: Joe's Journey to Life

Postby joe kou » 27 Nov 2016, 07:41

Day 201 Vlog Challenge - Desteni of Living Principles: What is Best for All

What does it mean to live by the principle of "What is Best for All"? In this vlog I share my perspective on this Desteni of Living Principle.

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joe kou
Posts: 451
Joined: 14 Jun 2011, 22:52

Re: Joe's Journey to Life

Postby joe kou » 28 Dec 2016, 07:47

Day 202 - Self-Forgiveness on Self-Forgiveness

Self-forgiveness is a powerful thing when you have the courage to apply it especially in the moments where every inch and fiber of your body wants to fight or resist.

But more importantly I have recently begun to understand that there is more to self-forgiveness that opens up when you really start looking at it from the perspective that self-forgiveness implies that you have the power and authority to forgive yourself - and that ability has the potential to set you free from everything that you are creating and holding on to - and the degree to which you are able to free yourself will be equal to the degree to which you are willing to apply and stand within that point of self-responsibility.

Today I begin with some self-forgiveness on self-forgiveness.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to separate myself from my own point of self-forgiveness where I sometimes wait for the right time, or the right moment, or when I feel like I see a point clearly enough, or when something somewhere outside of me indicates to me that "It is now time to write/speak/apply self-forgiveness" when in fact self-forgiveness is always here from the perspective that nothing is in fact actually stopping me from living within and as a constant and consistent application of self-forgiveness in each and every moment, not just when things get bad or when I "snap out" of a point.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to limit myself within self-forgiveness, where I created an idea that self-forgiveness is something separate from me that I must do, that I must "go to", that I must incorporate - and to not see that as long as I make self-forgiveness something separate from me, I will be approaching self-forgiveness from a position of inferiority - and within this I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see or consider that it is quite silly to approach myself and my own self-forgiveness from a point of inferiority because then I am making the statement that I am somehow less than and inferior to myself, and here the forgiveness is not self-forgiveness, but rather an asking for and begging for forgiveness from some part of me that I have judged as being "better" and having more authority.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to resist the concept that we are made in the image and likeness of God - where because of the Christian and religious contexts from which this statement originates, I immediately and automatically discounted it and did not want to consider it because I judged it as a statement of inferiority within a limiting belief system about God. Within this, I forgive myself that I had not accepted or allowed myself to be one and equal to myself within my responsibility within the life that am living and what I am creating, where in an indirect way I was still putting a kind of faith into an external God that somehow makes everything work, and within this I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to limit myself and make myself less than myself instead of realizing that if I am able to forgive myself of everything and make a decision to change who I am despite the resistances and fears that come up, then that means my resistances and fears do not define me - and that implies that I am in fact totally responsible for what I accept and allow because I am not in fact a victim, nor am I powerless towards the experiences within me. And therefore I am by all intents and purposes equal and one with the image and likeness of God - where I determine my experience absolutely, and am absolutely responsible.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear and resist living and applying self-forgiveness, as well as writing and speaking self-forgiveness, because doing so will make my responsibility even more real - because I see, realize, and understand that I am always responsible for myself and all the things that I participate in, but will still allow myself to be less than my potential and live less than my responsibility as long as I can keep suppressing and not actively taking my awareness and my responsibility into living action - and within this I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize until now how even when I suppress my self-forgiveness and self-honesty, my living actions and words will still create the exact circumstances in my life that will bring me always back to the point of self-forgiveness - so within this, I see, realize, and understand that self-forgiveness and self-honesty cannot be avoided even if we try - but there is no reason to need to avoid it or hide from it because it is not evil or malicious. Self-forgiveness is a point of return to responsibility - and this responsibility is an empowering one because it places you back into the point of authority and creation.

Therefore, I commit myself to recommit myself as many times as necessary to write, speak, live, apply self-forgiveness from the starting point of understanding my responsibility as one and equal to the image and likeness of God - where this is not about me going into an ego drip about being God of existence - it is about me being god of myself and everything that I create and participate in, because those things influence our shared reality, and in that sense I am responsible for what I am creating in the world and in the lives of people in my life, and to that extent I realize as well that living my self-honesty and self-forgiveness isn't only about me - it is also a statement that despite our resistances and fears, we can always bring ourselves back to the point of self-authority through self-forgiveness, and that means nobody - not a single person in the world - is actually alone or without the means to change - because if I can do it, so can anyone else. Therefore I have the responsibility to live as an example of that.

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