Getting to Know Myself

I’ve been trying to put into words what I’ve been up to.  A part of me wants to keep this secret.  The other part wants to reach out.  So I hid in silence for a bit.  Now it’s time… even if it makes me look foolish…

Ever since I embarked on this yoga teaching stuff, I’ve been challenged over and over again to “find your true self, authentic self”  I’m willing to bet that you teachers out there can admit that you’ve probably spoke these cliche words to your students too.  What the heck does that mean?  True self?  I’ve been asking myself that a lot since level 2 training.   And the answer is still “I dunno.” 

I remember one of my teachers, Philip Urso talking about looking at the pose at a “cellular” level.  What’s happening here?  The lactic acid is building up, your thighs are boiling and your hips are wanting to collapse rather than expand from a long warrior 2 hold.  “Can you look directly at that?” he asks us as we are turning blue in the face from holding our breath because now we’re up in the state of our mind about the pose and when he is going to say release or chaturanga or anything but stay in the pose. 

It sounds like if we were looking at the cellular/physical level of a pose we would be in our true self… a state of presence and experiencing the reality right in front of us.  Instead we go up in the stadium of thoughts about thoughts. 

Gotta love facebook!  A friend writes:

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

~Unknown

… watch your character… is so appropriate for me.   The words I’ve been trying to write about is exactly about this.  I have recently found this deep desire to know myself from my roots.  According to DNA, I am of Laotian descent.  I speak it occasionally.   Other than that I am somewhat embarrassed that my kids don’t speak it (they do understand a bit.. give me that much), I don’t wear our native dress.  It is reserved for very special occasions only and I don’t remember when the last time I wore such outfits. 
Traditional Lao dress. These are very elegant. Can they design yoga outfits like these?
I rarely cook my ethnic foods just because I would rather not eat what Laotians eat.  
My favorite food is: papaya salad, any fish and veggie dish.. other than that, I rather have italian, mexican, or anything else besides pork and beef
The most embarrassing is that I don’t even know the name of the village/town that my family is from.   I guess I could blame it on the fact that I grew up in America and while growing up here, I didn’t want to be different.  If you’re of any Asian descent, I’m sure you can relate to the fact that Asian parents don’t have conversations with their kids about this kind of stuff.  We don’t have family trees!
so far I know I have roots from this district: Huay Xai (image from backpackingasia.com)


Long story longer… it’s magical when you have a deep passion for something and the universe helps you manifest it.  I recently connected with a non-profit organization called Jai Lao Foundation (jai means heart).  They are a humanitarian group that is “dedicated to alleviate economic hardships for Laotians in Laos and in the United States. Specifically, Jai Lao passionately strives to improve the quality of schools and education for disadvantaged children in Laos and offers need based and merit scholarships for students in U.S.”

On my bucketlist is to one day not only visit my home country but also give my service.   The Jai Lao Foundation is holding an essay contest that I am entering.  The work is to nominate a remote village in Laos that deserves a new school.   The nominator of the choosen village will get to go with Jai Lao and be directly involved in building the new school.   Now that’s what I call a call to action!  A possibility has opened up for me to realize one of my dreams.

The Road block?

A call to action for me to dig up my past.  Talk to my parents (it’s quite daunting for me).  And to pour my heart out there… just as it is.

Perhaps… just perhaps this will help me uncover my true self.  After all, our true self could be hidden deep in the DNA and cellular level.   Maybe… just maybe.. I’ve been up in the stadium of thoughts about thoughts about who I am.

Stay tuned…
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8 thoughts on “Getting to Know Myself

  1. very worthwhile project, building a school and being part of it, i hope you get to do all that ;-)

    i’m 3rd generation from mexico, and further back spain, and i tried many years ago just to find out which indian tribes in northern mexico, that half of my mexican ancestors were from, but we were too far removed – so yes, search now while you can!

    and of course, there’s then the question, where did your family in laos come from, as mine from spain – and it extends and extends, and for me, really gives me a deeper connection as an american, and a person

    best of luck nikki i’ll “stay tuned” ;-)

  2. i love this! :) i totally know what you mean about the family history thing – i didn’t really start learning/knowing anything until college when i had to really ask my parents about our family tree! so excited to see how the journey unfolds!

  3. Loved your candid musings. I grew up in California- my grandparents immigrants of Lebanon. My parents spoke Arabic but it was more important to them that we “assimilated” into the American culture. However, the way I grew up and the close knit ties I experienced in my extended family were all about being “Lebanese”. I wonder now why my grandparents felt such shame about not being Americans or of European decent. I am so proud of who I am and the beauty of how I grew up. I wish I had gotten more…

    1. Hi Rose Marie, thank you for sharing. I completely agree. Unfortunately when we immigrated to U.S. we didn’t have much extended family here. I felt like I grew up very american compared to my cousins and other relatives who immigrated here when they were much older. I see that they are “more” Laotian than I am. With this project I hope to reconnect to my culture and learn all I can about my history before it’s too late and I have no one to tell me the stories.

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