"You are a great coach, but I get the feeling that people don't take you seriously with your Happiness Coach title..."
It wasn't the first time I had heard that. Hearing that from Szilvia, my tarot card healer in Bali, somehow made the gravity of it all sink in that much more.
Talking to old classmates about trying to bring my signature Happiness Workshop to their corporations was met with resistance similar to what Szilvia foretold:
"Well, we are about our bottom line here, unfortunately. Money."
"Our bank thinks that if we have a workshop like that, people in the company will assume that we are not happy..."
I wanted to scream from the top of my lungs or I guess in this case text in capital letters, HAPPY employees lead to:
I watched a documentary recently entitled "The Corporation," in which today's corporation was compared to The World Health Organization's checklist for its definition for a psychopath:
Before corporations were corporations, there were moral codes, values, traditions that did not allow us to wreak havoc on the environment, blatantly ignore human rights/suffering, do mind numbing work, meaningless work for profit and not purpose. We all lived in a community: we shared the land, the rivers, the crops, and so much more. Our social relationships based on our shared values created everlasting bonds of happiness.
Now we live online, hiding behind computer screens/the latest smartphone device, devoid of human contact and social relationships--
the very thing that feeds our souls. We work in cubicles communicating not face-to-face, but online. We live in cities far removed from nature.
Our brains were not built for this type of work either. Just as much as our bodies cannot process fast food, our brains were built for flight or fight responses. If there's a lion, we run. Then cortisol levels drop, and the stress goes. Now, if there's an angry boss, we stay, cortisol levels don't drop, and the stress never leaves. And we all know, chronic stress leads to increased risk for depression, mental illness, lower life expectancy, and the laundry list goes on.
So what now? We need a change. A change in a POSITIVE direction. A POSITIVE environment where people feel free to work on work that matters. POSITIVE co-workers: people who love what they do genuinely, because it benefits the greater good. POSITIVE outcomes: goals that change the world for the better, not built on profit. POSITIVE perspectives: finding creative solutions not problems, such that the majority will benefit and thrive. And of course, POSITIVE leaders who will lead all of this, elevate all of us (and themselves), and create a fundamental shift by putting others before themselves.
Gosh, now more than ever, I think corporations need to move from their psychopathic leadership to one of kindness, compassion, giving, and of course HAPPINESS towards a more POSITIVE (+) kind of LEADership.
Now I'm Kyla the Positive Leadership Coach, no longer Kyla the Happiness Coach, but what remains the same is my purpose, my vision of driving this change towards a brighter, better, happier, more positive society.
*This blog post is inspired by + dedicated to my husband: the most positive leader out there!
Over lunch somewhere in Incheon, I caught up with my friend Chris and told him all about my recent travels to Bali. I knew he would understand, as he was deeply spiritual himself and would often do meditations on me and as of late WITH me. As I recounted each story of healing, his eyes widened, his smile deepened, and as always I could feel him radiate warmth and calm energy.
The Balinese Healer
She was an 8th generation healer. I had first met her when she did a small blessing on each one of us at the retreat (see above photo). It immediately brought me back to childhood. Each morning, my Popo ("maternal grandmother" in Cantonese) would use similar incense to pray to her Chinese gods.
In our own private room, she chanted in Balinese. I wasn't sure what she was saying, or what she was doing, but I could feel my body ease into her healing. She told me I needed to breathe more, that my breaths were too shallow, and sent me home with a bottle of "holy water" she had blessed.
I left feeling a deep relief: knowing that the negative energy had left me, but also that somehow Popo was WITH me in that room too.
Suksma, Ibu. ("Thank you, Ma'am" in Balinese)
The Western Healer
"Breathe into your pain." When someone is dry massaging you, and you already have a low tolerance for pain, and you hear them say that, it seems like somewhat of an oxymoron.
"You know, in the western world, we are taught to run away from pain, right? That pain is a bad thing..." Malcolm continued. He was a massage therapist-meets-life coach. The staff at the retreat had told me that he could "see right through you."
"Yes, but it hurts..." I whined.
"What or who is telling you it hurts?" he asked.
"Well, I think my mind is..." I answered hesitantly.
"Yes, exactly. Go on, breathe into it. Another deep breath."
As the dry massage continued on my back, the pain dissipated just as he had said, as my breaths deepened. Malcolm asked me how I felt at the end of the session. I had so many thoughts running through my head: Whoa, I ran towards pain. Whoa, I have had this fear of pain most of my life until this very moment. Whoa, my mind has been telling me to fear pain this whole time.
"Gosh, I feel like, if you took this table out from under me, I would float here like a lotus flower."
I floated out of that room an inch taller.
Thank you, Malcolm.
The Tarot Card Healer
I first met Szilvia at the retreat. I must admit, even though Chris had done tarot card reading on me, and bought me my very first tarot card pack, I went into the 30-minute reading a little bit skeptical. Just to let you know, I came out of that reading with tears of joy, because there is no way she could have known what she did.
During a second reading a week later, I asked her why I was having nightmares and she pinpointed it to three reasons: 1) negative energy from clients/people I work with; 2) ghosts in my apartment (whose presence I have actually felt); 3) family stress I am taking on. She recommended I have someone do theta healing on me. I found out she was actually a licensed practitioner of theta healing and was overjoyed that she could do the work on me.
We sat in my hotel room across from each other, my palms on top of hers. I wondered with my skeptical mind, what I had gotten myself into, and what we were going to do. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. Almost as if she sensed my nervousness, she asked me to stand up and close my eyes.
"I am going to ask your body some questions--not your mind--your body," Szilvia instructed gently as we began the session.
"Ok..." I said out loud but my mind was going back and forth thinking: What does that even mean? How can she talk to my body? I don't even know. Whaaat?!
"Body, tell us..." and that is how she began each yes or no question she would ask my body.
In the beginning, my body would lean slightly forward for "yes" and lean slightly backwards for "no." I was astonished. How was my body moving without my mind telling it to? What was happening? Later, the same happened in the chair, sitting down, except the motion was even greater.
Thank you, Szilvia. You'll be happy to hear my nightmares are gone.
Thoughts on Healing
Ok, I admit, I was super skeptical. I understand why too. Our brains are hardwired to protect us from unknowns/change/differences but I think the more open we are, the more phenomenal, life-changing experiences we can have.
On my week solo after the retreat, I serendipitously ran into Eve. She is the diet/nutrition consultant my hotel hired. I went on to rave about Szilvia during our conversation and found out that the two were really good friends--small world. And then she said, "I think we all have that power to connect and heal ourselves. It's just some are more in tune to it then others." Yes, totally agreed.
And what if these healers were huge mirrors that reflected what was truly going on within, reminded us of what was going on within, and gently helped us move passed negative energy, blocks, blindspots, and so much more?
Over coffee with Chris, I showed him the video (below) I had made in gratitude for the staff at the retreat I had gone to.
He looked up from the video and glanced at me, saying, "Wow. You have really changed Kyla. You are like a different person. I am so happy for you."
"Chris, I feel like I am vibrating on a whole different level."
"Kyla, you certainly are. There is no doubt about it."
*This blog post is dedicated to my friend Chris. Thank you for always encouraging and inspiring me to dig deeper within myself. This blog post was inspired by Szilvia, Malcolm, Ibu, and all of the amazing healers out there--official and unofficial. Keep up your life-changing work.*
Thank you for choosing this year to diagnose my mom with early onset dementia. It has brought my family closer together both geographically and emotionally, and we have been able to help my mom get the help and attention she needs.
Side Note to Dementia: Thank you for choosing my mom. Although you are an unsolvable riddle and there is as yet a cure for you, you have given my mom the "power of now" as Eckhart Tolle would say. She no longer holds grudges or holds on to events that were negative, and she remains in the present. Thank you for allowing us to take care of her the way that she has taken care of us.
Back to you, 2017. Thank you for showing me that no matter the challenge, I have the tools within me to work through them. It is the path to myself, that leads to my inner self, that often is the trickiest path to find and stick to, but once there, the sky is the limit.
The Eraser Test: What would you erase from your life if you could?
Reading this part in Gawdat's book, Solve for Happy, my mind immediately jumped from event to event in the hopes of finding something to erase. As I read on, and as my mind went on, I realized, Holy cow, I can't. Those seemingly negative experiences led to seemingly positive experiences. And just as Gawdat says in his book,
"nothing is really good or bad."
If I erased my mom's dementia, I would also have to erase my becoming a licensed life coach, the sheer amount of depth added to my book writing/coaching, my pop-up cafe, learning how to surf, doing a ton of work on myself WITH myself, and the list continues. Whoa, game changer.
So 2017, you have been an extraordinary year for growth, change, self-awareness, and so much more. You have pushed me to become the best version of myself by actually helping me realize that I could do it all along. Perhaps I just needed that nudge, hey?
As Gawdat mentions in his book, 2017, you showed me how to see past one of the illusions called FEAR: Pushing past this, realizing that what was at the core of this FEAR was actually fear of rejection, I created this blog and an F-word FB Live Video Series.
Gawdat talks of blind spots like memories. I would hold on to memories that would keep me from doing something or moving forward. However, I recognized that my memory of surfing being scary was just that and not the truth. So I moved through fear paralysis and tried it! YEAH! 1-Kyla 0-Blindspots.
Finally, you showed me how to realize one of the ultimate truths: LOVE. Love does indeed cut through all of this Bull**** in our lives, Gawdat. And reminds us of what is truly important. I am so grateful for my hubby's unconditional love, my family's unconditional love, my friends' unconditional love. <3
Gawdat's Equation for Happiness:
HAPPINESS ≥ Events (Your Perception of them) - Expectations (Of How Life Should be)
Math was never my strong suit, but if ever there was to be an equation for HAPPINESS, it would simply be this one. To live your life happily, perception is everything. If you think an event is unhappy, your brain will tell you that. You will continue to think about that thought -> suffer -> inaction (i.e. not do anything about it), thus creating a vicious cycle. OMG, I used to do that all the time. Ok, I still do, but awareness is half the battle, right? If you expect your life to be a certain way, and it doesn't meet your expectations, you will also fall short of what really matters.
Ok, just stop to think about all of this and digest it for a second before reading on.
Let go of your perceptions, let go of your expectations, and just LIVE.
Gosh, 2017, it has been a roller coaster of a ride, but I don't think we would have wanted it any other way, right? I remain humbled, a life-long learner, open to even more growth/change/self-awareness, and whatever else your sibling 2018 brings me.
Farewell, 2017. I'll miss you, but I am looking forward to working WITH you 2018.
*This blog post was inspired by Mo Gawdat's Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy. (If you haven't already read it, I suggest you do! It is a game-changer.) This blog post is dedicated to Mo's son Ali, who is no longer with us, but smiling WITH us from somewhere in the universe. Check out Gawdat's video below. I am totally WITH you Gawdat on making 10 million people happier. Let's do this!