We know that is bad for us, yet we keep doing it. We know this is good for us, yet we keep avoiding it. Why? Because mind-knowing (conceptual) is not enough. We need a full set of heart-knowing (emotional), body-knowing (experiential) and soul-knowing (transcendental) to sustain change and freedom.
I was once asked, "What's your capacity for Stuwvyxz?" I don't know. What's Stuwvyxz? I tossed that inquiry in the junk drawer of "Things I Never Knew Existed". Thanks to a rom-com, my mind eventually figured out what Stuwvyxz is.
I spent months uneasy with the diagnosis of PTSD. In my ego-construct, PTSD was exclusively reserved for war veterans, refugees, and car crash and assault victims. It turns out, shame had me believe that I wasn't worthy of the PTSD diagnosis, ie of its healing...
Ever come home from school with a 99% and had your Asian parent ask you where the 1% went? How about coming home with 109% and still being asked there the 1% went. When the voice of "You're not enough!" are internalized, it turns to shame. Then under the magnifying glass of filial piety, it turns to self-hatred.
I could have coasted through this semi-retirement lifestyle for decades, but my soul yearned and cried for deeper meaning and broader contribution. "F*ck you, soul! Why can't you just be content?!?" Ah, but a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor...
This career identity took twice as long to let go than to build. I resented the Universe for calling me onto a new path, which I didn't even ask for it, and for making something I adored feel like such a drag.
This career was dreamier than the previous dream career. If I let it go there will be nothing left. It'd be years before I'd know that when you reach the end of your rope, the Universe intervenes. Not to hand you a new rope (that would be too easy), but to...
I felt mad making a career 180 and starting over from scratch at this point. Who walks away from job offers and amazing female mentors?!? It'd be another 9 years before I discerned: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
Someone out there is able to study the cosmos thanks to aerospace telescope parts that I made with my two bare hands. But keeping the awe of the cosmos in my heart isn't the same as spending an entire career climbing uphill toward an impenetrable "Boys Club."
I did a career 180 when I went into banking, thinking I'd finally become the best white man and eldest son I was supposed to be. Ha! In the end, only three things matter: one of them is letting go of things not meant for you.
I had never touched any kind of industrial machinery before, but my aluminum coupling turned out better than my mentor's. But that career would have been an over-compensation for the career that my dad loss.
Navigating identity crisis, non-conformity and freedom requires a soul with stamina. "The price is high, the reward is great." May these stories of my 16 career identity re-inventions inspire you to make brave leaps of faith, examine your choices with awe, and surrender to the unfolding of your unique path.