Journey to Emotional Mastery

This week has been emotional and challenging. 

I was facilitating a workshop with a co-worker and she kept cutting me off in front of the group of people. Well, I didn’t handle it well. I was very much in touch with my anger, I was livid, and I let it show. She played it well, and I lost.
It’s not the first time it happened and it’s not the last one. I didn’t take time to breathe and let go of my emotions, I actually was fueling the fire by thinking about it over and over. 

Reflecting on the interaction, I realized I gave up the only control I had – control over myself. I was hoping to become friends with her and was trying to not only accommodate her personality but also bring myself down so she wouldn’t feel threatened or intimidated. I gave up almost all my power and lost. I lost a battle with myself. It really has nothing to do with her, she is just an archetype that keeps bringing my own struggle with my emotion to the forefront and we are probably even similar in some way – strong individuals. 

I was upset that it happened again and decided to sit down and map out what has happened. It was not the emotion of the moment, it was an emotion dragging from the day prior: we had a short interaction, I had emotional reaction, I made a decision of how I was going to act and I carried it out as well as anything else I commit to. Being a Scorpio by zodiac sign, I stayed true to my nature and I hurt myself more than the other party.

There were three forms of expression  – emotional, psychological and behavioral (physical). At first I was overwhelmed by how much ground I’d have to cover to start interrupting this pattern. But writing it down and looking at it visually made so much sense! The solution was right in front of me.  Since I know that it starts with emotion, then it transforms into psychological (inner dialog and rumination) and then into behavioral (I shut down, cross my arms, make a straight face, etc), I can tackle root cause first. The other two seem to be the outcomes.

My plan is do dump all the emotions on paper next time I catch myself in it or breathe until I can. Simple but for a reason – I have to interrupt myself immediately, and to be able to execute it fast.

Never again I’m giving my power away – I’m going to fight with myself until I master it. My goal is to not eradicate the emotions but channel them differently. I have so much passion for life and my emotions confirm that I fucking love every second of it!



60% Rule

We live in a mostly defined world, we mostly understand how society operates, we mostly understand how our community behaves and how we are. It would be all simple if we were not highly individual growing up with slightly (or largely) varied rules, norms, and cultures. In this world, my one does not equal your one.

When we communicate, we layer our experiences onto the language system, which also becomes individualized. If we speak the same language, let’s say English, we are only understanding about 60-80% (at best) of the same meaning. It’s if all of us have our own dialect – a variation of English.

Our social clues and emotions of the moment make this phenomenon more complex. While we are having a conversation, if we don’t understand something, our brain adds the missing pieces to minimize the unknown and paint a full picture.

So we go along, don’t ask anything and just assume. By the end of it, we are lucky to be at 60% on the same page with the other person. This is why it is so important to vary communication methods and communicate frequently when initiating and leading change. When our subconscious kicks in, we are not trying to understand, we are trying to determine if what the other person is saying threatens our current existence or not.

From a neuroscience standpoint, unknown equals threat. If our brain does not know what to expect next, it prepares us for a version of a possible future. Our body responds with high levels of alertness with blood pumping to main muscles – heart being at the center. Not much support goes to cognitive function because subconscious is a much more suitable device for keeping us alive. If our environment does not provide enough definitions, we automatically go into this state. But let’s go back, we have some information…

While we hope to achieve a one hundred percent understanding of one another, we are subject to the cognitive fallacy thinking that this state is even possible.


Why Being Selfish is Good For You

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No, I’m not talking about extremes and the psychological conditions of being solely focused on your own needs and thinking that the world is here to serve you, which typically leads to harming or abusing others.
What I am talking about is a healthy relationship with ourselves. What does it look like?

One axiom that took me years to recognize is that if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t give as much as I want, I’m not as creative as I want, I’m not as open to life and im not necessarily a force for good in the world. These are just a few examples and I hope it paints the picture. 

I was raised in the culture that treats putting your needs and desires before anyone else’s as bad. When I was a child these rules were served with words such as “you have to be nice to others”, “you have to be good”, “you have to be polite”, “don’t be selfish.” It also meant sacrificing. A lot of it.

In my relationship, as I grew into an adult, this manifested into a codependency . I took care of my partner, our dogs, house, laundry, dishes, and then… and then I had no energy to do anything for myself. After 6 years I have developed a strong feeling of resentment, aggression, and I was completely depleted. I’d pick up a canvas and a box of paints and I would not be able to paint for more than 30minutes, I was completely blocked and it made me even more angry and frustrated.

It took some soul-searching to be OK with not having to take care of others before myself first. And by “some” I mean ending a relationship, hitting rock bottom financially, feeling alone in the world, and being depressed.

Self sacrificing does not lead us to being better people, it leads us to having lots of pain, no energy and emotional and physical depletion. It also, as it did in my case, leads to a justified state of a victimhood. I started to live for others and any chance of telling my glorious story of self-sacrifice. It’s noble, right?

Absolutely not! …and not only it’s not noble and not good for us, it’s not good for the people we are with. It’s not attractive, and it does not lead to having a life-long relationships and friendships. It’s draining for everyone involved. 
The ability to prioritize our own needs is nourishing and it is exactly what feeds our life forces. 

If you are like me, and were raised to be nice and “not selfish”, take a second look at your priorities. If you don’t see a few of your own needs on the first and second places, maybe it’s time for a serious life Spring clean.


Correlation between Significance and Number of Times

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How do we learn a lesson? We make a mistake and make our conclusions, we reflect, adjust our behavior and never make the same mistake again. This is called wisdom  that is organically developed through life experiences. It works with fire, it works with love, it works with anything that really hurts emotionally or physically. But what if we feel stuck in our personal growth and there is more of a discomfort and not pain? Not as simple…

In 2014 I travelled to Peru to do spiritual work. One of the main insights of doing the work was that I had to meditate. I didn’t pay attention to it. 

In 2015 when I returned to the jungle, the message was still there. I didn’t pay attention to it. I started journaling, being in nature, self-reflecting, trying things out, making lists. I was convinced I was doing THE WORK. 

At the end of 2015 I became curious in transcendental meditation. I learned the technique, I liked it… I practiced for a few months and stopped using being busy with my MBA studies as an excuse. Who in their right mind has time to meditate while working full-time and taking four courses a semester? No-one! …plus, I have to sleep. I closed this question quickly. Needless to say, I stopped. 

In 2016, when I came back to Peru surprisingly the same message resurfaced – “you have to sit.” Nuh, I really need to find myself. I totally ignored it. AGAIN!
This year – 2018, I was sitting in my room frustrated because I reached a point when I realized that journaling, walks and reflections were not helping me get to the next level, I have been swimming in the same pond for some time and didn’t know how to break free. Of course Universe works in magical ways. I was scrolling through YouTube and saw a Dr. Joe Dispenza video about becoming a superhuman. Even though I didn’t finish two of his books, it sounded interesting. I pressed play and found myself in tears because this is exactly what I have been looking for. He talked about getting to the next level of existence with the help of guided meditations. What a concept, right?! I downloaded one of his meditations, I sat down for 45minutes and was crying and laughing because my experience was so powerful. 

I did it for 140 days without breaks and I could not have been happier with results – my mood improved, my confidence went up, I got my dream job, my memory became phenomenal and my creativity was at an all-time high. 
What is so amazing to me is that I resisted to do anything with the message I received in 2014 for four years! And sometimes it takes me tens and hundreds of times to hear the same message until it clicks and makes sense, and I do something about it. The more significant for life the action is, the more times I need to hear it. And the inner resistance is like a compass – it point to true North where transformation happens – this is where we need to go.


Discovering real me

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How many time a day do we really get to be ourselves? 100% unfiltered with all the corks? 

Yesterday I was facilitating a workshop. It started as a pretty typical vanilla for a networking event with a room full of people who don’t know each other. People were polite, somewhat listening, and eager to talk about themselves. A part of the workshop was a game, which is frustrating and is designed to put people under stress simulating work environment. A few rounds into the game, and the real personalities started to show with competitiveness, talking over others, desire to control, me against you mentality.

This made me think of the affects that stress has on us. It really is a quick way to test what we are about. We spend our lives crafting our personas – we meticulously build a maze of our own personality traits and filter them through years of rigorous conditioning (the rules and boundaries our parents draw, our environments, sub-culture of social groups we belong to). Somewhere in the middle of the maze is a condensed version of who are really are. The center that very rarely sees the light of day until we get stressed – and then it starts seeping through. 

This is a perfect opportunity for self-discovery. The key to uncovering this condensed personality is to focus on one thing at a time and get to the point when we are content with it – self-acceptance.

Through reflecting on how I was under stress, I realized it was perfectly fine that I’m direct, that I need time by myself to recharge, that I enjoy being the center of attention, and the fact that I can make mistakes in English when speaking  even after studying it since I was 6yo and having an MBA. I could not have dreamed about it a four years ago! I had to be perfect and was so hard on myself if I said something that sounded funny to me, or if I did make a mistake, or if I was silly.

It’s definitely a journey and this transformation does not happen overnight, but it’s such a liberating feeling! It gave me confidence and true realization of my own power (even though I still feel I have a long way to go).


How I found my Purpose

So many people are looking for purpose. Not long ago I was looking for it myself. Are Millennials plagued with this question? Is it only people in US? It doesn’t seem to be related to gender… Is it a part of human condition? Why are we looking, not finding and is it even possible to find purpose? Maybe…

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Many of us don’t realize that this question is more than just another question. Whether we want it or not, It is a symbol of status, which means we have our basic needs met – we have food, clothes, shelter, we are bored or dissatisfied with work and life or we might not really be living to our Instagram persona, but generally we are doing pretty awesome – we are not struggling for survival. Thank you, Universe! So what’s missing?

Disconnect of Desire and Action

Why are we not finding purpose? Simple. You have to put in the work. Purpose stems from the things we gravitate towards – things we like and enjoy. These are clues to our purpose. There is no magic fit-all answer, and if you don’t personally take action and responsibility for your life – no one will! I know, this is shocking, but do the damn work!When I tell my friends it took me four years to even begin to understand what I enjoyed in life, I make it sound easy. No, it wasn’t easy. Countless times of feeling angry, frustrated, wanting to give up, been desperate. Without going through the process, I would not have discovered any of it.  It sucked! None of the shortcuts worked either. Oh, I will just be an Instagrammer or a vlogger – none of it stuck and I had multiple attempts (talking in hundreds) because I was so disconnected with myself. When I started to realize what I was about, what I liked and enjoyed, it started to become clear. 

The Ultimate purpose

I don’t think purpose is static and it’s up to us to define it. It can vary from moment to moment, from year to year but I don’t think there is ONE purpose. Think about it for a second. When Little mermaid found a fork on the bottom of the ocean, she used it to comb her hair. She could also use it to eat, rake a zen garden or prop a plant. WE assign purpose and it’s up to our imagination and creativity to define it. Don’t get stuck with looking for the ultimate purpose because life is passing by and instead of enjoying the exploration, we put this ridiculous pressure on ourselves to have it all figured it out. It’s OK if we don’t have one. Once I accepted this simple fact (really accepted not just BS’d myself into believing that I believed it), the question of purpose resolved on it’s own. Go figure.