NEW ALBUM OUT (Singing You This Song)!!! And what do Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness, and Simon Cowell have in common?

Singing You This Song Album Cover

Heartscape (Lovingkindness) by Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of my favourite mindfulness meditations.

There was a time in my life when I practised Heartscape daily. It was during this period that I wrote “It Is What It Is”, which is one of the tracks on my new album which came out last week. [[free download by the way!!!!!]]

Well, it’s been a couple of years, but about a week ago, I was brought back to my passion for mindfulness and started practising Heartscape daily again. So every day, I’ve been practising this meditation, sometimes twice a day, morning and night.  And I can confirm that this is having an effect on me. And the effect is this: I am dreaming about Simon Cowell.

So last night, I dreamt I was at a party. It was a birthday party for a young woman, maybe around 19. There were about a dozen of us at the party, and we were all sitting around an open plan kitchen/living space. And Simon Cowell arrived. He was ushered in, seated in amongst everyone, and suddenly everybody was focused on him. And they were asking him question after question about himself and his life.

I thought he was quite a good sport about it. He was being polite, and answering questions, but clearly wasn’t keen on having all the attention in the room focused on him. And this went on for quite awhile, and I felt increasingly uncomfortable with the situation. And then one man, sitting cross legged on the floor, said, “So Simon … I have a nephew who plays the saxophone …”

And then he proceeded to ask if Simon would listen to his nephew play the sax and see how talented he was and maybe he could help his nephew out. And I just lost totally lost it. I started telling off everybody in the room . I went, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? SIMON HAS COME HERE AS A GUEST, NOT TO WORK. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF EVERY TIME YOU WENT SOMEWHERE PEOPLE CONSTANTLY TRIED TO GET YOU TO DO WORK FOR THEM? LIKE YOU … YOU’RE A NURSE … WHAT IF EVERY TIME YOU WENT TO A HOUSE PARTY SOMEONE WOULD SAY, WELL I HAVE AN INFIRM AUNT WHO IS BEDRIDDEN, SHE’S UPSTAIRS, COULD YOU JUST HELP HER OUT A LITTLE BIT WHILE YOU’RE HERE? THIS IS NOT OKAY. JUST LEAVE THE POOR MAN ALONE. HAVE A LITTLE EMPATHY.”

And the dream went a bit weird from there … well, weirder … I left the party, and so did the birthday girl, and so did Simon Cowell. And at some point I ended up kissing Simon?! And in a surreal dream sort of way, some time passed, and there was a whole string of events that involved Simon Cowell trying to woo me by sending me flowers etc, because he was so grateful for being treated like a human being and not like some means to an end.

So, yeah. If you try out Heartscape, beware. You never know what will crop up in your dreams.

Anyway, I woke up and immediately … well, once the “what the hell was that” passed … I immediately felt deep compassion for all people who feel really weighed down, or pressured by all the demands on them, especially demands they perceive others making of them.

Because I know it can be really overwhelming when you feel you need to give and give … so this is for all the mums, and the dads, and the spouses and lovers and sisters and brothers and sons and daughters, friends and colleagues, everyone who is dealing with so much in their lives just dealing with their day-to-day, and also doing their best to be in loving relationship those near to them. It isn’t easy. But as we meet those around us with love, we find not only joy, but we find ourselves. I believe that.

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How To Be A Better Parent

So I have a brand new vlog! My first vlog ever. It is called LeeSun, Truth Teller.

I began last Thursday, and so far have posted

1 How To Tell If Art Is Good
2 The Truth About Being Good Looking
3 How To Be A Better Parent

This vlogging business is a steep learning curve. At first I was horrified to see myself on video. But here I am, 3 days in, and I am actually starting to get used to it! Anyway, here is my post from today. And here is to exploring truth in this lovely way, and seeing what there is to discover!

Trusting Your Gut Could Save Your Life

korea ferry disaster 2014-04-16I generally avoid keeping up with news, but from time to time, a story crosses my radar. I reckon friends will tell me about anything really important.

Today, I heard some news and was drawn in despite my general news avoidance.  I read the media reports and watched video footage and wept.

And I’m not writing about it here to depress you. I’m writing about it as a parent whose heart cries for the hundreds of people who lost their children yesterday, as their children did what they were taught to do.

So here’s the scenario:

What do you get when you combine a major disaster (ferry sinking) with hundreds of high school students (passengers) brought up in a culture of obedience to authority figures?

Tragedy.

The reports are damning. The consistent report from survivors is that they heard a thud, felt the ferry lurch, then were instructed to stay inside. They put on life vests and obeyed. This photo, showing students in life vests awaiting permission to go outside, was taken by one of the survivors. They waited for a half hour or more. And then it was too late for most of them. 

Almost 300 people  out of the original 459 passengers are still missing, likely dead. And every one of them followed the instructions given by the ferry’s crew and over the PA telling them to stay inside. The ones who didn’t listen and jumped into the sea survived, picked up by rescue helicopters and boats. Just think about that one.

It makes me so angry. My parents emigrated to Canada when I was 5 months old and Canadian culture is now a part of me. But I have plenty of experience of the values prevalent in Korean culture. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s all bad. But when you’re told that it’s far more important to obey your elders than to trust your gut, there is something seriously wrong. Though I’m all for respecting others (whether older or younger) and for working co-operatively with local and larger communities, I can’t feel good about not nurturing the best and most powerful part of being human: that bit inside that makes you able to think for yourself, feel for yourself, trust yourself.

It breaks my heart that those people (children) waited, compliantly, co-operatively on that ferry, and they are now dead.

I’m going to stop writing now because I’m crying again.

If you want to see the BBC article that I got the photo from, it’s here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-27046246

 

Another one! Give me more!

 

KO 2014 May with balloonDo you know what’s awesome about raising a child? It’s the privilege of getting to experience a continual flow of “first experiences” through their eyes.

Yesterday, KO learned how to load the dishwasher. Not from start to finish. But he learned where cutlery goes, and where plates and glasses go. And I got to be there while he focussed on placing each piece of cutlery where it belonged. I was there when he asked innocuously while wielding a butcher’s knife, “Where do I put this big knife?” And I got to show him how to handle the potentially lethal weapon knife responsibly and lay it carefully on the knife rack. I watched as he experimented with arranging plates closer and farther apart with painstaking concentration. And the best bit was when he turned to me with bright eyes and said excitedly, “Another! Give me more! Give me another one!”

These first experiences full of joy and exploration happen daily, but they never get any less wonderful.

Yes, this is an idealistic snapshot of parenting, a moment taken out of context. All the wonderful moments are interspersed among challenging moments where my limits of patience, strength, creativity, kindness and wisdom are tested (and often found wanting). Read: I raise my voice (fine, I mean “shout”) more often than I would like. And there have been some sharp smacks to the bottom. Smacking and its purposes are a much discussed topic at home. That’s a subject for another blog post.

But most days as I’m working, the moments that come to mind vividly, filling my heart and making me grin, are those of KO looking as though he’ll burst with delight, every ounce of his being absorbed in something new he’s learned to do, or a new object he’s playing with, and his expression as he turns to me saying, “Give me more!”

Finding my passion daily is a lesson that I learn from my little boy. As I engage in each task in my day, I want to say, “Another! Give me more!”

Go on. Call me self-important and arrogant.

KO doing as he pleasesNot long ago, I saw a Russell Brand interview about his opinion of UK government.

I didn’t know much about Russell Brand, as I don’t have a TV, and I don’t follow celebs. But I enjoyed the interview. I watched it twice! Russell seemed to be honest, articulate, passionate, and caring. And I want to listen to anyone who displays those traits, whether they’re famous or not, whether they’re 100 years old or 2 years old or any age in between, and whatever other traits they may have.

Well, since Russell Brand has appeared on my radar, that thing has happened … you know, that thing where you become aware of something or someone, and suddenly you start noticing loads of other references to that thing or person in your day-to-day life.

And the thing that bemuses me, is how so many people get worked up about Russell Brand, actually ANGRY at him. And the main thing they’re angry about is they think he’s arrogant and self-important.

Mirriam-Webster online defines self-important as:  having too high an opinion of your own importance. Seems rather vague. How high is “too high”? If anything, it seems to me that most people have far too low an opinion of their own importance. OF COURSE people should have a high opinion of their own importance.  They ARE important. IMMEASURABLY important. Because they are ALIVE (what a mystery!), and that means just by being themselves they can change the world.

So why did I post a pic above of KO pulling a face? Because KO could care less what any celeb is up to. And KO has got an incredibly high opinion of his own importance. This is the boy who does not feel the least bit sorry to drag his exhausted hard-working mother out of bed at 5.30am in order to play games with him downstairs. Grrr.

Very young children have got a healthy sense of self-importance. Sure, they could really work on recognising that OTHERS are EQUALLY IMPORTANT (take note, son!!!), but that comes with time. That’s called maturing. That’s called empathy.

Ever seen a young child in action, interacting with another person? Chances are, you’ll see they don’t give a flying fuck whether someone is rich or poor, “successful” or not, famous or obscure, “attractive” or not, thin or fat, tall or short, brilliant or bumbling, male or female, black or white, gay or straight, and so on and so on. When a child asks why someone is in a wheelchair, or looks different, it’s not to judge that person. It’s to understand the complex and confusing world around them. It’s a desire to know WHY.

Children instinctively understand that these things do not define a person or determine a person’s worth.  Children are utterly unconcerned with a person’s social status, and more concerned about whether people interact kindly with them, whether they engage with them and are interested in them, whether people approach life creatively, fearlessly, lovingly, and authentically. We can learn a lot from children, in this and in many other ways.

So you think Russell Brand is self-important? Well good for him. Perhaps the issue is not the high opinion he has of himself, but the relatively low opinion you have of yourself? 😀 I said PERHAPS!

So go on, call me arrogant, or call me self-important. I don’t mind. I DO think highly of myself. And I also think highly of YOU!