Fall Away: October 21, 2017
Fall is here!
Autumn is my favorite season of the year. Every time September 23rd hits, I think about things that I need to let “fall away” from my life that is weighing me down. After reflecting, I make a list of goals to help me move forward.
Fall Away Goal #1: Surrender to the process.
September is the 9 month of the year, which always put me in the mindset of delivery. What am I suppose to “birth out?” Well figuratively speaking, I had a lot of deliverables for work in addition to getting settled into my new place here in Japan. As a newbie at work, there is so much pressure to prove my value to the organization. I had a training to present in Japan, Okinawa, and Korea within less than 60 days on the job. The funny thing about pressure is that you don’t have time for fear. The last week of September felt like I was in labor. It wasn’t the stress of the job alone but also the stress of getting acclimated at the same time (new bills, learning a new language, getting around as a commuter, etc). I’ve quickly came to the conclusion that the benefit of moving abroad with a spouse is having someone to help you carry the load. Nevertheless, this is what I signed up for as a single person and it’s all a part of the process. So, I decided to stop being frustrated with individuals who didn’t fully understand the magnitude of adapting into a multicultural lifestyle as an expatriate, military contractor, and single person. This is my journey, and I’ve decided to own that.
At the same time, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that I’ve received valuable support from my coworkers, friends back home, and family members during this time. It’s funny how we magnify our woes and never the grace that we’ve been given. Recently, I had to check myself to remember that whenever I question “the don’ts and the have not’s” that I must also recall the parameters that makes these doubts visible. #InvisibleBlessings #CounterPerspective
Fall Away Goal #2: Remain open to differences.
The culture here in Japan is very systematic. There is a method for everything! From how we separate our trash for pick up everyday (otherwise it will not get picked up, lol) to the littlest things we don’t even think about such as vehicle decals for beginners, the hearing impaired, and the elderly. As an A type personality, this is my type of culture! All of the methodologies here in Tokyo increases everyone’s quality of life. If I had to sum up the cultural practice of Japan, I would choose the word, “thoughtful.” Everyone is self-sufficient and exudes excellent customer service everywhere you go. Grant it, there are some areas of improvement within Asian culture…like accepting diversity in the workplace.
The concept of diversity is relatively new to Asia. For example, when I was getting my business cards made, I was told by a coworker who has lived in Japan for over 20 years that they had to change the name of my job title in Japanese because it translates as “conversion or disorder coordinator”. Now, my job title reads in Japanese, “Employment Equal/Human Resource Development Coordinator.” The word diversity is difficult to conceptualize here in Asia the way in which Americans define and practice diversity. Although Asia accepts foreigners, however, it is a very traditional culture that is learning to adapt to a global mindset centered around diversity. I found this very interesting.
Fall Away Goal #3: Leave what I don’t understand behind a.k.a let it go.
In late August, there were some unforeseen obstacles that came my way and I even questioned my decision to move abroad. Well, during my first month in Japan I had the pleasure of speaking with a Japanese woman who serviced my room at the hotel I was staying. She shared with me how God puts us in situations for us to see things from His perspective. This conversation was totally “out of the blue.” She had no idea that I’ve praying for a church home and questioning God about a few hardships I did not understand. Her name was Naomi. She told me that her and husband are Christian counselors at an assembly of God church, and currently they are teaching about forgiveness. Naomi said to me, “you know forgiveness is for us and it is never for the other person.” I just nodded my head yes as she continued to share. Although I’ve heard that saying before, this time I heard it differently. This time I realized that forgiveness is a form of self-liberation that we give ourselves to move on even if we don’t understand or never receive an apology. Forgiveness is a gift we “give” to ourselves. After talking with Naomi for about 20 minutes straight. We promised to exchange numbers but never did. I hope to cross her path again, but if I don’t…that was a wonderful encounter.
Fall Away Goal #4: Learning how to be a turtle.
The moment I got to Japan, I was so anxious about getting settled into my new role and new life all together. I told my boss that I am more like a hare because I like to get things done quickly. She replied to me, “sometimes slowing down is another form of growth.” That statement stuck with me. Ironically, our symbol for the organization is a turtle.
One of my “opportunities of growth” was receiving help. I’ve always proud myself on being independent with the sense of knowing that I am not inconveniencing anyone. Now, I have no choice but to rely on others, and get things done at a slower pace that I would like. Learning how to be a turtle doesn’t mean I stop being a hare, but rather “when” to be a hare or a turtle. What I’ve come to appreciate about “being a turtle” is self-preservation. I can take my time in hitting certain goals, knowing that the “hare instinct” in me will eventually get it done. It has been conflicting and humiliating at times when I’ve fail to complete a task that I would normally handle efficiently. For example, paying my bills on time instead of past the due date or executing a deliverable at work that is halted by my lack of accessibility to transportation. All of these things are forcing me to pause when I need to pause and move fast when I need to move fast. It’s not a race, but a flow.
As a turtle, I am learning to let things fall where they may, while only concerning myself with what remains.
-Ms. Broadway Therapy
Shiraito No Taki Waterfalls
(I’m also learning to spread my wings)
Own it, then let everything else fall away.
“We are so attached to the identities, the relationships, and the dreams that has brought us this far and they are dear, but like a cocoon when a butterfly emerges it means the cocoon has served its purpose. It doesn’t mean that it is false, it just means it has served its purpose.” – Mark Depo
“We get so understandably attached (to the cocoon) that we get into conflict when it breaks or falls away, that we don’t see what it has opened us to.” – Mark Depo
“The purpose of pain is growth.” – John Gray
13Brothers and sisters, I consider myself not to be apprehended: but this one thing I do know, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before me,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.