Follow you - I think it’s my ultimate accomplishment in Hawai'i. I actually didn’t set any specific learning goals, although my “you-know-who” told me to focus on my self-esteem (I know, he’s horrible but he’s smart). I didn’t even intend to follow you, it just happened. That’s what you mean by “timing” right? or Karma! I must have been an incredible person in my previous life or have saved the world at some point to get this chance and follow you.
I followed you from Day 1, from a BaseCamp Ping to Incheon Airport; from the airplane feeling terribly dizzy with motion sickness to the baggage claim where I was shockingly muted by my broken suitcase and you made them give me a new one;
I followed you from the Immigrant to the airline office to the taxi, though you did look away for one second and I was kept for almost 1 hour for random security check (a proof that you must always keep an eye on me or I’ll have trouble);
I followed you from the taxi to the dorm, where you latter dragged me around the campus, to a shopping center, told me how to avoid jet lag, what to buy as survival food, cooked dinner for me. (Common! You just met me 12 hours ago, you can’t have been that kind to me, I’ll take advantage of you!)
That first day in Hawai’i, I followed you and got lost in a strange city, late in the evening. I wasn’t scared, but it seemed you were. We met a native Hawaiian lady who called us “two cute teenagers”, and told us the tale of the broken flowers, the broken heart of the volcano. Me following you, even a misstep could turn into such a beautiful memory.
And from then on, I followed you to all the meetings, to the supermarkets, farmers’ markets, to all the hikes we could go, all the beautiful places we wished to. I remember the trails, the mountains, the oceans, the stars, the long walks, the rains, the rainbows, the guavas and vividly, the conversations.
But most of my “following you” time was to the kitchen, you were the ‘food mother’, not only mine, and not only food. This is where I encountered a big challenge of my life - finding an adjective to describe you. How can you put all things like being kind, good-hearted, smart, genuinely caring, deep thinking, love of learning, appreciating people, courageously taking action, selflessly giving into one single word? Most people would say “awesome”, which, by my definition, is such a horrendously pretentious word. Therefore, as an excuse for my limited vocabulary range, I keep using your name as an adjective instead. Funny if you think about the meaning of your name, we rarely acknowledge the existence of the Air around us, but we can’t survive without it, it’s the same with kindness and care.
It’s not strange to me now when things happening around always get me think about you and our time there, since when have you been a reference point to my judgement? Like that colleague of mine who always shows that she cares for everyone by asking about their life and health, by doing small talks, by taking pictures at any events to send to the group, making sure that everyone is included but we all know she fakes it. If it was you, it would be totally different. She doesn’t even follow up after the health questions while you once forced me to take medicine. She doesn’t even care about if the person in the photo looks horrible while you always make sure to send the best ones to each of us.
Although I said kindness is the special thing that can balance the world without its evil counterpart, Pannin as an adjective also hurts me when I think about how it means as exhausting yourself, being excavated by others. You told me we can cut those who don’t deserve off our loop, but can you really do that while you care too much? I just hope you take the best care of yourself first to share your heart with those who deserve it, my dearest!
I know for a fact that a professional coach is trained to listen and to ask questions but what's in it for me is really much more than that.
1 - A listener and a safe space
It started when I just couldn't truly see myself and I couldn't deal with the judgmental society around me. The phrase "you are supposed to..." kept slamming onto my heart. And I've found out that there's a whole different environment when you talk to a coach.
Working with a coach gives you the chance to fully express yourself in a safe space. Being listened to, empathized with and understood beyond what you are saying will help you build the first fire to blaze your trail.
2 - Building your own arsenal
One thing, you might be disappointed if you expect your coach to tell you what to do. Advice is not among the benefits but I've got much more. I now hold in my hand a tool inventory, the access to a wide range of information and a personal approach to working things out.
I've learned to defuse my negative thoughts, to change my narratives.
I've come up with my own strategies to deal with the world that I never thought I could.
I've learned to practice mindfulness, meditation, empathy, and various of other useful habits that I and maybe many others, easily miss in our busy daily life.
3 - Having your growth pushed forward
Much as comfortable and supporting the atmosphere could be to me, it wasn't all smooth and easy, and I'm so glad that it wasn't because it shouldn’t.
There were sections I was so ready to give up on myself: me - stubborn, resistant to changes, and sometimes narrow-minded, me - who had a "but" to every suggestion.
Right there I'm grateful that my coach was so patient and passionate in her work. She was understanding enough to keep questioning me until I saw the way out, until I myself could say it out loud: This is how I will do it.
I went from being completely confused and sometimes irritated by people around, from thinking of myself as 'uncoachable' to this:
I can stop before my emotion surges.
I can re-direct the personal attacks on me just because I'm different.
I can choose my way to get involved rather than exhausting myself within the group.
During these sessions, what amazed me the most was how she understood culture differences, wholeheartedly, the same way she understood personal preference. She knew exactly what questions to ask, when and where to push.
But above all, I think, working with a coach is an exceptional chance to reflect upon yourself, to learn from inside out, to have your own "aha moments", and to get to the bottom of "I know and I do what's best for me".
So thank you. I'm really grateful.
"experience the world, isn't it beautiful?"