Food for Thought

On Being Present

It is so easy to be distracted.

What is grabbing my attention? Unanswered texts, past conversations, my Instagram news feed, the newest Netflix series, hypothetical situations — just to name a few.

How often do I actually sit in the moment? The answer is not nearly as often as I should. There is no moment more beautiful than the one I am in. It is all I have.

Last week, I took my son to Mount Tabor, an extinct volcano covered with sprawling trees and yellow wildflowers, located just 15 minutes from the heart of downtown. He recently started walking with enough agility where he can explore his surroundings. As I sat down on an old park bench, I watched him play in the dirt. What I saw next took my breath away.

He knelt down in the field and plucked shards of grass examining their bright green shades and rough textures. He pinched little yellow daisies between his tiny forefinger and thumb and lifted each one to his nose in order to inhale their bitter and musty scent. His little feet hopped on top of, through, and around the mounds of dirt that were still damp from the prior day’s spring showers. The birds, just having started their day, chirped sweet melodies as they swooped down to collect twigs for their nests. The pattering of joggers’ feet intermittently swept by us. My son missed nothing as he drank it all in without a care in the world. He was completely in the moment.

As I watched him I could not help but wonder when I myself had stopped living in the moment every moment. When exactly I had lost the ability to simply play? To simply be? Parenthood is a magical gift for many reasons, one of the most magical being its ability to open your eyes to what is truly important. Everything else just becomes white noise.

Connecting with the “now” and being present is harder said than done. Anyone who has tried their hand at meditation would agree. Everyone finds their own unique strategy at becoming “one” with the present moment. For me, it involves taking notice of my immediate surroundings; the aroma of leftover lentil soup stewing on the stove, the subtle rosy shade of pink on my son’s cheeks as he runs around our living room, and the soft gold morning light peeking through our skylights. These little details are more precious than anything I could ever pull up on my phone or t.v. screen. And to think — I could have easily missed them had I not remembered to be here right now.

Motherhood

On Pregnancy

I knew I was pregnant the moment it happened. The pregnancy test was just a formality for me. Even still — when I saw those two pink lines, I could not believe it. I was going to be a mother. It is true that we had wanted a baby, that we had planned for this baby, but the fact that there was actually a baby growing inside my body was a concept that I could not wrap my brain around. Nothing and no one could have prepared me for the experience that is pregnancy.

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Travel

Today I am Grateful for: Thanksgiving in Chicago

In 2013, I flew to Chicago, Illinois to spend Thanksgiving with my mother over a long weekend. It would be my first time visiting and I was absolutely overcome with excitement. Chicago had been on my bucket list for quite some time primarily due to The Oprah Show. I had also just started dating Dan Kim who happened to be a big Chicago Bears fan.

For us California girls, it was a strikingly cold weekend despite the lack of snow (to my dismay). Despite the uncomfortable temperature, we tried to hit the major tourist destinations: The Chicago Bean, the Willis Tower and the Skydeck, and Millennium Park.

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Food for Thought

My Life is Insignificant

Here I am, in my entirety.

65 inches and 120 pounds of stardust taking the form of a fragile package made up of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus. I occupy a tiny space, on a tiny blue rock, in an enormously wide and vast universe. A couple of hundred years from now, everyone I have ever known will be gone, and with them, the knowledge of me ever existing.

I am simply a drop of water in the cosmos. The universe blinks and my entire life will have been lived. All of my memories. My thoughts. My worries. My fears. My jokes. My adventures. My relationships. My children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Poof.

I am no more significant than a cow or a leaf or a pebble skipping across the surface of a lake. Like my buddy Eckhardt Tolle once said, I am just the Universe expressing itself as a human for a little while. And that is just fine with me.

Here is a little secret of mine:

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Family, Motherhood

The Reason I Write

I love to write, just like my mother. It allows me to express the emotions that would otherwise be buried within me, layer after layer.

But why create a blog?

Sometimes I think I am certifiably insane for sharing the embarrassing, self-deprecating, and vulnerable thoughts and experiences that I do on this platform. I might as well publish my 4th grade diary at this rate. I surprise myself — post after post — about how much I am willing to share. Because if you truly know me, you know that I am not share-er. That old lass Rose Dawson was right when she said a woman’s heart is an ocean of secrets. 9-year-old me took that shit pretty seriously! 💁🏽‍♀️

But all that has changed — I have a son now.

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Food for Thought

3 Things I Would Like to Improve About Myself

I am a work in progress and I hope to always be. Being content with my character would only mean I have become complacent. I genuinely enjoy self-improvement, even the hard parts!

In honor of a new year here are 3 things I would like to improve about myself:

1. Being Kind to Myself

I am really hard on myself — especially recently after becoming a mom and all the newfound *mom guilt*. Even the smallest and most insignificant mistake can set me off on a self-loathing tangent for hours. It is almost as if I expect myself to perfect at everything, everywhere, all the time. But this does not serve me in any way. I would never speak to Dan Kim, my son, or anyone I loved like that — so why is it okay to say these things to myself?

Telling myself I am stupid or untalented or ugly or worthless does not make me a better partner, mother, or friend.

I have decided to start small with a self-affirmation in the mirror each morning.

2. Exercise 4-5 Times A Week

When it comes to being active, I am either all or nothing. I have either not exercised for months at a time or am practicing martial arts and yoga or running religiously. Since giving birth and breastfeeding, I have not regained my normal energy levels. Never mind that raising a baby is exhausting! But no more excuses — exercise has always been a stress reliever for me and getting my mojo back has been long overdue. I may be the lightest I have ever been in terms of weight but I am the weakest I have ever been physically (except for my mom biceps — those are no joke!).

3. Be More Selfish

Don’t get me wrong — there are several aspects of my life that I need to be less selfish in but my time is not one of them. Because of the previously mentioned mom guilt and my endless responsibilities piling up on me, I have not taken enough time for myself to feel like me again. That includes alone time, girl time, and date night time, and just rest and relaxation overall.

Life is about balance. I am slowly accepting that being the best mom does not necessarily mean being a mom who is there every second of every day. That being the best partner does not mean having all the chores done, the meals cooked, or all of my relationship’s needs met before my own. I am working on giving to myself because the old adage is true: you can not pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.

Food for Thought

An Honest Letter to My 16-year-old Self

Dear 16-year-old me,

Oh, Jamakea. I wish I could reach back in time, grab you firmly by the shoulders, and let you know that everything is going to be okay.

You have been feeling abandoned this last year. Grandma fled to Mexico without a trace or any type of warning. Dad entered a serious relationship for the first time in 15 years — nevermind that his new girlfriend is only 10 years older than you. Times are changing and your relationships, the very anchors that give you stability, are not what they used to be. Especially the one that you have with yourself.

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