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Tunes for Tuesday

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Last week, I had a chance to reconnect with old friends. During our chat, we somehow ended up talking about Enneagram types and told me about this project by Sleeping at Last. Let’s just say that it was a song that rendered me speechless because I felt like someone who wasn’t me talked about everything that was me. (Video below)

Generally, 3s are known as the Achievers and are success-driven. Their basic fear is being worthless, and their basic desire is to feel valuable and worthwhile. I’m a textbook 3. We generally are very concerned about how people see us and so maintaining a desirable image is very important to us. The problem is that sometimes in our desire to make sure that everyone sees us in a certain way, the masks that we put on becomes so fixed, we can mistake it as our true face. Maybe that’s why this song resonated so deeply within me. I’ve always struggled with feeling “good enough” or having “done enough”. Growing up in an immigrant Asian family context probably doesn’t help with that. There’s a constant pressure to be excellent. Yet, the pursuit of excellence can often lead one to dark places caused by the isolation, despair and the emptiness that can often accompany the drive for success. It’s something I’ve had to struggle with. Of course, being in academia doesn’t help. No one cares about an average scholar. You have to be the best scholar. But to be the “best”, one must often sacrifice many things and too often, the first to be sacrificed is our self.

“Now I only want what’s real // To let my heart feel what it feels // Gold, silver, or bronze hold no value here // Where work and rest are equally revered” – these words haunt me. Maybe because I struggle to know what’s real .. or maybe I’m struggling to know what’s really important. I would like to get to that beautiful place where I could revere rest just as much as I revere work. It has been a challenge.

The daily performance is exhausting. The smile can often hide the pain and the emotional turmoil within. Yet, expressing honesty can sometimes feel like it is to no avail. Even when I’m honest about my feelings and what I’m going through, it’s hard not to feel like other people think that I’m a joke. And so one can often feel stuck. Trapped by my own masks, I must now lay in the bed I made for myself.

One day I will “finally see myself through the eyes of no one else” but mine. I am hoping for a better day when I will finally see myself through the eyes of God.

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Tunes for Tuesday – Dan Auerbach (Goin’ Home)

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I found out about this song through a friend awhile ago and I must say that it has been a song that has quickly risen to “fave” status. Everything about it just speaks to me on such a real and deep level. The concept of “home” has been something I have thought about throughout the years as I have moved to another country, moved to another city, but periodically coming back home. What is home? That is the perennial question that I think most of us ask ourselves.

As Christians, we know that this world is not our home…. Our home is somewhere else. Maybe it’s because of all of these ideas swirling in my head as I contemplate the lyrics of this song that has made this song really resonate with me on a personal level. Take a listen and let me know what you think.

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Tunes for Tuesday – Grace Defined and This Love

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I am so blessed to be surrounded by amazingly talented friends. Today, I want to give a huge shout out to my friend, Grace Defined, who released her album today! She is an amazing friend and a wonderful artist. Download her new album, This Love, and share it with all your friends. The best part is it’s free! Head on over to her website where you can check out some of her writings as well. You can also get in touch with her through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

For now, check out her video below.

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Tunes for Tuesday – Bek O’Brien

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Welcome to Tunes for Tuesday!

Today’s featured artist is a friend of mine named Bek O’Brien. I have been super blessed to have friends who are also crazy awesome artists. Bek is a super talented singer-songwriter who is in the process of dropping an album soon. I have heard her sing live and this girl has the voice of an angel! Check out her Kickstarter link below to find out more about her project. Also, head over to her Facebook page where you can find out more about her. Make sure to “like” and “share” her amazing music!

Official blurb: Bek O’Brien is a singer-songwriter and native of Québec, now based out of upstate New York. She combines elements of jazz and folk to her music. She has been writing music for the last decade and is currently recording her debut album with Joel Williams, which will be released this fall.

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Wednesday Writings – Nov. 27, 2013

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Hey everyone,

Sorry for the non-frequency of blog posts. Ph.D. is tough!!! However, that doesn’t mean that I have forgotten all about my blog. Hopefully, you’re still following me.

Today’s inspiration is an artist named Heath McNease. I was recently listening to this track and it was just so raw and so real. I have the greatest admiration for artists who are just so authentic and vulnerable. When you listen to him, it’s almost voyeuristic. I feel like I’m peeking into his mind and heart as he shares it through his songs. I met him in a concert awhile ago and he’s such a great guy. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Support his work. Buy some albums. Tell him he’s awesome.

This was the accompanying description of the track:

We were travelling from Montreal to Moncton, New Brunswick. It was a gray, rainy day that turned into a frozen, windy night. During a 15 hour drive your thoughts will wonder. We talked to each other about everything. We freestyled, listened to “Daddy’s Lambo” by Yelawolf 100 times for no reason, played “would you rather”, and alternated sleep schedules. It is in those moments of drifting to sleep in the backseat and those moments when you’re the only person awake behind the wheel when your mind will play incredible tricks on you. That’s what this song really is. Its just being out there on this huge highway we know nothing about. Its about leaving a place where the signs were in French and driving to a place where you hope things are more familiar (and they’re not). Its about the epic scale of Canada. This place is just so wide open, and that 3 am darkness just felt like it was going to swallow us whole. That’s when doubt creeps in. That’s when you start telling yourself you’re a failure. That’s when you start thinking that God is either setting you up for failure, or he has just decided that you’re not going to amount to anymore than you are in that moment…cold, hungry, confused, and exhausted. As an artist…the best part about being left to your own devices is that you’re mind might be plaguing you, but you’ve got all the time in the world to put it into perspective. This song is just that. Its us figuring out what that drive really was all about.

The thing is I’ve totally felt those feelings. The feeling of being set up for failure or that I’m not going to amount to anything. And it is a horrible feeling. And sometimes, it can be overwhelming.

This poem is inspired by the artist and his works.

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Portrait of a man 

Sometimes, in the dark, when the lights are off and left alone with my thoughts
Fear assaults, fear attacks, fear pounces
I am left battered, shamed into submission
My nerves are frayed, and I want to cry
But I don’t.
Not because I don’t want to
It’s because I know how useless it is.

I wonder why I have to feel this way
I look around and see the smiling faces, the fake masks
It’s easier to hide than to reveal
Less problematic, and they don’t know what I’m going through.
I keep it in.
Not because I want to
It’s because no one understands.

Through the pain, I hear your words
So real, so true, so raw
Your voice sings my pain and my confusion
And I want to stop listening because it hurts
It pains me that I am not alone
No one should feel like I feel
You understand me too well.

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Tunes for Tuesday – October 22, 2013

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Hey everyone,

I cannot believe how blessed I have been in having legit crazy awesome talented friends! I’m so proud to know these amazing guys. If you haven’t heard about Finding Chuck, today is your day! Check out their video below.

Check out their website, like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter!!!

Tunes for Tuesday – June 25, 2013

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Hi everyone,

Welcome to today’s Tunes for Tuesday. My friend Rose (@GraceDefined) introduced me to this video awhile ago and let’s just stay that it is one of those videos that stay stuck in your head for a very long time. I usually don’t like a lot of “Christian” videos and music in general because they tend to, ummm, how do I say this nicely… alienate my soul! Imagine my surprise when I saw a video that was phenomenal! It’s called “Bombs Away” by Jonathan Thulin ft. Rachael Lampa). Click on the video below to watch!

Are there any other Christian music videos that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments section! =)