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Last updated Aug 15, 2023

# Discerning Life Questions

#DLQ10 (See Atlas/Maps/DLQ 10 MOC)

# Final Oral Exam

Why do I constantly feel anguish when it comes to dance? Why does dance cause me so much anguish? Why do I have such a tormented relationship with dance?

# Concept Dump

# Idea Dump

# Research Dump

# Outline

# Draft 1
  1. Let’s start with the surface – my relationship with dance and its effects on me
    1. Cards/Disordered attachments: I have a disordered attachment to dance
    2. Cards/Pusillanimity: This relationship is leading me to live a small life
      1. Self-love: the warped kind…it’s narcissism
        1. Narcissism is a personality trait that exists on a spectrum. It is characterized by high self-involvement and a need for admiration and attention.
        2. I am probably the covert type ^
          1. Difficulty taking criticism
          2. Feeling and expressing they are not good enough
          3. Often pretends to play the victim
          4. Shames and blames others for their mistakes
          5. Poor self-esteem
          6. Insecure and low confidence
      2. Connect to symptoms:
        1. Cards/False Humility
          1. Blocking me from engaging creatively with the world
        2. Cards/Ressentiment
          1. limiting my ability to see things objectively and engage creatively with others…a cognitive distortion
  2. It’s more than dance….it has something to do with who I am 2. Cards/Problem versus Mystery: I think I’m approaching this the wrong way. 1. I’m treating my relationship with dance as a problem to fix, when in reality, it’s a mystery that I’ll never stop seeking to understand. 1. At first I thought of it as a decision-making process (e.g. Should I quit or should I stay?) Then I realized that I was asking the wrong questions 2. If we treat the question “Who am I?” as a problem, we answer with our tangibles. But if we treat “Who am I?” as a mystery, we acknowledge that there is more to us than this constructed persona. 2. This is more than just a relationship with dance. What I’m really talking about here is my relationship with myself. 1. Dance is a representation of external validation….success 3. My identity 2. Cards/Tangibles 1. What I do: I’m a dancer 2. What I have: teams, accomplishments, etc. 3. What people say I am: how “good enough” I am 3. Cards/The False Self: Bianca the dancer may be part of me, but it is not who I truly am 4. I need to discover who I truly am 1. Cards/The True Self: I need to connect with this 2. Cards/Brokenness: And I can only find this if I get in touch with my trauma. What is the hole dance is filling in my life? 1. Cards/Desire: Desires show how we are uniquely broken.
  3. How can I continue dancing without pain? A.K.A. How can I stop tormenting myself?
    1. Sources/Inner Compass: Strategy of Liberation
    2. I believe that part of my purpose/vocation (loving others) can be fulfilled by dance
    3. Dance is a gift. I value dance, which is why I love performing, teaching and jamming with others
# Draft 2
  1. My relationship with dance (explained with Black Swan). 1.
  2. My relationship with myself
    1. Cards/Problem versus Mystery: I’m asking the wrong questions
      1. Transition? Thesis statement?
  3. Do I choose death or life?
    1. Death is despair…represented by Nina’s “suicide”.
  4. Conclusion: shifting from despair to hope?
    1. Dance: from accomplishment to gift
    2. Talent? is Not a demand from God. It’s a present
# Draft 3
  1. Problem
    1. Life Question: Why do I have a toxic relationship with dance?
    2. Thesis statement: Because I have a toxic relationship with myself.
      1. My perfectionism deformed a life-giving gift into a destructive dependency.
      2. Beneath this extreme desire for control is a broken soul, who believes that love will always be out of reach
    3. Like what I shared in my reflection, witnessing and creating art – especially dance – makes my life worth living.
      1. Sources/The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Aristotle, and Fernando Amorsolo: I believe that human creativity is one of the best ways we can experience God’s divine essence. (Just like with Amorsolo and his paintings)
      2. Cards/Gloria dei vivens homo: Art makes us come fully alive, and that is the glory of God.
      3. Cards/The First Principle and Foundation: Creativity is a gift from God. It helps us know more God easily, and in turn love more readily.
    4. Cards/Disordered attachments: However, this gift has also become quite the burden to me (Cards/Consolation and Cards/Desolation). What used to be just a fulfilling commitment is now also an unhealthy obsession…a “hook”. It was no longer freeing.
      1. Sources/Suffering - The Call of a Wounded Healer: I associated dance with physical/emotional suffering (e.g. anxiety, burnout, restlessness). These symptoms showed me that I wasn’t living in alignment with myself.
        1. Cards/Problem versus Mystery: At first, I was treating this question/relationship like a problem that could be fixed (e.g. quitting a group/hobby).
        2. But immediately trying to fix/cure the problem is the wrong approach. I would be ignoring my pain, instead of trying to understand it.
        3. The best approach is to listen to the pain. Like what Jung said, this could serve as an opportunity/invitation to learn more about myself. I needed to dig deeper, to get involved in this mystery.
      2. Cards/Perfectionism: Dance became an attachment when I started approaching it as a pursuit for perfection.
        1. Cards/Tangibles: I was pursuing an ideal self/avatar:
          1. Role: Dancer
          2. Reputation: Great at dance (verified by others)
          3. Riches: Team memberships, awards, etc. (material verification)
        2. Sources/Everything Happens for a Reason - and Other Lies I Have Loved: I believed in a prosperity gospel/meritocracy; if I work hard, I should be able to achieve my goals!
        3. ^ This is an example of absolute certitude (Cards/Absolute Certainty versus Wonder). Cards/We operate our everyday lives on unfounded certitudes
        4. Rejection fatigue: But I failed. Again and again and again. Which of course, left me distraught.
        5. Cards/Discernment: As a result, my life became like a wheel of fortune, for my happiness was dependent on my standards of success (dictated by Cards/Tangibles). It was a life of mere survival.
      3. Sources/Inner Compass: My attachment wasn’t really dance; it was the idea of perfection. I was no longer free, for my whole live revolved around pursuing this.
        1. Symptoms of being hooked:
          1. It takes up all my energy and attention.
          2. It’s exhausting – not just physically, but also emotionally.
          3. It distorts me, making me inflexible and unbalanced.
        2. Rule of thumb: It’s a disordered attachment if it causes you and others harm.
          1. Perfectionism disables us from seeing life as it truly is: I would always succumb to cognitive distortions. (e.g. polarized thinking, overgeneralization, blaming)
          2. Perfectionism makes us harm ourselves and others more: I was always focused on my faults…and I secretly resented others for lacking these
            1. Cards/False Humility & Cards/Ressentiment
  2. Expound (what is it rooted in?)
    1. My attachment was leading me to live a small life, revealing my selfish nature.
      1. Cards/Pusillanimity: My world was small, for it revolved around dance.
        1. And since dance was my way of pursuing an ideal self, this world really revolved around me. This is self-love, a.k.a. Narcissism.
        2. At first, I thought this couldn’t apply to me, given my low self-esteem. But narcissism exists on a spectrum, always involving high self-involvement and a need for admiration and attention. It just so happens that mine is on the covert/vulnerable end of the spectrum:
          1. Difficulty taking criticism
          2. Feeling and expressing they are not good enough
          3. Often pretends to play the victim
          4. Shames and blames others for their mistakes
          5. Poor self-esteem
          6. Insecure and low confidence
        3. Sources/Expanding the Shrunken Soul
          1. Cards/False Humility: preoccupation with my limitations, denying my own worth. This blocks me from creatively engaging with the world…instead of sharing my talents, I bury them
          2. Cards/Ressentiment: my hatred for more talented people
            1. reassignment of the pain that accompanies a sense of one’s own inferiority/failure on to an external scapegoat.
    2. How did I end up this way? I am selfish not because I love myself – quite the opposite. I think I will be forever unlovable.
      1. Cards/Desire & Cards/Brokenness: my desire for love reveals how I’m uniquely broken. My life has led me to believe that love is conditional
      2. Cards/The True Self and Cards/The False Self: Important people in my life (e.g. my mother, my past dance teachers) attacked the home-grown sense of self I had, demanding that their standards be achieved. (Narcissistic injury) So I developed a self based on this approval.
        1. The Challenge to Love: These people operated in terms of power, motivated by fear. Their love for me was how they took me, and exercised their power over me. They treated me as an extension of themselves.
        2. They were narcisissts
        3. They didn’t really love me as the other
        4. Perhaps that’s why learning I have narcisstic tendencies hit hard…repeating the cycle of pain
        5. They showed me that I could never be safe, for my weaknesses could always be held against me.
        6. Sources/Images of Integrity - Across the Great Divide: Thus, it was undeniable that I would create a masked and armored self.
          1. Narcissism as a maladaptive method for self-regulation.
      3. content/Permanent Notes/The Divided Life: This duality of the True Self and False Self, this fragmented psyche, is what characterizes my narcissism. I may play my role/mask well, but it doesn’t satisfy my soul, my inner child.
        1. Black swan v.s. white swan
      4. Cards/Self-rejection: Beneath my armor is a narcissistic scar. The shame of my trauma is so significant to the point that I never feel truly good about who I am. This feeling remains, no matter how much I accomplish in life.
        1. I don’t believe that I have a True Self. I always feel like I’m performing. I don’t know who I really am.
      5. Cards/Perfectionism: l am unable to appreciate myself (and others who love) because of my constant pursuit of perfection. I crave external validation (e.g. audience adoration) instead of internal validation (e.g. joy in dance)
    3. And I could not imagine living life any other way. Perhaps…I am forever doomed to suffer.
      1. My life dominated by this need for control, reeks of despair.
        1. Sources/Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Holding on to perfection/God’s divinity. I believe that if I’m not everything, I’m nothing.If I’m not God, I don’t deserve to exist.
        2. My inability to choose between mediocrity v.s. death (exemplified by Nina’s “suicide” in pursuit of artistic perfection)
  3. So how can I move on…how can I begin to heal? (Love and hope)
    1. Sources/Inner Compass: I can deattach from perfectionism through the way of the deepest desire/Strategy of Liberation. I need to remember how the process of dance gives me joy – an abiding sense of peace that my life is meaningful.
      1. What is the music in my heart that leads me into the dance…and overrides the fear that keps me clinging to the rails?
        1. Sources/Everything Happens for a Reason - and Other Lies I Have Loved: Beauty and love. These will always exist, even in the darkness. I know that I am capable of finding it.
      2. My holy mountain: living with God? embodying him? Cards/The First Principle and Foundation;
    2. Sources/Suffering - The Call of a Wounded Healer: This journey will be long and hard. But I endure, because I believe that these growing pains are necessary. For it is in suffering where callings emerge.
      1. A process of deattachment? Going from false self to true self
      2. Particularly the call to authentic personhood, which involves “…a commitment to continual growth and change, which requires to undergoing pain and discomfort…[a] necessary and inevitable part of the process…”
      3. We can only get in touch with Cards/The True Self through pain
    3. Sources/The Need for Certainty: In the process of self-discovery, we seek certainty. Two questions on our calling?
      1. Who am I (stripped of all my influences)?
        1. I am human.
          1. Sources/Suffering - The Call of a Wounded Healer: Symptoms teach humility. I am vulnerable and weak. I am reminded that I am not God. I need help. I can’t do it all alone.
          2. Sources/Expanding the Shrunken Soul: Being humbled is also being reminded of the good God has placed and achieved in me. I am guided towards Cards/Maganimity: a sense of inner fullness and appreciation of our own dignity (and how God can work through us)
        2. Thus, I am capable of love, contrary to what I inherently believe
          1. For attachment is an indicator of care.
            1. The Little Prince: “It’s the time you’ve wasted on your rose that makes your rose so important”
          2. C.S. Lewis: Love that makes us vulnerable.
          3. But it also makes us truly human and alive. (Homo amans)
        3. Dance allows me to be my true self….to experience wholeness
      2. Where do I fit into all of this (a.k.a. my value and mission)?
        1. And in turn, I believe being creative…is my unique way of loving.
        2. Sources/Suffering - The Call of a Wounded Healer: Artists can be wounded healers too. They find meaning in their suffering because it allows them to connect with others who are also in pain. By healing others, they heal themselves as well. Perhaps I can do the same.
          1. A form of antifragility
        3. Ministry to a Hopeless Man: Love not only lasts forever, it needs only a second to come about.
          1. Examples: cyphers, classes, inspiring choreos…. examples of beauty
          2. The power of dance, as an ethereal art
    4. Takeaway: I need to give up my ambitions, my goals. But I am afraid of letting go of my hook, my golden calf – control. I am afraid of journeying into the unknown.
      1. This journey is a mystery…but I’ll commit to it with wonder, and see what it has in store for me. Cards/Absolute Certainty versus Wonder
        1. Cards/Growth happens in vulnerability
        2. Cards/We grow when we let go
    5. End: Rumi’s The Dancing Cry of the Soul