I finally started on a morning/daily routine that I’ve been able to commit to for 2-3 weeks now.  I have been trying to commit on/off (mostly off) to one since 2010, but it’s a little bit easier now that I don’t have as many scheduling obligations that would require me to be somewhere at a certain time.

It consists of:

Meditating (7-15 minutes)
After learning a little bit more about meditating from people who have done it almost everyday for years, I decided to get a little more serious about incorporating it into my daily life. At least right now, I am trying to just let myself go wild. A lot of times I try to stop thinking and just observe my emotions. There have been quite a few meditations where I felt an emotion (anxiety, sadness, love, happiness, anger, etc) to the point where I was shaking, gritting my teeth, smiling, etc. It is scary but therapeutic, and I am trying to learn to just let myself feel those things.

Another thing I’ve been trying in the past few days is to try to count my breaths without forgetting my place. I feel like this will build my focus and concentration in other areas of my life as I get better it. It’s only my 3rd or 4th time, but I feel really drained afterwards and usually need like a 3 minute nap.

Stretching (15-20 minutes)
I just use the stretching routines from my ACA days. There is at least a decade of bad posture in my upper back/neck/shoulder blade area, and I am trying to stretch the shit out of it.

Freestyling (3-5 songs, for however long I’m in the zone of a particular song)
After ACA, a lot of people asked me if I still kept up with dancing. I would sadly reply “no… I’ve been [   ]”. Being busy was the go-to answer, and I remember consciously deciding not to dance as much because I had other priorities in my life.

In 8th grade, my sister’s raver-esque friend showed me the arm wave. I downloaded as many videos as I could in the pre-Youtube days (Liquid Pop Collective, anyone?) and retrospectively was really lame dancing in my room and at school dances. From there, I kept sucking and auditioned for my high school dance team during the end of my junior year. I made it onto the team during my senior year, and I experienced confidence and humiliation like nothing I’ve ever felt. Doing jazz leaps across the floor is not something I’d ever wish upon anyone, but it was in those steps I learned about humiliation and humility. From there, I latched onto my confidence in movement, and spread it to confidence in my appearance, my social skills, my personality, my status, blah blah blah. The pinnacle of my K-12 days was performing solo in front of my entire school, shaking to applause, realizing I was no longer a shy asian kid.

One of my 200-word UC application essays was an exaggerated piece about my love for dancing, and likely increased my odds of getting into UCLA. There, I found ACA, two parking lots, many stages, lifelong friends, role models, leadership, passion, competition, unconditional love, family, forgotten nights, unforgettable memories.

Looking back at the last decade of my life, my biggest catalysts (aside from my family, friends, girlfriend, and heartbreaks) have been dancing and writing. No classroom or curriculum has shown me more about myself than those two art forms. Why I decided to cut out dance from my life for the past two years remains a mystery. I don’t regret the choice, but I am sad I left it behind. During the past 2 – 3 years, I kept comparing my dwindling sharpness in dance to others. The comparisons interrupted my creativity every time I watched myself freestyle in the mirror. I was (and still am) insecure about not being as good as others who practice much more frequently than I do. Eventually, my schedule and insecurities knocked dance far from the top of my priorities, and I almost stopped altogether.

When I dance now, I try to forget about everything else and watch my reactions to melodies. I’m trying to explore and create for myself, to lose myself and let go and embrace my own style and who I am. We’ll see where it takes me and what I learn, but it feels good to reconnect with that part of myself again.


Some recent routines by Shaun that I love.


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