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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KaTsZoNe - Issue 82 - Be Yourself

1 Nov 2011

Hi everyone,

It's been a busy October for me.  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and had a little fun during Halloween!

I have been watching "Dancing with the Stars" on t.v.  It is now in its 12th season and I enjoy watching actors, athletes, talk show hosts, etc. learn to dance and compete for the prize trophy.  Each year, we see the professional dancers team up with their students.  We see the students struggle and see them face injuries, fears, conflicts with their instructors, and other barriers which I find is one of the most interesting parts of the show.  The dance students are often very accomplished in their fields.  They join the competition and open up their personal lives with a large audience.  They each have their own reasons for wanting to take part in a dance competition.  During the competition, we see that they can become so emotional and stressed as they face the possibility of elimination each week and their fate lies in the hands of the voters.  They all give everything they have to stay in the game even though only one couple will claim the title and prize!  Going out in front of a studio audience and a huge television audience takes a lot of courage.  Their slip ups could become etched in people's memories for YEARS!  No matter the outcome, the student cpmpetitors have said, even though they did not take home the grand prize, it was a life-changing and unforgettable experience.  Good or bad, a life-changing, unforgettable experience can lead to something meaningful and significant.  

Remember when you were a kid, you may have tried to learn to ride a bike?  I started with training wheels.  Then, one day, those training wheels had to come off.  In the beginning, balancing on two wheels seemed impossible!  I thought I had to be the slowest learner in my neighbourhood, but, nobody else really cared or made fun of me.  I practiced day after day.  Finally, I didn't fall off my bike anymore.  I rode like a natural!  People say, once you have learned to ride a bike, you will never forget.  It is something I am glad I learned to do.  Back then, I knew it was something I really wanted to learn and I felt good about myself when I succeeded. 

Over a decade ago, I had taught Bible studies almost every week for several years.  Since then, I've done maybe 1 or 2 presentations.  It's been a long time since I had to prepare to teach lessons or do a presentation.  A few weeks ago, I gave a short presentation to a diversity committee which I am now a member of.  Happily, I did my  presentation  called, "I am Canadian" which was an attempt to describe  what people thought being "Canadian" was about.  Since we have the liberty to choose almost anything related to diversity, I came up with the topic while looking at the Maple Leaf flag posted in my living room which has been there for years.  It was given to me by a girl when a friend and I were strolling across Bloor Street West.  On the reverse side of the Canadian flag was Molson's slogan, "I am Canadian", featuring the Molson "Canadian" beer.  I had a great time preparing for my presentation and a few people who heard it told me how much they enjoyed it!  I think the reason it went so well was because I love to share information and I love to tell stories.  I remember the first time I had to speak in front of an audience in a school play -- I was so nervous, I felt my face burning up.  I felt really ill.  I think the second time I had to do a play, I literally became ill and could not make the performance.  Has that ever happened to you - the "avoidance" thing?  That can hurt you more than taking some chances.  Fortunately, I realized that the more you do something you may be afraid of doing, you gain more confidence and become less afraid.  I also learned that being well-prepared helped to relieve some of my fears. 

I remember when my former pastor asked me to stand on the pulpit with him, translating his Mandarin sermons into English.  I had no experience at all, not to mention that my knowledge of Mandarin is not that technical thorough.  I kept thinking, why is he asking ME to do this?  I could handle a simple conversation in Mandarin, but, I can't read Chinese.  I have to translate Biblical lessons into English when my Chinese is not that great?  For the first few times, my pastor had me practice during prayer meetings.  Eventually, I stood beside him at the pulpit on Sundays.  I made mistakes and let me just say, it is good to have a sense of humour too!  My pastor would correct me when I translated his statements incorrectly.  We all had a good laugh, but, I learned that without a sense of humour, I might have just quit and never looked back.  I learned that stomping out fear with a sense of humour works for me.  Honestly, I don't regret having taken that opportunity to try something new.

Trying new things is not limited to learning new skills or tasks.  Just the other day, a friend said he tried curry flavoured ice cream for the first time.  If he had said, green tea ice cream, or red bean ice cream, or maybe even papaya ice cream, I probably would have loved the chance to taste some too!  I him what he thought of it.  He said it wasn't bad, but, it wasn't good either.  Anyone who dares to risk their longstanding view about a food like ice cream and dares to test their tastebuds and bowels - that's courage!  I would never think of marrying curry with ice cream but, maybe some people will like it.  I just thought I would mention this for those of you who are picky eaters.  I know that it may not sit well with you.  But, to everyone else, I say, don't be afraid to give your tastebuds a challenge sometimes -- just don't forget to FLUSH! 

Whether it's learning to ride a bike, learning how to dance, going back to school to do post-graduate studies, doing volunteer work overseas, travelling around the world in a sailboat, or exploring an unfamiliar town, city or country, you don't have to feel confident from the very beginning - you just need to take the first step.  I sometimes think of myself as a big kid.  I learn to enjoy BEING MYSELF and experiencing life as though I have no cares in the world.  I am open to learning new things, seeing new places, trying new experiences, meeting new people, and learning new skills.  For all of us, who says we have to take those first steps by ourselves?  Find a small group, a friend or family member to help you take fresh steps.

November means that the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will be back again!  This year, this annual event runs between November 4th and 13th at the Exhibition Place - Direct Energy building.  I am also looking forward to the Whole Life Expo (between November 25th to 27th).  Check out the KaTsZoNe calendar for these two events plus other events in November.  I have also listed some events in the GTA in December.  Websites and details for events are included in the KaTsZoNe calendar at www.katszone.com/page/page/6673173.htm.

Now that November is here, you know what that means?  Christmas is just over a month away!  Woohoo!  I am looking forward to shopping, celebrations and festivities!  This December, KaTsZoNe is going into its 7th year!  I am looking forward to writing more KaTsZoNes in 2012 -- in case you had any doubt! 

Let me know if you get out and about and what new experiences you get yourself into!  Most importantly, have fun!



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