If right now you feel like you’re sitting on the sidelines watching your life go by or your emotional reaction to hearing certain news runs the gamut between lethargy, depression, outrage and blame, it is because it’s a habit you’ve cultivated for a long time.
Ha Tran believes that we can approach our lives as an experiment the next time we think that events beyond our control happen. In the next minute or at any time we desire, we can choose to stop reacting, to slow down and to be still for a few minutes. It is during this time that we can begin to break habits that no longer serve us. We can experiment with interrupting our normal reactions. We can stop blaming others and stop blaming ourselves.
In 1978, Ha Tran was a wife and mother of two small children who found herself in her war-torn and depleted country of South Vietnam now under Communist rule. Increasingly tortured and terrorized for her family’s wealth and capitalist beliefs, her circumstances called for a drastic change and redirection.
Ha has written movingly about her triumph over fear of the unknown in order to escape persecution, reeducation camps with near starvation, no medical services, then surviving in a small boat overflowing with 400 refugees, multiple island refugee camps in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, to begin a new life in a country 8,000 miles away from her beloved country and Father with only $20 to her name and no English skills.
While dealing with her own loss and post traumatic stress and initially facing fierce resentment by Americans following the turmoil and upheaval of the Vietnam War, Ha changed her identity from political refugee to a contributing American citizen, entrepreneur, author and speaker fueling the social imagination of individuals and small to large organizations.
Ha describes to her audiences how pain, instead of being something to avoid, can actually bring us closer to the truth that if we understand that impermanence is a fact of life, we can respond to change in a way that makes us feel less powerless and ultimately stronger in character.
Perhaps what makes Ha’s message resonate so strongly with people, no matter what their age, race or religion, is its universality. Each of us has had changed forced upon us causing fear, resentment, trauma, loss or heartache. How we interact with that feeling, Ha says, can create the possibility of a more joyful life. In her most desperate moments, that’s precisely what she learned to do.
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