Saturday, June 30, 2007

Life Is about Us

Excerpted from Inspiration from a Blind, brought to you monthly by!

"Living is not about me, me, me; it is about us, us, us," is what I say.

I often stress, love yourself; dance with your heart; appreciate who you are from your head down to your wiggly toes. But the "why" has not always been clear, even though I've mentioned it in a subtle way. Why do you need to love and appreciate yourself? One answer may be clear: to be happy. But that is only half of the reason why loving yourself is important.

If you cannot appreciate what you have, how can you appreciate what others have? Yes, it is easy to envy someone for what you do not have, but envy and appreciation are not the same things.

You know that I am always cheerful and happy, but some people do not comprehend why the heck I am so happy. Some wonder, what in the world can I possibly be happy about when I cannot see, walk, or dance? How could I appreciate my life? These people do not understand me because they do not appreciate their own life. They take life for granted. So of course, when they see someone who is in a "lower" state than they are, they will wonder how others can appreciate such a "miserable" life.

Indeed I appreciate my life (and you already know why, right?) so I, in turn, will appreciate other people's lives, whether their lives are better or worse than mine. When I accept my life, my position, my purpose, I will likely accept the lives, positions, and purposes of others.

So above all, to love yourself definitely does not mean that you should be a selfish, arrogant person. It is all about appreciating your life and the life of others. If you love yourself only, all the love you can ever receive in return is your own; no one else's. So you ultimately live for others, not you. Living solely for yourself will create an empty life, with not much purpose. Think about it, this universe is in existence not only for you--it exists for everyone. And it needs all the love it can get from everyone! We ultimately live for one another's happiness, craving one another's love. Well, yes, so you love yourself to be happy--happy because you are appreciated and loved back. Indeed all this boils down to being happy (that probably does have a selfish streak to it--but it's a good one at that, no?)

So live your life with love and appreciation, for others, not just yourself...but you have to start with yourself first, and end with others.

My adventures at BookExpo America 2007:

I went all three days--from June 1 to June 3, and it was quite eventful, to say the least. The highlight on Friday, June 1 was the great honor of meeting Robert F. Kennedy Jr. during his signing. What a gentleman! I can see why many people want him to be our next president. (Okay, okay, so I can't make that decision after meeting him for a few mere minutes.) Then I had the great pleasure meeting some of the publishing people with whom I've been communicating via e-mail and whom I'd been eager to meet. It was wonderful to finally meet them. I also met and took a photo with Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

On June 2, my big day, I had my signing for Waking Spirit. During the hour long signing, my table was mostly occupied by librarians, booksellers, store owners, and even a plastic surgeon! It was the fastest hour I've ever experienced during any yes, I had a fabulous time. My signing was followed by my Author's Studio interview, which went very well; judge for yourself--listen to it at:

And to finish off the day, I took a photo with Tina Louise, who played Ginger Grant on Gilligan's Island, a show I often watched when I was a kid.

My mom and I stayed a short while there on Sunday since we were both (especially Mom) were very tired. I was quite disappointed that Rosie O'Donnell left before I could meet her in person. I also missed breakfast, so wasted my ticket. But hey, I can't complain. Well, I have the right to complain about missing Rosie, don't you agree?

On the evening of June 15, my mom and I were surrounded by great people we know. It was my third book signing at Borders, and I had a great time. The two hours flew by as we talked and joked. I did not give a talk this time; I made a personal rule before I went: no talk if I get less than 10 people. I know that was probably mean of me, but I simply want to talk to a larger audience, not a few people I already know, and whom already know all about my story. Hopefully, next time I will get a larger group that is mostly comprised of strangers!

My adventures last month did not stop there. I returned to New York City the weekend after my signing. Indeed, it was a pretty full month for me. I held a book signing during the New York Book Festival in Central Park on the 23rd, and on the evening prior to the festival, I went to the award ceremony held in the Speakeasy Restaurant. The party room is downstairs, so I had two really tall and muscular gentlemen lift me down the flight of stairs. What a trip! The folks in the restaurant are super nice. Any honorees who attended the ceremony went up to say a few words. My short talk was very well-received, as usual. Hollywood actress Riley Weston is the grand-prize winner, and I took a couple of photos with her. Poughkeepsie Journal, the largest newspaper in my area, mentioned my honorable mention and this event in their Good Life article. An article in The Book Standard by Kimberly Maul also mentioned me.

I believe that event will be my last one for the time being. It is time to get back to doctor hunting again. I received a recommendation for two great eye doctors during the festival, as well as another recommendation from a lovely lady I met at the Lions Club dinner engagement, so I will definitely check out these doctors. Hopefully, my search will end soon. If you know any good eye surgeons, please by all means let me know! I would truly be most grateful.

I'd like to give a good-luck toast to the soon-to-be "lucky" newlyweds. This Saturday is 07-07-07, making it an extremely popular day to get married in perhaps the entire human existence! So let us all give them a good cheer, shall we? May they start with true love and end with happily ever after.

Shirley Cheng,

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