Looking for Ways to Fix Myself

by Jonathan Ong, Open Circle Student

For most of my life, I’ve identified myself as a socially awkward child with a whole bunch of weird interests and few real friends. While most people were partying and hanging out with friends in high school, I spent my free time on the shore of Lake Ontario fishing for trout with my father. While most people were into contemporary music, I enjoyed 80's music, jazz, and J-pop. While most people played video games, I cooked for fun. Painfully aware of my loneliness, I began to look online for ways I could “fix” myself—I began on my journey of self-discovery and personal development. It was an avenue through which I could channel my energy and pain.

Fast forward through high school, two years in the Singapore Army, and first year of university, I had made my way through various influential texts, such as the Tao Te Ching and the Baghavad Gita, as well the works of several individuals, including Eckhart Tolle, Joseph Campbell, and Bruce Lee.

Despite having grown a lot, I was still very much on my own. If anything, I had used what I learned to construct a barrier between myself and others—an excuse for my loneliness, and a way to separate myself from those who I felt did not appreciate or understand how I viewed the world.

It was during Clubsfest of my second year at McMaster that I found Open Circle. I was glad that I had found a community to journey with on campus and was eager to learn more. I attended the introductory event, Soulstuff, and was instantly sold. I was impressed by the large array of approaches to personal development made available.

I immediately got involved with the club through attending its events and reflection circles. Over time, I gradually became more open to those around me and began to incorporate what I learned from Open Circle into my personal journey. Although it was often hard to figure out my boundaries and how much I wanted to share, I knew that it was something I wanted to work on. It was a way I could break the jadedness of my heart and reconnect with others. Even today, as I continue to unlearn my individualistic paradigm on spiritual development in finding a better balance, I am confident that I will succeed, knowing that I have the support of everyone in the group. From the start, I have always felt valued and loved, regardless of my quirks—it is something I am eternally grateful for, and something that keeps bringing me back to the community we have created at Open Circle.

Author’s Note: Now that it is 2:39 am and I want to sleep, I’d like to end by sharing a song that reflects everything I have shared and distilled it into something far more enjoyable and succinct: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN7v-3k-bbc