Longstanding Asian traditions, strong willed women, and lots of money: My thoughts on Crazy Rich Asians

[Image sourced from http://www.crazyrichasiansmovie.net/gallery]
[Note: Spoilers contained in this post!]

For a few weeks now, I’d been asked if I had watched Crazy Rich Asians by my friends and family. After watching it this past week, I decided there really is a lot of content in it that is worth noting and writing about. I won’t get into summarizing the story, as my friends who are reading this have already watched it, so these are just my thoughts on the deeper themes portrayed throughout the story.

As a movie, it really was a very entertaining and comic film. It was also exceptional at revealing the intimate details of the unwritten cultural rules and codes of being Asian and growing up in a traditional Asian family. That the whole cast is Asian, and that there was not a single fully non-Asian even as extras is actually pretty representative of what you find when you’re in a traditional, wealthy Asian society, at least from a mentality standpoint. Following what my lineage wanted to the T, I would breed within my social class and race, and the higher up in the net worth scale your family is, the higher the importance of these two factors. I wish I could say the film exaggerates this, but that really is something that is still important today.

One thing I appreciated about the film in this regard was that it represented both sides of the coin pretty well. While the traditional, sacrifice for family side was portrayed as antagonism, and the progressive, pursuit of happiness side was portrayed as protagonism, the film did fairly portray both sides. I found myself feeling not sure as to which I would really side with – there are strong, legitimate economic reasons to follow the traditional side, yet the flipside of it is that it feels like a never-ending suffocation prison of having no authority to make decisions in your own life. Further implications of this to follow.

An aspect I felt a distaste for was the wealth and opulence that the story is set in – I get it, it’s titled “Crazy Rich” Asians, not Asians. But seeing all those scenes of the houses and private islands being filmed in that way, the cronies and the materialism – it made me feel like it was being a competing Asian equivalent to Fifty Shades, and the dangerous threat of the rising narcissism in our society today. While I actually like Fifty Shades for other personal reasons (no, not just those reasons), where I think these representations are shortsighted is that it does not show where we got all this money, just the lifestyle that revolves around materialism and narcissism. In a world of social media envy and Instagram perfect, I’m concerned for this for our younger generations and the lifestyle expectations it creates. Yes, I get that it’s fiction, and maybe it’s better than portraying war, violence, and vampiric stalker boyfriends. But I do think it speaks to current power in the collective unconscious of both this materialistic, narcissistic lifestyle, as well as the surprisingly fast rise of China as an economic superpower.

Onto the characters, I really had an issue with Nick as a character, as well as the relationship between Nick and Rachel. Being a complete fit to the “strong woman” archetype myself, I have a real problem with the situation between Nick and Rachel. Just because someone is strong and able to handle a dead gutted fish and threat written on her hotel bedroom at a bachelorette party, does not mean that she wants to! Or should, for that matter. Speaking from personal experience, it’s not good enough in any way to be in a relationship where you’re strong and take all the hits of the situation you in reality do not have to be in, that is also caused by your partner in many ways. If you’re going to have me thrown into your tank of pet piranhas, first of all, I don’t really want to, and second of all, the least you can do is at least tell me what piranhas are so I can do some preparation! Nick leaves Rachel with zero preparation for any of the things she might encounter, and if he spent that much time thinking up a proposal scene, I think he could spend some time thinking about what his family and friends might think about Rachel.

It’s not like he’s clueless either – he knows his mother Eleanor let his grandmother raise him to redeem herself for not being the daughter-in-law the grandma wanted. He knows about Astrid’s relationship, and all the other cousins’ relationships and how the family feels about them. Yet he’s dated Rachel for a year, already has a ring for her, and Rachel is surprised that they’re taking a first class flight. Some serious escaping life he’s doing, and surprise, it doesn’t just go away even if you escape it. It also highlights a lack of forethought when considering marriage and its intentions and purposes.

What I’m most concerned about is having grown up first thinking it’s terrible to be a strong-willed woman (in traditional Asian society), then realizing it’s actually better than having your life be fully controlled by other people (once you get over your own manipulation issues), but now, realizing that in counterenergy to the strong willed Miss Independent archetype, we’ve created this zero accountability man lover archetype. The man who loves you so much because you’re the most capable amazing woman he’s ever met, and so different from any other woman, and you’ll change his life and he won’t have to do anything but propose. F that.

(Clearly someone needs to work on her issues around this, but that’s another story)

Anyways, in the scene where Colin and Nick escape the bachelor party to the hut on water, Colin asks Nick if Rachel is ready for facing his family in a marriage. He reminds Nick that he is untouchable, but Rachel isn’t. Did Nick not ever think about this before considering proposing? I find it selfish of him to not have put Rachel into consideration in a marriage proposal, even if she is a strong woman who can handle anything. The other scene that really hit home for me was the wedding scene where Araminta is walking down the aisle, and Nick was so proud that Rachel wasn’t meekly hiding in the back – that she was the strong, independent woman he loves, facing everything full-frontally. It was an emotional scene flashing between Nick’s in love face, Colin’s in love face, Rachel’s omg I’ve made it this far face, and Eleanor’s face of desperation of what if she really can’t win here. While I was moved emotionally, I thought, why does it have to be that hard? Why does it have to be that hard to be happy in a relationship? Might we girls be too strong for our own good? I’m still trying to understand this whole situation myself.

My final note on this is what my true sentiments about the entire movie is revolved around: the lack of a solid resolution being created in response to the perspectives of the two sides that were portrayed. As I mentioned earlier, the representation and depiction of the issues that face our Asian communities were very well done – they were intimate, intricate, and accurate. Where things fell short and why I couldn’t appreciate the ending was that there was no solution that was created between the two sides – the traditional Asian path vs the progressive American path – thus providing us no better answers than what we have to go off of now.

Maybe it’s the marketing storyteller in me, but stories have to provide us better answers to be valuable. We as individuals (the characters in the plots) have to transform ourselves through stories, when we realize we cannot transform our circumstances. Stories and art are places where we can explore different realities, and this was a lot of exposure, but zero resolution.

Some people wrote in reviews that it’s because Eleanor cares about family that she wanted Nick to be happy in the end, but I really didn’t feel that, because caring about family would ultimately still be about the estate and the carrying down of the tradition, not just one generation’s happiness. The story compensated a little for this by having Astrid and Michael’s relationship fall apart out of their differences with each other, but overall it only provides a solution of one side has to give up their power. I really do not think that is a solution by any means. Not that I suggest compromise where we 50-50 it (à la Americàn), but when there are conflicts with such strong energy and intentions behind them, there are solutions that are equally powerful. This film does not explore that in any way.

This question actually digs into the spiritual truth of All is One. What Eleanor did, to find ways to redeem herself through sacrificing as much as she could for the family, just continued the power structure. She yielded to the tradition. What that does is just pass on a locked-in model of homogeneity (she chose to give her differences up), where it’s more rich Asians carrying down the gigantic empire where one family has six maids and the kids all go to British boarding school. This serves to keep people out, further encourage inequality, and ultimately intertwines with selfishness, greed, stinginess, and the retention of wealth in the upper classes. It fundamentally violates what our soul knows about all is one, even though there are positive externalities to it.

I believe that we’re coming out with these strong personality women and zero accountability men archetypes who do not want to follow the norm and have strong courage because there’s something about this structure that has to break down at some point. Spiritually, it is not sustainable that we continue to violate All is One. We see in any us against them model, that it isn’t just the tradition that seeks to perpetuate the violation of this spiritual law, but also the progressive beliefs of going against the tribe and following your own happiness. While we’ve not matured in these relatively new archetypes enough to find a solution just yet, it’s important to consider it on the horizon as something we’ve to collectively work on in order to move to the next level.

Overall, I have to say it I found it entertaining, and it did illustrate some powerful concepts that I had been grasping with myself. I found myself feeling very ambivalent, especially in the scene where Rachel and Eleanor play mahjong, and Rachel asks, “Don’t you want your son to be happy?” And Eleanor replies, “Happiness is an illusion. We know how to build things that last.” A decade ago going to college, I would have sided with Rachel, thinking what’s the point of stuff if you’re so unhappy? Yet today I’ve found myself feeling ambivalent, thinking that while I don’t seek to accumulate stuff, I don’t think happiness is the answer. It leads to a self-contained narcissistic life, because the world at large isn’t going to give you happiness, not just when your heritage attempts to control it.

While I’m thrilled that this movie was produced and created, I find there’s a lot of work for all of us to do that can’t be concluded with a happy go lucky engagement party. To really resolve the issues the film presents, it is going to take serious spiritual work within us to transform these old structures, so that we can create something that truly lasts – something in the plane where we can take with us when we go.

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Competing to Win and Ambition

I had this realization when playing badminton today. I swear if you want to get to know yourself better and have your own ongoing revealing personal development program, play badminton. It is amazing. It lets you know what’s going on in your life based on how you’re playing. I did this talk with another great badminton player about all the wonderful things that happened in our lives from badminton, including being able to see a lot about what is going on personally. It’s not just that you get to see things, you get to apply all these principles you have maybe just read or heard about in a safe context – a badminton match.


Today, I asked to play singles with an extremely well-trained player in badminton. I always have a philosophy to play really strong badminton, however one thing I noticed was my drive to win has been completely absent. I just sought to always play my best game, but since I haven’t been competing, I just didn’t have a drive to win. I had a drive to do well and exercise, but not this strong focus on every shot being engineered for my success.

The other day I was chatting with a friend of mine who is a full-time photographer. I interact with a lot of photographers, and I always have this little jealousy – I know it’s hard and a lot of work to be a full time photographer who is not only doing wedding photos, but oh I so wish I pursued my artistic passion as my career path as well! Aside from telling me I’ll be doing it soon, he told me the most important factor is your ambition. And I was like – oh right! Of course!

I somehow have forgotten about this little (BIG) thing called ambition since leaving a lot of my thought-so dreams. Many dreams that were cancelled from the separation I experienced, or from the jobs I worked not turning out to be positive experiences. It’s not that I completely gave up on them, they just kind of went on backburner mode as I frantically tried to support OPDs – other people’s dreams.

And along with my dreams being quiet was the part of me who is a truly competitive, ambitious badminton player. That ambition to always win regardless of what goes on on the other side of the court and regardless of the end result – that’s the ambition you need in every single match. The opponent may tell you things but you’re fully focused on yourself and your own game. He or she may do something funny but you’re completely focused on yourself and your own game. ALL 100% of your energy is on yourself and what you’re doing – the shots you’re placing, the game you’re playing, the player you’re being. Maybe it’s because I’m not at that high, professional competitive level, but I venture to say that focus on yourself all you need as a “game plan strategy” in badminton, no matter what your opponent is doing. Because experience and intuitive awareness from matches will build the strategy. And sometimes I find strategy not reliable. I was taught so much strategy – if the person is tall do this, short do that, strong do this, stout do that. What a waste of time and energy now that I look back, compared to just placing all of your focus and energy on your own game. Of course it helps and you can win with it, but what’s the point of strategy if you’re not a powerful player already, filled with your own vision and your own ambition and drive to win.

So what happened in my game, I played better than I have in the past 8 years. Maybe in my entire career. With zero training and spares singles games. And I had this realization like what if I approached my entire life in this way? I’ve been knowing I’ve been wasting time regretting some decisions, and trying to forget about that regret. But dropping it and moving on hasn’t shown me to be the answer either. What if I became devoted to my spiritual discipline and practice with this level of ambition? What if no matter what I have to do tomorrow in my job, like it or not, that I just focused on myself anyways? I can see that being a challenge with person after person to interact with in an office situation, but hey – what works in badminton works in real life.

Who do I choose to be then? And what would be different – what would I choose to be different in my life if I apply this?

I’ve been recently coming to a lot of lessons on letting go of pride and choosing to be courageous in that – more posts to come on that.

Expressing My Separation

Alright, it’s time for me to write my truth bomb post. The stuff I didn’t want to share for a while, but now I’m at the point where I’m to share it all. About my separation. On Valentine’s Day.

It’s actually Lunar New Year, and I’ve been preparing for a few things. For my season with the girls badminton team starting soon, for my New Years Resolutions (because Lunar New Year is more of a New Year than the Gregorian New Year), for a new vision boarding experience. But also, I’ve been preparing for my return to Truth, and my preparation to release this story from my psyche.

To say goodbye to this archetype of living, so that I may finally move on. Not to say that I’ve been hung up on it, but now it’s time to get to the grit and grime of it all, and express what I’ve been holding back.

It really shocks me when I think about how many people go through divorce and separations, because that really should be an experience that just brings everyone to return to Healing, Personal Development, Truth, God and the Divine energy. But I guess that’s not the way of most people.

For me, it is. I spent my entire life wanting to be in a happy relationship. I know it’s silly for me to say that since I’m young, but I honestly even remember being three years old, sitting on the lap of Ronald McDonald, thinking someday I will have a less scary looking guy than Ronald McDonald to be my boyfriend, and I was going to love it.

I got engaged when I was twenty. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, going to Italy, with my open wounds ready to heal, healing them in less than two months and creating a beautiful relationship. Similar to what I’m doing now – revealing to myself the archetypal stories I needed to release, and through the power of forgiveness, truly healing. It was a true miracle. My entire perception of life shifted. I saw how we are truly all one. It was what the near death experience recounts sound like, except I didn’t almost die, I just worked on personal development and continuously day after day invoked a higher energy field to come into my experience. I met my soul, and I experienced the presence of God, after an entire life of knowing religion was crazy.

Then, I went back to forgetting. I went back to old ways. My mind felt entitled to this unquestioned premise: You create your own reality.

Sounds fine for the most part, as most personal development books are teaching this. But you actually don’t create your own reality. If you did, you could literally think of pink sealions dancing in full scuba diving gear on the clouds, and it would actually happen (cit. Bug Free Mind Books). No, you don’t create your own reality, and it’s not because of “free will.”

Unfortunately, it took me a year of pain inflicted upon myself and ex partner, then another two years of learning in work to better understand this.

I knew from the moment that we met that my ex partner and I were not lifetime partners. We were certainly soul/wound mates, and I met him at a time where I was very close to my truth, which is why I knew from the first moment that we wouldn’t be able to be together as lifetime partners.

It is with the need to forgive myself that I write here and express that I thought I could play my own cards, because I believed so strongly that “you create your own reality,” that I had free will choice. That even though my intuition said, “this person is a great partner for you, but he will not be the one you can develop your life with,” I responded with, “that’s not up to you, that’s up to me, because it’s my life and I have free will choice to create my own reality.”

We were truly happy together for the first two years, but when I graduated from college and it came time for us to be married, there were so many problems that “needed to be solved” before we could get married. It became the four year engagement, then further, and I grew increasingly unhappy and depressed.

I write with a heavy heart, though truly, I am grateful for the separating, because it was using forceful free will to hold together a commitment that was never meant to be to made to start with, and the truth was going to happen no matter what, just a matter of time.

Sometimes (all the time), it’s not about your perseverance, or creating your own reality. Sometimes (all the time), it’s about the truth you’re able to accept about yourself.

Upon separating, my life changed a lot. Still with open wounds, I was offered a management position at a tech startup company in sales that opened my eyes so much to how much I had held myself back from being with this person. I had always been able to do all this – I just was never able to access these opportunities. I realized that I had been artificially holding myself to a life that was not mine, for the sake of being with my ex partner.

The career piece was actually happening, but at the same time, there’s something related to it that I’m still discovering right now; something that I know when I truly heal this wound I will better understand. Which is part of why I’m writing this, knowing that after repeating a couple of things in career as well, it’s time for me to be broken open and really see what patterns I’ve been choosing to create.

Somewhere in the middle of my most recent career experience, I realized that I’ve not been able to fully let go of what happened. Aside from not having committed to a new relationship, it has affected my career choices which have been sent to me as my “lessons” as well. So long as I don’t forgive, I will be aligned to and can only attract the work situations that trigger the wound within.

It’s actually beautiful, the way it is set up. It is set up for us to be responsible for our forgiveness, for our holding on or releasing, so that we can choose to be who we are. To be who we know ourselves deep down to be.

So as I continue to allow myself to express, let me pray deeply each evening, asking God for forgiveness, for grace, for love, with complete detachment of the outcome it will bring me.

I’m actually doing a lot better, and I’m really grateful for this opportunity to write about this experience. I’ve been fine, 2017 was the most beautiful year of my life so far. I just didn’t get to really create my greatest, grandest dreams because of this lack of expression. And now with this expression, and a conscious decision to be letting these stories release into the past, I’m eager to see where I’ll be next.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Happy Valentine’s Day ❤

Staying True to You

Going deeply into so many recent experiences has been such an adventure. I’ve noticed the way my paradigms continuously require to update to make sense and order of an otherwise chaotic world. Possibly just a domain of the mind, and not necessary for self-actualisation and self-realisation; however it does make you good with words around it. 😉

Experiencing a separation from a relationship a year ago now, my greatest lesson has been how easily we can ascribe responsibility to things outside of us, and that this won’t do. This really won’t do. The level of personal responsibility I’ve been coming to understand has been very mind-opening. It allows me to see Law of Attraction on a completely different level, much deeper than I had ever understood it before.

More than ever before, I’ve seen how so many “problems” are created from situations where we have not fully taken 100% responsibility – putting something or someone else above ourselves.

People like to talk about how you have to put yourself first, oxygen mask analogy, yes sure. I think the question isn’t do we accept that to be true (because most people now do), but to what extent we deliver on that. To what degree do we fully stay true to ourselves, always. Yes, always. Literally, any time we put ANYTHING above us, in my case, making my relationship experience more important than my own inner experience, puts us into trouble where we have to let go of that sooner or later.

What I’ve received from this understanding is that we’re much more creative and filled with things to share than we realize. We’re unable to realize it when we don’t claim enough responsibility. As an example, I stopped playing music for 6 years, even though when I was in high school, my dream was to become an artist someday. I basically felt like I was okay, as long as I was with my partner. My emotional expression became dependent on the ability to volley them with someone else, or simply to express them to – sometimes unfortunately at – someone else.

When I came back to Taiwan, I looked through a lot of my things from high school, and I found stacks – literally stacks – of music. I was surprised at how much music I had learned and how determined I was to become a professional singer songwriter someday. I had rewritten lyrics to songs and written a few originals, all in this portfolio book I carefully polished and printed on special paper. It was endearing to see, and what was most eye-opening was how this all disappeared since moving off to college.

I’ve picked up my music again, so much that my fingers have developed calluses in a matter of days. What’s amazing is I still remember so much of it, and I’m more passionate than ever to create even more deeply than I ever have before in my life.

Here’s a recent creation 🙂

If I could make my stage bigger today and I could speak louder and have more people hear anything at all, it would be to take control of your life and make your own decisions from thinking for yourself. Think for yourself. Think deeply. Even if that means you spin, sometimes negatively, think. Think for yourself so that you know what’s you and what’s not you. So that you stay 100% true to yourself. It’s never worth it to go down anything that isn’t fully true to yourself.

Someday, maybe I’ll create that stage. That will allow me to know I did what I came here for. And of course, thank you to whoever is here already today to read this.

 

Love,

Catt xx

Ending Regrets In Life and Start Living

Hi everyone, it’s Catt here. This article is longer than usual, but I wanted to share something very personal today that has been going on for me lately and has really moved me emotionally. I’ve recently been up to a lot of things – some are amazing like with coaching and working with photographers, and some are quite stressful like moving to another country. Anyways in this blogpost, I’m sharing something personal about a topic that had always been foreign to me: Regret. I intend to share my experiences with regret, and to get you awake if you’re someone who lives with regrets – if you are someone who does, please read this well, and please send this post to anyone who lives with regret, as it may change their life.

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A few years ago I experienced a really bad relationship with a guy I met in college. We were really close friends before and during our relationship, and one thing I remember he always wanted to know was how I had no regrets in life. I had gone through some pretty tough stuff, and I honestly had zero regrets for everything that had ever happened to me. I heard my mom complaining about regrets, I had heard my dad warning me about regrets constantly, but it was the one thing that never rubbed off onto me. I lived with zero regrets, even with the harsh consequences that came with some of my choices.

The guy I was with at the time, let’s call him Alec, would always ask me: How can you have no regrets? Don’t you wish certain things hadn’t happened? And I would respond in total confusion – why would I wish something I chose didn’t happen? Regret simply was not part of my mental vocabulary – it couldn’t even be defined in my life.

We sometimes would go into more detail. I’d ask him what he would regret. He said that sometimes he didn’t study enough and ended up getting grades that weren’t so good, but it would just happen because he just wanted to work on his music more, as it was more interesting than studying. And I said then why would you regret it if you want to work on music more? If you are more drawn towards your music and you ended up choosing to do that instead of studying, why would you regret? If you know you want better grades, you just have to choose to put off some of your music production. Why do you need to regret anything?

Sometimes, Alec would tell me during the times he hurt me “I really don’t know how you can not regret anything, I regret many things in my past, and the list just seems to get longer every day.” Even when Alec hurt me, I could feel terrible, but I never regretted what I chose, because I understood clearly my motivations for choosing exactly what I did, and if I had to change something, I knew where to look.

Well, lately I’ve experienced some regret for the first time in my life.

I experience some regret with getting such a nice car that it’s hard to figure out what to do with it if I’m moving countries. I’ve been experiencing regret to do with working for a company that I felt totally against. I’ve been experiencing regret when I think back on some of the difficult situations I was in, where people I was living with were in critical conditions and I was required to “help out,” only to realize they were using my “help” to not face what was going on.

I couldn’t understand this for the longest time. I had gone through much, much worse situations than these before I experienced my incredible miracle and I thought I would be able to handle these relatively smaller issues. But I felt restless, and I didn’t even recognize that I had been experiencing regret until lately with working on moving. What I’ve uncovered is that in each of the cases I experience regret, for myself at least and the way I experience life, is that they all came when I didn’t make my own decisions and chose to listen to someone else I felt knew more about the situation to deal with.

“Trust your instincts. Your mistakes might as well be your own.” – Billy Wilder

Never have I ever experienced my mistakes not being my own, and for me, it’s absolutely excruciating. In the large scheme of things, it’s fine – I’ve stopped working for something I don’t believe in, I don’t live with “people who need help” anymore, and it’s really just stuff when it comes to things like my car. But the experience of having to live with someone else’s mistakes (even if they come from good judgment), that these consequences stem from following what someone else recommended that I need to be or do, I am absolutely unable to feel empowered and a part of me just “wishes I didn’t do that particular thing.”

In the past while I was in middle school up to college, I had fiercely made all my decision for myself, and it was fantastic, even when it wasn’t. I was so rebellious and felt so strong in my decisions that even if they turned out poorly, at least I would be the one to deal with them. I never felt regret because I knew that each mistake or “failure” I experienced would bring me more understanding, and with more understanding I could gain awareness and insight that would bring me where I desired to go. My rebellious spirit was strong, and I experienced great pain, but also great joy, and that to me is the experience we came from – we didn’t come to make half a world where everything is only good, we came to experience ALL of it.

And that’s something I want to shake the world up with. I want to remind you and myself that trying to play life safe is trying to die, because it’s trying to never live. Being motivated by the safe option is never knowing how much of life you can handle and break through to experience something incredible. In the end, for myself, the safe option became the most dangerous option because dousing my rebellious, fierce, tenacious, driven-to-succeed attitude by searching for safety ended up almost taking my life away – in fact it already has by robbing me of a whole year of trying to do what everyone else wanted of me instead of being me.

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I’m glad I’ve followed some pieces, like my decision to start coaching and this whole project of working with teenagers and also moving back to my home country. If these turn out to be mistakes, I can adjust and course-correct and accept my mistakes. If what other people told me to do turn out to be mistakes, I can only live with regret of consequences in which my energy wasn’t fully in on.

If you’ve been like me lately experiencing regret and making decisions to play it safe, I invite you to accept that you have not made some of your decisions yourself, and ask yourself and ponder on the question: Who are you going to be now?

Life really is one swell ride – and it’s really just a ride – meant to be fully experienced, not hoping that things will be okay and that it’ll be a safe ride. Get the hell outside and experience your life because this is not a rehearsal, it’s not something you can say let me get everything right and then I’ll go outside and be like hey everyone, I’m great. It’s about experiencing every single emotion there is and CHOOSING who YOU WANT TO BE based on EVERYTHING you’ve experienced. Get the F*** outside so that someone else stops living your life, and you do instead so that you can actually get your life back and move it forward. You’ll always be the one who lives with your mistakes, so they might as well be your own so that you can learn and grow from them. You’ve already wasted years in not being yourself – can you really live with more?

What’s the worse that can happen? You make your own decisions that don’t work out? Well at least you know you did what you best knew at the time, and now have gained new awareness so that you can do something about it instead of feeling like this wasn’t what you thought would happen. Live! Live, live, live, and stop dying! Choose for yourself, even if that’s going to give you pain. Pain is one million times easier to handle when it comes up because you followed your own path. And it also gives you the precious jewels of awareness that allow you to get to know yourself and what your path really is.

Starting today, make a commitment to yourself that you will start making how you feel and what you want more important than anything else. Starting today, look at everything that you’re doing and evaluate your motivation for doing them – if it’s to play for safety, break the lie. Break these falsehoods. There is no safety, there is only you making your own choices and living your own life, or having someone else tell you what to do for you. Starting today, get out there and make some mistakes, feel it all, get to know what it is about the things you’re doing that will take you where you want to go. It’s all there, we’re all here, and we can all make more amazing things happen if we can learn to make decisions for ourselves.

That’s all I wanted to say today – please get out there and be you, the world needs you and the world desperately needs people to think for themselves and make up their own minds.

We can do this, one person at a time.

xx,
Catt

Why is personal development not working for me?

I’ve been reading personal development ever since I could read. Ok, maybe a few years after that, but I always loved books and movies that would promise a possibility of a different life through inner change. I am still in love with the possibilities personal development opens us to if we are willing (or perhaps a better word would be eager) to look at the ways in which we can change ourselves, and thus change our lives.

I can’t tell you how many personal development programs I’ve purchased and done online. How many counselors/coaches/therapists I’ve shuffled through. How many books I’ve read and reread, really wanting to improve and up my game so that I could better serve the world (ambitious perhaps, but not delusional!). And throughout the whole journey, no matter where I’ve come to, there is the possibility that I arrive at a time and space where I find myself thinking:

Why is personal development not working for me?

I know in my last blogpost I shared that I really achieved a very pure clarity that allowed me to see everything in my life the way it truly was and not as the illusions that made me suffer. And I also said this:

These systems started to work when I applied them in a certain way.

This quote of “a certain way” comes from The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles. I realized that was what happened as I was writing about what I was doing, and thinking about how it hasn’t really been that way since that experience (as I share on this blogpost, I never seem to get things to work out for me). That certain way I guess could be described as “connecting with my soul,” as my previous blogpost was talking about, but that can be seen as airy fairy and really, what does that even mean if you don’t even believe we have a soul, or don’t know what that means?

Well recently I’ve been humbly inspired to another piece of this “certain way” business that really caught my attention. It came from listening to a couple of interviews and rereading the book of Anita Moorjani, Dying to be Me (which to me is a must read!).

Here’s the idea. Personal development is basically “promising” us that we will live a “happier” (or “more successful” or “more fulfilled”) life as a result of doing what they suggest. While a lot of this information is truly fantastic (and true, and very actionable and real), there is a big pitfall in such a promise. That is that we literally, actually, reality-ly, physically, metaphysically, nonphysically, cannot find ourselves in a space of happiness/success/fulfillment if we are looking for the answer outside of ourselves. And this is the state many people are in when they do come to personal development.

We realize that this whole time we’ve been doing things out of fear of something else, out of avoidance of something, rather than out of true desire. And when we approach personal development in this way, we are signing up for failure, every. single. time. without. fail.

Why?

Well if we accept the law of attraction, we know that you attract that which you fear. Thus, if you’re doing anything for the purpose of avoiding something, you will attract that something you’re avoiding. So if we’re looking at how to become financially successful out of a desperation to avoid being a financial failure, if that is what we are motivated by (this is what I mean by “outside of ourselves”), I personally don’t see how it could, metaphysically/physically/nonphysically speaking, ever work out and have us come out as a financial success. At best, it would be a quick fix or create the longterm struggle, produced purely through action.

If we get on the treadmill to avoid being fat, if we take the job out of fear of not paying the bills, if we marry the person out of fear of never being wanted, if we go to a party out of fear of being rejected, if we think positive to avoid negative manifestations, we will ultimately find ourselves unhappy, even if we are able to keep up with the exterior world. If we apply personal development to avoid being unhappy with ourselves or avoiding a certain situation or circumstance, I personally strongly believe that this is why a lot of personal development “isn’t working.”

Quick story to illustrate the point: I have a set of books called A Bug Free Mind by Andy Shaw. The lessons in this book were absolutely essential to creating my first miracle in relationships. It talks a lot about (ironically) why personal development doesn’t work, focusing mostly on the way our minds are working against us. The first time I read this, it was revelatory to me. My questions were answered through this book, and in that “round of realization and miracles,” it was exactly what I needed. Being in control of my mind was the foundation to creating a relationship I desired.

After my clarifying experience through cleaning my thoughts up, I left that space of pure clarity and I instantly recognized, due to past experience, that I was not in control of my mind – because I had figured this out the first time, and that had been the problem. I was thinking “Oh GOOD, I get to shortcut it this time without going through the worst experiences – let me just get my bum back to cleaning up my thoughts and controlling my mind!” Yet, I went through crappy experiences again. And that wasn’t because of the information (very seldom is it really about the information itself – I won’t say never though because there is some crap out there). It was because I was completely motivated by my fear of wrongthinking, messy thoughts, lack of structured thinking, being out of control of my mind, being controlled by my ego, and living a life I didn’t desire, that I kept reaching for these books and desperately tried applying the lessons! And guess what I got?

(Are you one of these people too?)

Another example is meditation. I see things like this all the time: meditation gives you more time because it relieves your stress and makes you more productive, and you get to connect with answers that you otherwise would spend days figuring out. What is this, the overfunctioning burnt-out workaholic’s special? Where we feed only more of the ego in the promise that we’ll make more things happen and gain more prestige and more money and more more more… (not saying there’s anything wrong with making things happen, prestige, money, or more, but chasing these things certainly doesn’t give us the experience of “having” them!)

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The opposite of this (the certain way!) is to be motivated by desire. This is the complete opposite to doing something to avoid something you don’t want. They may be the same things, for instance, getting married. But one being done out of desire to be expressing life with another vs one being done out of not wanting to feel like an old bag are completely different things!

Reading more and more personal development out of fear of the unhappy life just isn’t going to get you the happy life, as weird and meta as that sounds. Connecting with desire will. Maybe at some point I will pick up the personal development books and programs that do serve me, but it will be after I let myself come from a place of desire rather than avoidance.

Connecting with desire isn’t a difficult thing either; remembering to do so may be, just as creatures of habit, but you instinctively know the difference. A tip is just ask yourself whenever you’re aware of it: am I doing this out of the desire in my heart, or am I just trying to run away from something else?

Always let your heart decide, and get clear on what that means. Trust me, you don’t want to waste your time TRYING SO HARD to APPLY THESE DARNED PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES and GOSH DARN IT WHY IS IT NOT WORKING ALREADY?? Yeah, it’s not pretty. I’ll take that emotional craziness for you and encourage you to connect inside starting now, so that you don’t have to do that emotional craziness I did.

And if you’re thinking of applying what I’m writing here out of avoiding not getting what you want in personal development..well just think of what that’s creating!

xxx,

Catt

My Affair with Italy

Italy. I think everyone wants to see Italy. If they don’t they’re not being honest, or they haven’t connected to that part of them that wants to experience beauty in physical, grandeur expressions. If even then they don’t want to come see Italy, well let me share with you my experience and see if you’d change your mind about it…

I was given the opportunity to visit Italy when I was in my third year of college, where I would study abroad for a semester. I might add I almost wasn’t able to go because I hadn’t taken the language requirement before leaving, and my online course was not being completed because the textbook wasn’t arriving (to Taiwan) and a huge mess occurred about three days before my flight where I had to tell the housing in my school that I might have to return to campus. It had overall been a very messy period of my life in general. I knew I had to stop doing those things that I kept doing (partying, spending time with friends judging and gossiping, having closet relationships that were not even relationships..) but I had no idea how. Either way, I knew I wanted to go to Italy, and the opportunity was in jeopardy.

But armed with my metaphysical studies, I pulled out the book Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting, and went to the chapter on Ye Gads, I’m Feeling! And I poured myself into the knowing that I would see the Duomo of Milan in utter awe and see Italy for around 45 minutes before bedtime..and when I woke up the next day I got my desire! This was my first moment of true gratitude for my opportunity to be in Italy.

Duomo

Visiting Duomo

 

(By the way, when I actually saw the Duomo of Milano for the first time, I literally gasped out of sheer awe of such grandiose beauty)

I remember the moment I landed in Italy..I flew from Taipei to Hong Kong, then Hong Kong to Milan Malpensa. I remember seeing the lush green trees and fields from above, and the uniform red, red

red rooftops and lush green

red rooftops and lush green

rooftops that I had only dreamed of seeing before. It wasn’t that it was a big deal to visit Italy…but I was actually going to LIVE there for THREE MONTHS and I would get to know something I was never even consciously aware existed.

Soon my excitement became tinted with anxiety, as I felt truly like a foreigner for the first time and I didn’t know anything about Italy. I didn’t know when to say Ciao or when to say Salve or Buongiorno. I didn’t know what Italy was, and being someone who always tried to do what everyone else wanted of me, it was pretty nerve-wracking at the beginning!

first meal

first meal I ordered in Italy

I remember my first meal in Italy. I was still living at the hotel because I had a day before I moved into my host family’s house. I was walking along the streets of Milan, feeling very self conscious, but in speechless awe at the architecture around me – I really felt like I was in a movie set. I felt that when I visited New York, but this was on a completely different, heightened level, as every building had incredible sculptures on the balconies and the petunias overflowing from the windows just looked like a dream to me..or at least a movie set! So here I was looking for something to eat – I actually spent about three hours walking around until around 2pm because I felt way too self-conscious to walk into a restaurant and order something! I felt so fish-out-of-water and I had never experienced that before! I still had a lot of investment in what others thought of me, and keeping up with it was TIRING! I eventually chose some place because I knew I had to eat. I ordered, ate, then when it was time to pay,I had an unfortunate realization: AM I SUPPOSED TO TIP? I felt absolutely awkward. If I tip, I don’t like tipping in coins. Yet the biggest bill I had was 10 euros – for a 8 euro meal. I just couldn’t figure out what to do, I remember looking at the waiters and then looking away thinking “Oh crap.” I wish I could access my internet but I had no phone or wifi. I ended up leaving without tipping, then raced to my hotel room to get wifi access and breathed a HUGE sigh of relief that Italy is not a tipping country. PHEW. Meal #1, DONE!

view from outside my window in Italy

Outside my window

 

Italian gma

my Italian grandmother and sister cutting a homemade apple pie

As I mentioned before, I knew I had to stop behaviours that didn’t serve me, and I thought at least in the meantime while I still care about what others think of me, I will not do the things I can control that I know I desire to end. Those things included hanging out with people just to hang out with people, drinking, partying, and I didn’t really have anyone to hook up with so that settled itself, but I also did not go out to seek that anymore. Instead, I spent a lot of time with my host family, just being part of an Italian family. I had a host brother and two host sisters, all younger than me, a host dad (who is the most amazing cook), host mom, and her mother so a host

Making gnocchi from scratch with my Italian grandmother

Making gnocchi from scratch with my Italian grandmother

grandmother who came every week. I remember I approached living with them in a state of awe as well – everything they said and did was just so amazing to me. It was so different from the way my family did things, and I felt enormous privilege to watch and be part of the experience. I also watched Italian movies with them and this really strengthened (along with listening to them talk) my learning Italian.

Along with this, in my second year of college, I drank a lot of alcohol. And I mean a LOT. And this, along with not exercising, made me gain a significant amount of weight. I was never fat, but it was clear that I had gained weight, and in Taiwan I was considered very fat (as everyone there is so skinny), and I had been told I was fat all the time it drove me crazy. I was on this personal development membership site and I had wrote to the author for help with how my family was treating me. He gave me mind tips, but he also suggested if I really have a weight issue, I should look into

started juicing in Italy

started juicing in Italy

Slim4Life by Jason Vale. So I had started reading that in Taipei, and when I arrived in Italy, with all the free time I had (just classes and then going home to wonderful dinner) I calmly finished reading everything. Again, without distractions, once I finished the book I simply went out to the electrodomestics store and purchased a small juicer for 45 euros, and started incorporating juicing into my life for the first time. Some days I would just have juice until dinner, and dinner was always fresh made by scratch and I would be in love. But I really started juicing every single day just like that.

 

Also in my second year of college, I had some crazy backend girlfriend relationship experiences. I won’t go into detail here, but let’s just say they were a bit insane, in the no-tomorrows way (naw come on I was always safe, the whole idea of it was just crazy). I never got to be with anyone who really appreciated me aside from shallow fancies of my no-guarantees exuberance that I adopted when a boy broke up with me from the only relationship I had (I was not in relationships with any other guys I was with). While I was in Milan, I met some cute boys I never got with, just talked to, but I would dream of going to places like Venice with a lover, someone with whom I could hold hands (the ex boyfriend never let me) and croon about how beautiful Italy was. My whole life experience was always shaped by my relationships, and the reason for letting go of the cool, popular front I had built up in college was from a painful experience demonstrating to me that it didn’t give me the relationship I wanted.

Venice

mask from Venice where they celebrate Carnevale

 

On one occasion, I went with a quiet friend to Venice. While we were eating lunch, a waiter, not ours, came up to us and said “Dimmi.” And I was like, “Well we were waiting for the bill if that helps.” He started asking me where I was from and why we were in Venice, and he said to my friend, “Sorry I’m coming in like this, but I really have to at least try to ask her out, you understand I’m hoping.” I was absolutely flattered and embarrassed at the same time, as he was older than me (he was 32 if I recall properly), and coming from being backend girlfriends and never even being asked out on a date, I was absolutely flattered. He took us to Piazza San Marco and showed us around, where he then left us, telling me that he would love to see me again but if I’m here with my friend then I’m here with my friend. I told him I appreciated him showing us around and thanked him for his time. Before leaving Venice, I bought a magnet with the street sign that said “Rialto,” which was where I met him, to remember our interaction. It wasn’t so much about a man talking to me that I felt so in awe for, but that I had stayed open enough to enjoy the interaction even if my mind wanted nothing to do with it really (random older Italian waiter guy hitting on me? Please!) (No, no, no, I stayed in “Maybe” energy, which was who I really am).

Anyways, on normal days, I would go to class every day, learn Italian (I absolutely loved learning Italian), then start my journey home on the bus and tram, but sometimes I would walk. I would just meander aimlessly so that I could see the city. I did this on the weekends too. As long as I could find a tram that went to the Duomo (the central cathedral by the way), there was a tram that had a stop there that would take me back to the neighborhood my family lived. So I just meandered, sometimes with my jaw wide open at what I would find hidden in the city – incredible statutes, a facade of a building that looked like it would be featured in a museum, hidden churches filled with incredible artwork (paintings, architecture, etc), the people on the street trying to sell me touristy things…I was falling in love with Milan by looking for these things actively every day.

I kept hanging around outside in the city, sometimes stopping in stores, sometimes hanging out in a cafe or the [one] bagel store reading more of my personal development or listening to it on the way to places. I’ve lived in a city all my life so I knew how to adapt easily to city life. I was also able to do all the things I had been trying in personal development for a while. I kept a gratitude journal in a way that really meant something to me, I exercised a bit every morning, I did yoga, I meditated, I kept applying programs I had already and kept reading, listening to books, and I would post on the personal development groups and interact with people there. It was fantastic – no distractions, no mind mess. No friends, no parties, no country hopping hustle-traveling.

The mug I manifested

The mug I manifested as a gift from my host mother!

These personal development things I applied just started to work without effort on my part. I didn’t have to remind myself to do any of these things, I just did them. They became part of my life. I soon realized I had stopped caring what anyone thought of me because I simply could not even guess. Like I wrote in a previous blogpost, I did things like manifested a mug I was looking for. These systems started to work when I applied them in a certain way. I was pretty surprised to be honest, as I had never seen such clear evidence of the laws of the universe in play until I had cleaned up my own thoughts.

I eventually reached a point where my mind was pretty clear, and I came across a book by Kamal Ravikant called Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. And I applied what he wrote, and it worked like he said it would. It worked again with little effort on my part, because I already had been so committed, ready to shed the illusions and following through. From the first thought in the morning to the last thought at night was “I love myself” for about two weeks straight.

Then came the super-magic on top of the magic that oh my gosh I had just fallen in love with myself and wow I didn’t even know it was possible. I had started reading Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch for the first time, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I really wasn’t alone. I had said things just like God did to Neale about fundamentalist Christianity and relationships. I finally felt like what was happening was starting to make sense in my life and felt the presence of something that had been with me the whole time. I bought a piglet in the Disney store at San Babila to remember that someone loved me (this was before I applied Love Yourself).

my love - pimpi!

my love – pimpi!

Then I listened to a recording Neale did (after my love yourself experience), and all the pieces came together for the first time. I felt deep, deep gratitude for every experience in my life – not just the ones that pushed me to change, but the ones that I was absolutely certain should not ever be a part of anyone’s life. I realized that I had been it all the time, I didn’t need to do anything to be loved, unlike I had thought before. I didn’t need to do anything to gain anyone’s approval, I already had the greatest approval of all – being me. I was in a space of pure clarity for another few weeks – even while I was in class or babysitting kids, or sometimes I would just not even go to class..I would sit on the park benches in the middle of day when no one was there, and feel the power of what Neale was saying and feel deep inside me “I really am not alone, nothing has ever gone wrong, and I am already that which I seek to be.” I was having a truly revealing experience, much like the ones people go through in their near death experience. It was a pure merging with love which I have described countless times in my blogposts and with others.

So what happened next?

Well. I met a guy. Wait I really met a guy. He was introduced to me by my host family actually, and he was absolutely gorgeous. He looked literally like an angel and the first moment I saw him my heart floated out of my chest I swear. I felt like I had wings on my heart and they didn’t want to sit still. Well by this time I had remembered who I was and loved myself fully and completely, yet I had never really experienced it. I experienced the opposite of it and was grateful for that, but I hadn’t experienced it yet. I thought of the ways I might approach this guy, and I realized one unfortunate thing: I only knew how to get a guy in my bed, I didn’t know how to inspire a guy to be my lover.

So with relative ease (which was not the case in the past – in the past if I saw some guy I went bananas for I would cling onto him until he couldn’t stand it and shook me off), I just said to myself, “Well, let’s go practice how to be me then!” After all, you can’t just read a book to learn how to play basketball, you have to go out there and touch the ball and do it. So that’s what I did. I went online, set up a profile, and practiced being completely myself. I messaged over 150 guys and kept going. My ONLY intention with this exercise was to practice being completely, femininely myself (instead of masculinely, like I used to approach guys). And I did – no matter what it was, a real date or just being on chat. I would share when I felt uncomfortable or when I felt shy, or when I really didn’t want to continue talking altogether. Everything was all about being, not trying to get anywhere with any of these guys. I stayed completely open to whatever would show up for me so that I could work through these things, instead of push them and run away in embarrassment or shame. And I bravely did a lot of it in Italian! (The other thing was I learned most conversational Italian in about three months time – another joy for me!)

I truly did not intend to stay with any of the guys I met, but I ended up in a very long-term committed engagement with one of them that lasted four years. I kept telling myself this was just for practice, and I am appreciative of ALL of the guys who talk to me because they give me an opportunity to practice being myself.

him taking me to my first live soccer (I mean football) match - Go Inter!

him taking me to my first live soccer (I mean football) match – Go Inter!

And to this day I am still remembering who I am in situations I have never encountered, practicing more and more quantities and ways of being myself. It really never stops – the expansion. What has stopped is the behaviours I described in the beginning of this post I knew I had to let go of..those I have let go of and moved into a much more beautiful expression of myself that I could never have planned out.

But anyways…that was my secret affair with Italy..and I haven’t stopped yet, and I will never stop. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with you, and invite you to look at ways in which you may move into a more authentic expression of who you really are, because the experiences that come with that are nothing short of incredibly absolutely breathtakingly amazing.

xxx,

Catt

My Honest Review: Abraham Hicks Workshop

I just attended an Abraham Hicks workshop recently and felt like I should share what it was like for me, since I always wondered and never really found any interesting reviews prior to attending!

I got a second row seat stage right!

I got a second row seat stage right!

Throughout this whole experience I felt a little anxious and nervous, mostly because I was excited and that made me have ants in my pants (I was anxious and nervous in the eager kind of way), as I had been listening to Abraham recordings on YouTube almost nonstop for an entire year! On top of that I had been reading their books for even longer.

I didn’t read and listen to Abraham because I needed to know what was going on and validate that. I had an experience in 2012 where I trained myself, thought by thought, into a state of pure clarity and all-knowing understanding, and I saw myself and the world as it truly was for a period of time. What I found from listening to Abraham Hicks after was that everything they describe and “tell us we should do” is exactly what I experienced. I didn’t achieve it through following their teachings. I achieved it through thought cleansing, removal of all obstacles and “bugs” (as Andy Shaw would say), and my vision transformed into a state of pure knowing for about a month’s time. The closest I’ve felt the experience I had being described was in Anita Moorjani’s beautiful book, Dying to be Me where she describes her near death experience and what she saw from that perspective. I also found Anita’s book two years after my experience.

AHP Workshop timer

The workshop timer

Going to the workshop was something I had wanted to do for a long time because I had a couple of questions. I was really eager to ask some of my questions.

I arrived and found a great spot next to a few nice people. One thing I felt throughout the workshop was a level of trust I don’t usually have. I trusted leaving my bag on my spot, I trusted everyone would be kind, I trusted everything would work out really well. It felt like there was an understanding that we were all in there as positive, support for each other. And I experienced that in the first moments where I didn’t have the right change for a product I wanted to purchase. The lady next to me gave me the change I was missing – and said “that’s for you!” I was so happy and touched it was like one of those good help-people-out experiences (which in general life I tend to not have). I felt like this place was really cool, everyone at least tried to know and act on what was positive and helpful.

However as this feeling prolonged and grew and the more it stretched out, the stranger it felt. The workshop itself was pretty much as you hear online – Esther introduced herself, she connected to Abraham and began speaking Abraham’s message. They always kind of have a “talk point” – the grid, high-flying disc, upstream or downstream, let go of the oars, path of least resistance, unconditional love, the vortex – the talk points of the workshops lately have been path of least resistance and unconditional love. It was cool to see it happening live and that feeling of “You can’t be sure what’s coming next,” although if you’ve been listening to Abraham for a long time, they kind of give the same message in different ways. Then they get someone in the “hot seat” and answer their questions, have segments of refreshment every hour of talking, then call on more people and do the same. That’s pretty much how the workshop goes, and that was what happened.

In regard to the uncomfortable feeling I was talking about, first of all, it seemed like everyone there had some dramatic story they overcame – as Abraham would say, “dig yourself a hole to climb into and everyone will clap when I climb out.” Left and right hearing people interact with each other, all I heard was “yeah I was having such a difficult time and then this and that happened to me and I found Abraham/angel cards/I got into my vortex and everything’s been like yeah, SO AWESOME. SO GLAD TO BE HERE. ALL IS WELL.” And “well two years ago I had this spiritual experience where these spiritual beings talked to me.” And “I had the worst time for a long time then, I realized it’s all my resistance I just gotta get into my vortex and now everything in my life is so awesome it’s just so so good. My life is so good. So good. I’m SO in the vortex all the time now, THANKS TO ABRAHAM.” – just things of this nature everywhere. I felt uncomfortable because I knew I had a broader perspective experience, but honestly, I would never share it like that. I share it lightly/generally here to contextualize, and I share it to people who seek answers. I never once during that workshop ever shared my experience, and the sharing of these things made it really strange, almost like an attempt to self-validate.

The other thing I noticed was that while Abraham was talking, people all around would be like “MMM.” “Yes.” “Yeah.” But mostly, “Mmm.” Over and over again while Abraham was talking. And it was from this  that I realized what felt so wrong about the workshop: This is what happened when I attended Christian retreats. The pastor would be talking (and I’m not Christian at all), and I’m interested to hear what he has to say, and then it needs to be interrupted by these little sounds all around me going “Mmm.” It was the singly most frustrating and annoying thing for me about attending Christian retreats. It’s as if people need to say Mmm to validate themselves and their own “beliefs” about what they “believe” in (and if you’ve studied a bug free mind, you’ll know how useless/damaging “believing” something is). The other similarity I heard during the workshop was that people would end their interactions with one another with “All is well.” It was the exact same energy as how people in the church ended sentences with “Jesus loves you.” I found these things ironic because a lot of “New Age/New Thought” community individuals condemn organized religions, especially Christianity. True, the new thought community has completely opposite premises, but I found that the energy of group, the energy of inclusive vs exclusive, the energy of us vs them, was exactly the same.

About the workshop, I never got to ask  my questions, and I was disappointed by a couple of people they did choose. I know that I would have felt the same way with what I’ve written above regardless of whether I got chosen or not. I still found the insights Abraham sharing to be wonderful messages, but the way people received them felt uncomfortable and unsettling. As an addendum, Abraham always says your question will be answered whether or not you get called up, well mine weren’t.

At the end of the day, I think what I understood from the workshop was this one really strange idea I did not consider prior to attending. When this guy asked if he could drink poison and have his body convert it to protein if he were in full alignment, Abraham asked him in the state of pure alignment, do you think you would feel inspired to drink poison? And everyone laughed, saying no. I realized by the end of the workshop that in the state of pure alignment, I personally would not be inspired to sign up and attend a workshop. I still love and listen to/read Abraham Hicks, but attending a workshop kind of felt like an older tooth-fairy experience for me. At the end of the day, words don’t teach, only experience does. It’s down to you, and I’m sure Abraham wouldn’t hesitate to endorse that one.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to attend a workshop in person, and I trust that sharing my experience can help out and give some insight to some people who consider attending Abraham Hicks workshops!

xxx,

Catt

A Cleansing Story: Pressed Juicery 3-Day Cleanse Experience

I’ve done a couple of juice cleanses in the past, and I blogged about the last one I did pretty much exactly a year ago! (Wow even I didn’t notice that until now!) Anyways that wasn’t the last cleanse I did, I did another 5 day plan by Jason Vale in the Spring of 2014. So I’m a pretty experienced cleanser. But this was the first time I ever bought a cleanse. And I did it as a gift to myself, really. Knowing how much work it takes to make the juices and clean up every day (actually, it’s pretty much the same as when you prepare regular food), I wanted to give myself a break and a gift of a hassle-free, done-for-me cleanse. Besides, I was curious to see what it was really like for myself.

I’ve been a frequent at Pressed Juicery, but I don’t go often first because while their juices are truly at what I consider a good price, it can really add up, and second because I’d always have to drive out to get to a store. So having a cleanse from them shipped to me sounded like a fantastic option! I know their product line well, I trust their juicing, so I didn’t really look further, I just picked Pressed to be my cleanse supplier.

I chose Cleanse #2, purely because Roots 3 was in it and I absolutely adore that juice. In hindsight, Cleanse #3, the more intense one with mostly green juice would have probably suited me better given that I’m an experienced juicer, but I probably would have been moping that there was no Roots 3 in it. Actually, I probably should have just created my own cleanse; I’ve never done a cleanse in this way before, so next time I will definitely be choosing my own juices!

My juices were scheduled to arrive in the morning of my first day of the cleanse. Here was my overall experience with the cleanse:

Day 1 – Starting Out Day

IMG_0205

Starting day! Excited and armed with book-inspiration!

8am – I am beyond excited for this cleanse to start, and I start off the day with a lot of positivity and picking up the book Juice, written by the founders of Pressed Juicery and gifted to me by my wonderful fiance last week when we visited Pressed Juicery at Larchmont! I also pick up Miranda Kerr’s Empower Yourself for some positive affirmations. I love the way Jason put it – don’t just cleanse your body, cleanse your mind too.

9am – I am checking my shipment tracking constantly at work. They said they would deliver at 10:30am. I was nervous because last minute I decided to ship to work because most of the juices would be consumed at work.

10:30am – No juices, and no more tracking info! What? I email Pressed but no one responded. I am starting to develop a faint-y feeling as I fill my mug up with hot water for herbal tea again. I haven’t had anything but hot herbal tea all day.

IMG_0214

A lot of herbal tea! I love pukka tea!

11am – Tracking info says juices were delivered at 10:34 to the front door. I look out the front and back door at work, nothing was there. I call home and my darling friend/roommate says “We were just trying to pull it in it’s so heavy what is it?” Yes!! I drive back home to settle the juices!

11:11am – I find a large cardboard box at the doorstep, lug it in, and open it up, finding an insulated bag with 18 bottles of pure goodness inside. I quickly put some away in the fridge and consume my first juice, Greens 2. Finally something in my system! It tastes beautifully sweet and delicious. Greens 2 is one of my favorites, I get it very often. It’s the same as Greens 3 but with no ginger. It’s a classic green juice – kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, lemon, celery, apple. It’s so refreshing and delicious

1pm – I start at my second juice, Citrus 2. Pineapple, apple, lemon, mint. I’m personally not a fan of pineapple, but this juice is delicious. However, since I’m a pretty experienced cleanser, it is slightly too sweet for me, and I had nothing but hot tea until 11am, so this was a bit heavy for me. It’s very delicious though, especially with that hint of mint at the end. What a beautiful juice.

3pm – I feel fine and I actually have no desire to eat anything, even when others around me are eating in the office. I gave all my Albertsons cookies to my colleague in the morning too. I start to worry though because there are 4 more bottles to consume in the next 6 hours. So I have my third bottle, Greens 3. It’s the same as Greens 2 but with ginger, and I love ginger. But I have to say Greens 2 has the cleaner/smoother taste! I love Greens 3 a lot though.

4:30pm – I pull out Roots 3 so that I’m making progress on these. I’m not hungry at all and I drink it over a period of time. Roots 3 was the reason why I chose this cleanse over the other one. The ginger taste in Roots 3 is very strong – you can almost feel the heat! But it’s also a really sweet juice, as it has beet and apple in it. It’s pretty much a spicy (in the ginger way!) lemonade. Roots 3 is a truly delightful juice. I’m feeling pretty full at this point, and it’s time to go home.

6pm – I have my lemon cayenne water, which is much lighter than the other juices. It’s spicer than I’ve made my lemon cayenne water! I’m not a big fan of cayenne, but this “juice” feels so hydrating and was much welcomed.

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Snuggling in my pjs and my delicious lovely almond milk!

7:30pm – I finish the day with my favorite “juice” of all (although it’s not the one I buy most often) – vanilla almond milk. Oh what a creamy dreamy. I love this juice so much. I love making vanilla almond milk myself – I actually make pretty much the same thing (almond, dates, vanilla bean) – and it tastes pretty darn delicious. But it takes time to make, and again there’s something sooo luxurious about doing this whole thing handed to me.

10pm – I mix two tablespoons of George’s Aloe Vera liquid (I got it at the Vitamin Shoppe, decided to skip on the chlorophyll) with a cup of water, and consume it slowly. I am a happy camper going to bed.

Day 2 – Detox Symptoms Day

7am – I woke up and focused myself to a good feeling place like I usually do. I made some hot water with basil, apple cider vinegar, lemon, and honey. I go for a run outside and realize its really warm – the Santa Ana Winds! I feel good taking a run, but nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary really. Nor does it feel bad for me to take a run while cleansing. I take my first juice on the go to work.

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Consuming my juices at work

Mid-day – I don’t feel hungry at all, and it’s really around every 2 hours or so you get your next juice, so you’re never really far from your next juice which is really cool. However I do have the feeling of “how much longer is this going to be?” I feel annoyed because I know I love doing this and I know I love juice! What’s more is I know I love love LOVE the feeling I have after I do a cleanse. But I definitely have some of these thoughts. To top it off, my boss’ wife is microwaving this delicious smelling yummy curry in the microwave. Food cravings – noo!!

Late afternoon – I can’t deny that I’m craving food and thinking of food! I tell myself it’s a 3 day cleanse – I’ve done 5 day no problem! But I’ve done another 3 day cleanse and I actually think they’re kind of more difficult because you think it’s only 3 days! When it’s a 5 day cleanse, it feels like a full week and you have to prepare yourself for that much more. When it’s a 3 day cleanse, you’re like oh it’s just 3 days come on, and then it feels like more work! Isn’t that strange?

9pm – Just finished my last delicious vanilla almond juice, but I cannot say I am not experiencing some detox symptoms. Mild headache, but I’m thinking because I’m staring at the computer screen way too long (I really have to find a way to stop doing that). And I am tired. Like. Pooped tired. And I keep feeling a need to burp. A lot of it, and I’m scared of burping some almond milk out. Going to bed early for sure. I consume two tablespoons of Aloe vera liquid with a cup of water.

Day 3 – Juice High Day!

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My final juice day! I loved it so much!

Morning – I went to bed at around 9:30pm, but got up a few times at midnight with a pounding headache and went to the bathroom. When I opened my eyes, oh my gosh! I felt like I was born again with a new baby body or something! Everything feels fresh and clean and exciting! Wow what an en-lightening feeling! I also notice my skin looks so great! I definitely see a noticeable improvement – it looks smoother and brighter, and I am so stoked for this. I really thought all these raves about delivered juice cleanses were just for raving, but boy do I really notice a difference! My headache is miles away, and I truly feel fantastic. I think the fact that I didn’t need to make any of these juices myself really took a piece of stress away for me and it was so free-ing and joyful!

Evening  – I still feel wonderful and I’m finishing up my last juice now. I can’t believe it’s done! Although I am excited to have solid foods again. One thing I noticed on Jason’s cleanses was that I really started craving really healthy foods, whereas right now I could kind of do with any food. It might have been the 5-day difference though where I had to put my mind to it more than just a 3-day cleanse. I really feel light and wonderful and it feels like I’m a baby again! What a fantastic feeling!

Day 4 – Post-cleanse

Wow do I ever feel regenerated! The “on” switch is still there, and I feel fantastic. I’m probably going to get a juice or a salad for lunch, but we’ll see. I truly feel rejuvanted and like my body is fresh and new again! I’m not craving ANY junkie druggie foods at all, although perhaps something savory like a salad. What Jason calls the “junkie food terrorist” has been once again, staved off! I feel so powerful and alive that I know this is the start of a truly wonderful “new year”! (a bit late but hey 🙂 )

And an added bonus, I’m 3 pounds lighter in 3 days!

This cleanse has truly been a wonderful experience. Being able to have this experience has been such a beautiful thing, and I really want to harness it as a launching pad for eating clean again, which I kind of let go of for a while (I wasn’t eating junky really, but I started eating a lot). I want to be blogging about that too, maybe sharing some recipes here and there. And also sharing some lovely things for teens and pre-teens, now that I’m coaching them! (See connect with me to see more details for that!) I think it may be time for me to revamp this blog and launch it off anew the way I did with my body through this cleanse!

Thank you, Pressed Juicery! I will definitely be doing this again someday, and sharing it with people I love! ❤

Gratitude

“The beautiful thing about the mind is that we can always change it.” – Lisa Guyman

It has been a pretty long time since I’ve posted, and really because I didn’t really feel there was anything to post for a while. I found myself wondering about what I would post if I were to post, and I come back to gratitude. I feel like it’s really all you ever really need to figure it out, as most anything I write about is related to gratitude in some way.

I used to do gratitude in an extremely egotistical way. Not because I was a nasty person or anything, I was just insecure about myself and felt that this was how to gain confidence. I would write things that I was grateful for that were very judgmental and hinged on the fact that others did not have the same privileges and advantages as I did. Which, I suppose, is a step up from complaining about everything. I also didn’t really do it so consistently. Sometimes whenever I sat down to ‘do gratitude’ it was kind of like a gratitude purge – just get it all out because everything is points. (I started doing gratitude after hearing it being touted by so many personal development programs as the way to bring more in your life and manifest your desires, and ooo boy did I want to bring more STUFF in my life, so I better get going on this gratitude stuff!)

Of course that never lasts. For me it lasted a little less than two months before the blowing event hit the fan, then I had to reconstitute the shattered little parts of me together again. But during that time, it was a constant stress and struggle of how to get the best be the best do the best best best best best best..all just based on how far I could see. I thought that I would have to get the best in the environment I’m in now, then jump to the next group and get the best in that, then jump to the next group until I got to the top. Well I’m genuinely grateful things don’t work out that way!

I started doing a gratitude journal seriously for the first time when I arrived in Milan two years ago. I had been trying to do it for a while, but something magical about being in Milan helped me that time. It wasn’t just because I was in Milan. A large part of it was that, but in actuality, it was how much I had yearned, really yearned, from a young age to be in Europe and see Europe that it instantly shifted me into a more genuine grateful attitude. The other thing was I had no distractions. I didn’t feel pressure in any of the ways I used to – no friends/social pressure, no family pressure. I was in a different place and living with a different family, making it a lot easier for me to focus on gratitude and appreciation. Of course, I could have chosen the route to attempt to keep up with the new social group obsessively and complain about the family I was living with, but thanks to the blowing event that hit the fan, I didn’t take that path.

The gratitude journal entries I did during that time still inspire me when I read them. I got a little wacky and out there, but all for fun. I was also using it as an affirmation and I gave thanks for a lot of things that had not yet come to pass, notably a romantic relationship based on my own self-love and feminine energy.

Here is an example of an entry I had:

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As you can see, even though that day I wasn’t having the best day and apparently had a lot of feelings of neediness, I was practicing an art – an art of self-love, an art of appreciating who and where I am no matter where that may be. Because we’re never going to get it done, so at any given point there can be a comparison where in some way it may seem like something negative. But that doesn’t mean it is, and it definitely doesn’t mean the mind needs to get caught onto it. I love the quote from Kamal Ravikant’s book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, where he says something along the lines of “It’s your mind. You can do whatever you want with it.”

In my experience, gratitude is the first step in improving your life, getting into spirituality, upgrading your attitude, or whatever positive change it is you seek to create. Think about it – can anything be positive if you’re not grateful for it? The thing about gratitude is it’s really like magic – better things start happening to you. And that’s not because the same crap happens to you and you learn to see it in a different way. That’s part of it, but it’s more of the ripple effect of where you choose to put your attention. There are crappy things you can put your attention on and there are wonderful things you can put your attention on. When you put your attention on the wonderful things, yes you start seeing the crappy things in a better light, but more wonderful things start moving towards you. It’s magic!

It may take a while, but if you’re in the ready space to do it, you get the feeling, you invite it in daily…I guarantee you that it will change you and your life forever.

Why not start a gratitude journal yourself today?

 

Grateful for you,

Catt