Three Books I Read This Year

It’s the halfway mark month of the year, and this year has been flying by like no other. With that said, I’ve also accomplished much more than I have this year than in any other year. I think part of it has to do with having pushed myself to be out there a lot more, but another part is just the level of focus I’ve been giving to the things that matter. When it comes to survival, you really want to be on the right side of all of it. It’s been a great experience so far.

One thing that has been wonderfully different this year is that I finished reading some books. I used to be in the middle of at least fifty different books – and I still am – but I could hardly recount finishing just one book at the end of a year. I would also attribute part of this bad habit to the writers as well – they seem to get tired about the three-quarters way of the book, and the writing and focus gets fuzzy, repetitive, and unclear. I found it hard to get through most of the books I read this year as well because of that.

With that said, I still got through three important books this year that I really loved and wanted to share, in the order of having completed them.

 

The first book I finished reading this year is Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. It’s a popular book and has a lot of controversy because of him as a person. Placing any political views aside and avoiding taking sides on the personal attacks people made on him, I really found his book helpful at this point in my life to read and absorb. I’ve actually begun re-reading it as well, because I enjoyed especially the first few chapters a lot.

Peterson gives us twelve guidelines to follow for living life – I would describe it as what he calls a righteous life, one that can have a greater meaning beyond oneself. I absolutely loved this idea from the first moment I came into contact with it, because prior to that, I thought my life was about being happy. By the time I got to this book, I was pretty much sold on the fact that a life well-lived was nothing to do with being happy,

I was first introduced to this author by a friend of mine who shared a video clip of Peterson speaking about how we shouldn’t make it a goal to shelter and protect our children. It was a new idea for me, as I thought a lot about how I would protect my kid growing up, not realizing that the feathered nest is the most dangerous nest of all.

I observed people who shelter their kid – making sure the kid feels encouraged about everything, they protecting the kid, and finding reasons to not bring them outside or do certain things. I observed other people doing exactly the opposite – let the kid go out and live, get hurt, make his/her own mistakes, and see how they learn from them. I have ambivalent feelings toward this. On one hand, I felt like lack of loving encouragement creates a lot of issues for people growing up, but at the same time, I feel even more uncomfortable with the level of nurturing support some people demonstrate to their kids.

I don’t have a clear answer for it, but I can say that I do feel more comfortable with the idea of letting the kid make his/her own mistakes, and handling my own insecurities and fears around letting my kid be off on their own and leaving the nest. I would hope to be able to allow as much hand-letting-go as possible at any point of development for the kid, while passing on the best principles and values I can. But my ideas may change as I approach that time as well, and it will have a lot to do with my partner and how we choose to raise kids as well.

Anyways, back to the book – I gained a lot from the discourse in the book related to the principle I just laid out: is life about being happy and joyful, or is it about a kind of shouldering the darkness through the sacred act of responsibility? Through a series of events in my life over the past few years, I came to realize that the world isn’t a happy place to be in, and that the sooner I accepted that, the sooner I could change that in better ways. I had the deep blessing of developing a strong spiritual connection early on in my life, and with this, I gained a curse of believing the world was a friendly place to be in – naively stumbling into horrible situations and not being able to comprehend at all what was wrong, refusing to give up the “friendly universe” paradigm. One of the graces and most important lessons I received from the difficult experiences is that the world is a dark, harsh place where evil does exist and operate – no, it’s not just the ‘absence of the light,’ it’s a real physical force that causes a lot of destruction.

The solution to my paralysis came in the form of spiritual direction, as well as Jordan B. Peterson’s insights. Investing my time, money, and energy into studying this book was a real lifesaver as I moved into unchartered territory and had to work to let go of everything I gained from before, starting from nothing as much as possible. I would not be here without the principles laid out in this book, and I am really glad I read this book this year.

 

Second book – Love from Heaven, by Lorna Byrne. This book is a really, really simple read, but it also turned out to be really meaningful and impactful for me. Lorna’s approach is a lot more in line with ‘the universe is a friendly place’ idea, but I was more focused on the way I personally was impacted through the reading of the book.

My greatest takeaway from this book is that love is an unseen, physical force that for whatever reason, Lorna can visibly see. The way she described many cases of people loving or not loving themselves, what that looks like in the nonphysical realm, what the angels say about it – all of it helped me to personify and physicalize the concept of love to me as a force I could remind myself of each and every day. I already do have strong faith in Love and Power, but this book served as an important reminder of that to myself, and helped me to release more of the love I have. I prayed a lot throughout the reading of this book, as well as with 12 Rules, and was guided back to the love that resides within me, and how I could apply it to many areas of my life. I was also brought to this book after setting an intention of knowing I am love, so it was a beautiful weaving of the manifesting of that intention.

 

The final book I finished reading this year (so far) is Give Up to Get On, by Peg Streep and Alan Bernstein. This book was one that was jumping out at me when I saw it, and I’m so glad I picked it up and read through the whole thing. Like the other two books, at times it got repetitive, but the message was so crucially important. The authors write about how we live in a culture where persistence and pulling through is encouraged, and quitting is discouraged, but there are serious downsides to this approach. From early on in the book, the ‘wrong ways to quit’ were also detailed – so it was clear that this isn’t a case of giving up whenever you encounter something difficult. Rather, it is more about the idea of properly disengaging with goals that do not work for us, so that we can set different goals that are in alignment with who we are. It shares a lot of psychological experiments on the subject which shed light on the illusion that we didn’t make something happen because we aren’t good enough – a pervasive cultural myth.

One of my greatest takeaways from this book was in a section that discussed the difference between a ‘state-oriented’ individual and an ‘action-oriented’ individual. I definitely fall into the ‘state-oriented’ type of individual – one that can get paralyzed by an exterior situation inducing a specific state in us (as well as easily uplifted by an exterior event), and those who are state-oriented find it very difficult to quit situations that are not good for us. It has a lot to do with childhood rearing and the level of attachment and security a child feels growing up. ‘Action-oriented’ people, on the other hand tend to move on pretty quickly from one situation to another through applying action and not getting stymied by their state.

I identified my sister to be much more action-oriented than I was – certain things that our parents would say to us wouldn’t affect her as much as it would affect me, and she seemed to go out and do things without too much trouble, whereas I would plan, prep myself emotionally and mentally, then go do it – maybe, depending on my state at the time. She on the other hand, tends to prep herself physically a little, and then just goes out to do it. I found the revealing of my type of orientation to exterior events to be very helpful, as being aware of it helped remind me it wasn’t something I should let stop me, only to be aware of the kind of person I am and help me move through things as they came along.

State-oriented people, by the way, enjoy deeper connection with those around them because we tend to share our feelings and open up to a deeper dimension. This is definitely true of me, so there’s so much good to it as well, as long as we learn how to manage these tendencies and develop ourselves accordingly.

So those are the three books I read and finished this year so far. I’m currently reading a couple others, and it does help that I usually have a commute when I get myself around in the city. I presume it will be more difficult later on to be able to spend so much time reading – as I have a partner and kids and what not – so I’m intent on making the best use of my time now to enjoy what I have.

Let me know if you get a chance to read any of these books, and what you think of them. I’m excited to read more this year and get a major dent going on in my reading list.

Love,

Okinawa trip, and the fragility of life

In November last year, I took a trip with my mom to Okinawa to visit her older sister, who lives there. From when I was young, living in San Jose, I remember receiving large boxes from my Japanese aunt (she is Taiwanese, but married to a Japanese) with goodies from Japan, especially the Shiroi Koibito White Chocolate Langues de Chat biscuits from Hokkaido. I always had such a fond impression of my aunt, Japan, and Asia, even before I had ever visited, and always felt close to the Japanese culture.

I had gone to Okinawa ten years before, in 2008. That trip, we went as a family and visited all the tourist attractions, as a vacation – beaches, hotel resorts, food, museums, and sea caves. My fondest memory that trip was having “sea grapes” – a green algae seaweed that pops like champagne grapes with fresh sea water when you eat them. And of course, Kokuto – delectable brown sugar produced from a slow-boil heating of raw sugar cane juice from Okinawa. It’s truly a wonderful place.

But my intention this time wasn’t to enjoy these pleasures, even though I did. It was to accept the fragility of life, and see the strength and grace that comes in holding the truth of our mortality.

 

Intentions and the Unfolding of Life

My primary intention for the Year of the Dog was to reinstate my faith in God. The Year of the Dog Chinese New Year dinner was the last dinner we had with my paternal grandmother. It’s still difficult for me to think about it, because while we didn’t get along personality-wise, she was genuinely a good person. And when a genuinely good person leaves this planet, you feel a light go out.

Along with that hardship my parents and I went through for two years in Taipei, an unexpectedly high number of other irreversible illnesses came up in my extended family. It made us all feel quite vulnerable, and changed a lot for my cousins and parents.

That I had made this my primary intention and stuck fiercely to my commitment and decision really tested me that year, but it became foundational to the path I’m on today. What I experienced from the past year was that life is very fragile, regardless of what you believe about illnesses and disease. While I believe that there is a lot we can do to improve ourselves and our lives, I also came to hold true that we don’t control anything. Our Soul has its nature, and we do not have command over that, nor can we prevent something in our contract. I had to learn to not judge the path of another, no matter what, and instead, to trust the path laid out before me, living with a higher integrity for my actions and staying focused in this direction.

 

Strive to Live with Integrity

Going to Okinawa this time, I wanted to visit my aunt before I left Taiwan, and enjoy my time with people while they’re still around. To appreciate them for who they are, to learn not to judge, and to experience how I could be of a greater light in people’s lives while we’re all still here. I found that the single greatest accomplishment we can strive for is to live in the highest integrity we can, as this will affect everything that happens in your future. And never, ever even think you can get away with anything – you can’t.

Over the year, I dropped a lot of dead weight around youthful diversions and things that do not truly matter when looking through a longer time frame. Death and disease really puts those things in perspective for you. I started asking myself if my decisions today would lead me to who I wanted to be in years’ time, and whether what I did today would make those who taught me my principles proud of my character. I began to look for orient myself in ways that could make my life more meaningful, and I stopped feeling cheated out of my integrity by others.

This quiet trip to Okinawa really helped see how much I changed from ten months prior, and it definitely felt good to me. A lot of grace goes into decisions like that, and I’m truly humbled to be a recipient of it, and pray to honor it in every step along my path.

 

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.

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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.

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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

The Grass is Always Greener..Where You Water It!

I’ve talked to a lot of people in the past few years I’ve been traveling a lot. No matter where I go, someone is jealous about somewhere I’ve been. It’s true – travel has been a big part of my life. And not just travel, I’ve lived in some of these amazing places for periods of time. It’s actually kind of funny for me because it’s not a big deal for me to travel and “see the world,” but I always find myself in amazing places people dream of traveling to.

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Tuscan vineyard

Taipei city at night

Taipei city at night

I grew up in Taiwan, but always identified myself as more of an American when I was growing up, and wished I lived in the US instead. The worst part was that I read Seventeen magazine, and all those products and outfits that made the girls so pretty were…only available in North America. I’d try to find a replacement products, but smoothing serum and 3-way colour smear was just not a thing in Taiwan at the time. I was a typical sucker for marketing and what’s worse (or probably good when I look back) was that everything was 10,000 kilometres away from me.

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street food, the best food 🙂

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Southern California

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Jiu Fen in Taiwan

Even though I’ve weaned off those needs, I still find myself wishing I had certain things that aren’t available where I am, no matter where I am. When I am in Taiwan, like I said, shopping for products and outfits isn’t so easy, nor are accessories that are popular in the US, like bose headsets or whatever. When I am in the US, I wish I had the food and the public transportation in Taiwan and Italy, and little products in Taiwan that make things so wonderful, like authentic teas and can openers that make sense. And I can’t forget how cheap and available everything at the computer market in Taiwan is, and how much easier that makes my life. Cooking also isn’t as exciting in the US as it is in Italy; I’m not sure why but pasta I cook always tastes better in Italy, even when I bring it from Italy to the US. When I’m in Italy, I find that the fresh produce selection for my juicing and blending is not as wide and varied as in the US or in Taiwan, and there’s no Trader Joe’s, the saddest part about anywhere that doesn’t have Trader Joe’s.

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I love Italian balconies

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delicious street foods from Taiwan

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Aosta valley in Italy

The grass seems always greener on the other side because when we’re on this side, it’s our vantage point and our perspective. But as I’ve experienced, the grass is really never greener on the other side. Maybe in some ways it can be, and it’s definitely a personal preference thing, but it’s never actually greener. What’s greener is what you water.

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When I was in Italy the first time, I didn’t notice that I didn’t have kale and hearts of romaine lettuce. I was noticing that the buildings were the most gigantic gorgeous structures I’ve seen in my entire life! And the food – the food! I’d always been spoiled with amazingly good food in Taiwan, but this was the best food from a totally different cuisine that was just to live for. I loved hearing Italian. It was music to my ears, and the best part was I couldn’t understand it so I couldn’t understand whether someone was complaining and stomping on beautiful Italian grass or not – it all sounded great to me!

The only time I really changed and really felt true pure joy in my life wasn’t from moving to another perfect place and then bam everything fell in place for me. It was the first time I was in Italy, where I was constantly watering and my grass was growing so green, so lush, so abundantly wonderful. I finally “got” the Law of Attraction and experienced it positively firsthand. Everything I was thinking and desiring was coming into my reality in a matter of minutes, and I remember the exhilaration of being so in tune with what the world was offering me because I had (semi-)consciously and deliberately tuned myself to that which I love and appreciate. The grass is always greener where you water it, I know it to be true from my personal experience. And what is the water? I think it’s best described as appreciation, which I achieved through the conscious practice of gratitude. It’s definitely a concept that is worth thinking about and that changed my life, because it’s never greener on the other side – only where you decide to water it. My wish is for me and everyone else to experience the appreciation we innately have of the world and experience what magic that can do for our lives, and that everyone may see how much there really is out there to explore and experience.

Happy Watering,

Catt xxx

It’s Summer! Time for Fresh Books and Reading Lists!

It’s that time of the year again – summer. Which means people are out enjoying time on the beach and warmer weather to be outside..which means more reading? 🙂 I’d like to think so. I always had to force myself to read no matter what genre, until I discovered personal development (I know). The other kinds of books I loved were those “child/young adult psychology” books that have a fictional story but from the perspective of a very real and relatable person (which would pertain specifically to me I suppose, but I loved reading from all different characters’ perspectives). I wanted to share some of my summer reading books that I completely have not started yet (I have at least 30 I’m in the middle of), and then recommend a few of my top picks if anyone was interested in some books that I loved!

Catt’s Summer Reading List

  1. The Astonishing Power of Emotions (Esther and Jerry Hicks)
    I just love the books of Abraham, Esther, and Jerry. They’re always great reminders and I’ve been reading loads of their books. While they’re all a little similar, the repetition is really helpful for me. I’m really looking forward to solidifying my knowing by reading this book and getting in tune with my emotions!
  2. Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus (John Gray)
    It’s pretty old but it’s a classic isn’t it? I’m also going to be reading David Deida which I have also personally enjoyed immensely, but I’m in the middle of a bunch of those. Relationships take maintenance, but it should be enjoyable maintenance. I’m putting this one in my list of books because I really want to be better at what I know I can do.
  3. Sara Book 2: Solomon’s Fine Featherless Friends (Esther and Jerry Hicks)
    I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while since I enjoyed the first book so much! I loved the first book, so I’m curious to see what the second book is going to be talking about!
  4. Juice Yourself Slim (Jason Vale)
    Since I’ve been juicing for almost two years now, I want to get into this book as well which includes some soups! No time to try making soups like when I have a kitchen in Italy 🙂 I also want to have a fresh perspective on juicing again, which I’m hoping this book will do. It’s also so pretty so I’m excited to read it!
  5. Thoughts Without Cigarettes (Oscar Hijuelos)
    A graduation gift from one of my fondest friends during my college career. I think I’m going to enjoy this one I’m really excited!

 

Catt’s Top Picks

  1. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It (Kamal Ravikant)
    Can’t do anything without this. I feel disappointed when I see so many of those 1-star comments on amazon because it meant they didn’t get the amazing message of this fantastic book. It was everything I had been asking for. I was in therapy for months asking and checking in on how I could love myself. I would say three to four months later I came across this book and finally made it happen for the first time in this life consciously. I have to be honest it’s been hard to repeat for me recently but I know I’ll be ready when I’m ready. When you’re ready to love yourself and you’ve truly been asking for the sake of your true heart’s desire, this book will break all the barriers. I’ve read this book at least six times (it’s very short).
  2. Sara Book 1: Sara Learns the Secret About the Law of Attraction (Esther and Jerry Hicks)
    I laughed and cried and felt sooo connected when I read this fantastic book. It was written in the kind of child-psychology fiction books I discussed before but it actually teaches you the principles of the Law of Attraction. I love this book so much and hold it very dear to me. It is a beautifully written book and it answered my questions about clarifying the Law of Attraction. I read this book twice already and don’t mind to read it again!
  3. Slim4Life: Freedom From the Food Trap (Jason Vale)
    This book is also on my summer reading list since I only read it once! It is an amazing book, you’ll never look at food the same way again, and it’s not weird or hokey or try this new diet weird crap. It’s really logical, though not all of the arguments are sound (Jason sometimes comes up with some weird arguments and I can’t remember the ones from this book, but Jason, the vegan large land animal argument is not good enough take it out of 5lbs in 5days!), they make you realize that the justification we’ve been having in our heads about food and exercise are certainly not sound either. It’s a whole new approach to looking at food and it changed me forever. It got me serious about juicing! I have to read it again though since I’ve been eating a lot of things I don’t want recently but have been craving. I read this book once only, but I remember how much I enjoyed it.
  4. Conversations with God, Book 1 (Neale Donald Walsch)
    This book really changed everything for me. I always “believed” in the principles it shared before I discovered them. I would argue for the exact arguments God would present to Neale in life in general before I read this book. I was always missing the last bits and pieces though, they never seemed to be expressed properly by me. Until I found this book and read it. It changed me, as I have very little religious/spiritual background aside from self-improvement. I didn’t know what spirituality meant, and I had no concept of God. This book was a major turning point in my life, and it is beautiful. Paradoxes that make complete sense and clarity to the questions I had been asking. Classic. I’ve read this book 5 times already and plan to read it again. I literally could not put the book down in each reread I’ve done. Thank you Neale, thank you!
  5. Just Ask the Universe (Michael Samuels)
    I bought this book for my fiance’ as a present because I enjoyed it so much! It’s a pretty short book and I feel like Michael had a similar experience to many people who write off personal development as airy-fairy woo-woo stuff. I had a lot of similar thoughts as Michael too – just general doubts and skepticism until I experienced something for the first time in my life. Michael writes beautifully and honestly about his experience with the Law of Attraction and how he achieved his dream life with a personal development program by Tony Robbins when he was at his lowest. It’s a truly inspiring read and gets you to start asking! I’ve read this twice so I’d like to read it again also.
  6. A Simple Act of Gratitude (John Kralik)
    Jumping off the last one, I just remembered this beautiful book. I was trying to order it off amazon and I could not find a suitable seller for me. Then I went to the Barnes and Noble and would you guess it was in the only section I look in – the discount book section. Sitting right there, pretty and hardcover. Wow, what an amazing book. Truly, truly inspirational. I started writing my own thank you letters after that although I felt his were always more magical than mine. I personally didn’t get the same experience from writing Thank you notes – I have some weird energy around them even though I did give them a go! 🙂 – but I did go back to my gratitude practices and it allowed me improve my life a lot. If you ever wondered why gratitude even matters and think its just for hippies and ignorant optimists, READ THIS BOOK it will change you. I’ve read this book just once, but once was enough for me..I still feel the goosebumps as I type now when I think of how magical and beautiful the story is.

 

Some other books I’m definitely re-reading or finishing up and highly recommend!

  • Success with a Positive Mental Attitude (Napoleon Hill&W. Clement Stone) – been halfway through this since the beginning of the school year!
  • Creating my Dream Body (Tris Satori) – Just finished reading this fantastic book! It’s the foundations for creating a body you love forever and I am going through it a second time to get all the exercises down!
  • Have the Relationship You Want (Rori Raye) – read this twice already but slip up often on its powerful principles.
  • You Can Heal Your Life (Louise Hay) – I’ve actually been in the middle of this one for a while as well, but I really like it too!
  • CWG Book 2, CWG Book 3, Friendship with God, and Communion with God (Neale Donald Walsch) – beautiful books I’ve read each once and CWG2 twice, could definitely use re-reads!
  • The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle) – another classic I’ve only read once!
  • Frequency (Penney Pierce) – I have been reading this book for SO long and haven’t yet finished it even though it’s so good!
  • The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (Carolyn Mackler) – one of the classics for me I absolutely loved and changed my life growing up. I also loved two of her other books, Vegan, Virgin, Valentine and Guyaholic. I’ve read her books so many times and it’s always an adventure.
  • One Square Inch (Claudia Mills) – an amazingly beautiful book..mine is in Taipei unfortunately but it was a gift I received as well and I loved it..heartbreaking but so touching. I am feeling goosebumps remembering it as well 🙂
  • Ask and it is Given and The Law of Attraction (Esther and Jerry Hicks) – classics. I’ve read Ask and It Is Given twice and loved it..I love how there are 22 processes in the book that you can use to help you no matter where you are! And I am enjoying The Law of Attraction right now these days.

There are actually so many more books on my list..I know this is why I don’t finish them often haha but I just love remembering the Truths about who we are! I know there’s something for everyone when we embrace these truths. Luckily I have so much fun and joy reading these things! What books are you reading for the summer?

Happy Reading!

-Catt xxx