Musings on Bullshit


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“I don’t have a short temper. I just have a quick reaction to bullshit.”

Recently, I have had to activate this reflex quite often. Lots of bullshit flying around and thrown at me in my work and living spheres. But I do apologize to the real bullshit… Piles of it decorate the paths in my village quite often and I just love the unmistakable smell of grass in the manure, not to mention the wonderful sights of the cow family: Cow-Family-2

Forest Gump has said, “Life is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re going to get.” Well, having lived quite a good number of years now, I can say that below that layer of chocolate is often a hidden layer of shit! But what you’re going to do with it will determine what kind of person you will turn out to be.

I like what Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of “Eat Pray Love,” has said: “The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.”

Female Heroes

I admire this no-frills and honest way of looking at life. Some people choose to look at life through rose-colored glasses. They choose to focus on the roses and ignore the existence of the thorns. Well, they may not see the thorns but the danger of being pricked remains. Does the shift of focus reduce the chance of being pricked? I don’t think so. The beauty of roses are accentuated by the perils they are born with. Likewise, life is exciting and worth living not only because it is filled with endless diversities of wonders but also because it contains an equal number of challenges that allow us to appreciate the beauty of the opposite spectrum in a much deeper way.

So the recent sleuth of shit I have stumbled on has helped me stretch my mental and emotional muscles. Hopefully the “grace” part that Gilbert mentioned will follow.


Never Give up Dreaming!


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Don't Give Up on Your Dreams

I love this post by fellow meditator Brian B Baker so much. It comes at exactly the perfect timing. I have just quit my job without another “real job” lined up. I am done being deluded by society’s ploy to lure us into slavery. I have been lied to by my parents since I was a teenager, that I should not pursue my dream of becoming an artist, because being an artist would not bring me food and shelter.

Yes, I am angry. Not just angry at being lied to, but most angry at myself that I wasn’t stronger to believe in my own dreams.

“I am so angry with myself because I cannot do what I should like to do,” Van Gogh wrote in a letter as he tussled with mental illness. While he started his career as a painter quite “late” in life, he did make a career out of it (regardless of whether he made any money from it or not—the sole standard by which today’s folks judge a person’s success).

After decades of working at jobs that didn’t speak to my soul and fulfill my heart’s desires, I have been burnt out multiple times and feeling under-appreciated and unfulfilled, not to mention having millions of my cells killed by obnoxious and stupid bosses and toxic work environments.

Now I have decided to take a leap in the dark with a kind of “blind faith” for my own dreams. Yes, I do have my dreams alive and burning. I have so many creative ideas and desire to fulfill each one of them.

I appreciate the extra nudge given to me in Brian’s post—it is a reminder that we alone and our dreams are enough, because there is nothing more real that this.

“We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Cited article:

The Lie of Chasing Your Dreams


What Children and Nature Teach us about Optimism


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A lot of what we believe to be a misfortune actually is a result not of our own doing but of our own thinking. Take a rainy day for example. Years of experience of inconvenience, discomfort and even sickness resulting from being exposed to the rain has ingrained in our minds that it is something to dread or dislike.

But look at a preschooler. She would feel so excited about it because she can finally have a chance to put on her rain boots and play with the rain, enjoying the wonderful splashes she creates by stepping hard into the puddles! Rain is just another occasion for play! When you look at how inventive a child’s reactions to life’s predicaments can be, maybe you’ll think differently about your own problems in life.

“Kayden + Rain,” video by from Nicole Byon
In this video, the toddler experiences rain for the first time in her life. To her, rain is not a “problem” but something marvelous—nothing short of a miracle!

Yes, much of what makes us unhappy or pessimistic, is indeed caused by how we approach a problem—based on our unpleasant or painful memories from the past. This subconscious “mental programming” is built into our survival instinct so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over, such as touching something burning hot. However, the working of this subconscious mechanism—a kind of mental deductionism, when used in a conscious way to predict or judge a situation, may or may not serve us every single time. In a positive way, we call what we have distilled from past experiences “wisdom.” In a negative way, the feeling of “once bitten, twice shy” sometimes overshadows the opportunities that actually exist out there.

Our process of growing up and social conditioning very often takes the sap out of our natural-born optimism. And when we let the habit of concluding that something “is always like that” obscure our creative problem-solving instinct, we start to attract more and more bad luck, because that is exactly what we expect to see and nothing else. Many of you have heard of the Law of Attraction. Well, this is one way to explain how it works.

It’s sad that both our collective and individual conditioning has taken away our natural gifts—the gift to see miracles in the mundane, to find a solution to each and every situation. It is sad indeed, that we have simply stopped to believe… in ourselves. To put a spark back into our lives, to find courage again when we face seemingly insurmountable problems, we need to unlearn all of the conditioning that we are somehow stuck with our obstacles.

Take a look at what Nature does. A tree, being bound by a hard wall or concrete around its roots, would continue to grow anyhow, extending its roots farther and deeper and sometimes resulting in a truly ingenious work of art! Amassing resources no matter how impossible the situation is—that is something that all of us have the ability to do. But we also need to have faith that it can be done—just as trees do—and give it time to work. This is what “trusting the process” really means. “Miracles” do not always happen as soon as you swipe the magic wand! Of course, if helps if you have access to such a wand 😉

Photo taken by question_ev3rything on reddit Spotted in Guangzhou, China

Photo taken by question_ev3rything on reddit
Spotted in Guangzhou, China

Recently I have watched quite a few Shirley Temple clips. Hers is an amazing spirit that has given hope to so many souls during one of the most difficult periods of human history (the Great Depression and WW2), and continues to do so even today. In one of her many television interviews, she talked about the reason why she had stopped making movies—that she had had enough of the “make-believe” world. But I don’t think we, as the audience, can ever be tired of such a world. The world of art and beauty serves to inspire us to the idealism of life. True, such a world may not exist in the lives of most of us, but it inspires us of what is possible, and it puts us in a good mood, which in turn attracts joyfulness and—miracles.

Let me end this post with a delightful song by Shirley Temple, “Be Optimistic.” Enjoy!

2014 in Review

2014 is a watershed in my life on so many fronts. Not counting the sudden increase of the silver strands of wisdom on my head, the surgery I had to remove uterine fibroids was a major event that served to awaken me spiritually. Several of my blogs in the past year were devoted to what I had learned through the ordeal—which, in hindsight, was a blessing in disguise. The article, “The Spiritual Lesson My Illness Gave Me,” turns out to the most popular one, and I’m so glad I wrote it, as it serves as a wonderful reminder of the journey I have gone through and what it has meant and will continue to mean to me. I have explored several subjects related to pain, both physical and emotional, and haven’t put down all my insights due to the lack of time. I should say that so far, my experience of extreme physical and emotional pain has led me to ways out of this pain—not through escape but through going through and transcending it. And the journey itself, though unpleasant, was worth it. It was worth it because it was a most human experience. It humbled me. It made me feel that I was, after all, alive. And though a cliché now, I must say that I agree totally with Nietzsche’s statement: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog. Here are the stats. Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Don’t Give Up!

I have seen this image on Facebook and loved it… now I’ve found it again on a blog, so I decided to reblog it and share it with you and use it as a reminder for myself. The message can’t be better illustrated. Just when you’re about to give up, that’s when you need to make the effort to walk—or dig—the last mile!


Blogging, writing, entrepreneur-ing, parenting, studying, hoping.
never give up

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Afterthoughts of the Ice Bucket Challenge


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There has been such a sleuth of Ice Bucket Challenge videos floating around on social media over the past month that I’d like to share with you my own reflections on this phenomenon.

I applaud all the brave souls in the world who have taken upon the challenge, especially those who have done it with style and intelligence.

I also admire the ballet dancers who took the challenge with unusual and amazing moves:

Ashley Bouder of New York City Ballet continued doing fouette turns in her tutu after being dumped with the ice bucket

Lindsi Dec of Pacific Northwest Ballet did two graceful arabesques en pointe when showered with an avalanche of ice water

After all that’s said and done, and when the bruhaha has died down, perhaps we can take a step back to look at what really lies behind the challenge.

First, it’s good to get an idea of what ALS is and how a person with ALS lives from day to day. Here is a video of a young man, Anthony Carbajal, who was recently diagnosed with ALS and who took that challenge with a great sense of humor. He explains how three generations in his family have been diagnosed with this debilitating condition and shows how hard everyday life is:

There are environmental-minded people who feel that dumping ice water on one’s head is a waste of precious water resources. So why not just donate the money directly?

Hollywood star Matt Damon has chosen to face the challenge with a twist, while spreading the message about his own water cause at the same time:

Or, if you just simply don’t want the ice cold water on your head, you may choose to donate money with class, like what Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame did:

In contrast with these thoughtful responses to the challenge, I have seen videos of two Hong Kong parents who dumped a bucket of ice water on their baby… The video has since become private, probably due to shame after being flamed by netizens. There is another case of a Hong Kong mother who took on the challenge as a trendy thing to do. She said that because of her foot injury, she decided to let her toddler pay the mother’s “debt”! Down right stupidity if you ask me!

What I don’t like is how people use this challenge as a way to show off their bravado and not giving the focus on the cause behind it. This is the predominant trend of the movement here in Hong Kong, where the majority of the population loves to follow whatever is trendy and cool at the moment.

If you’d like to know the origin of the challenge, which actually had nothing to do with charity, let alone the ALS cause, read this Slate article.

Lastly, I’d draw attention to the issue behind the ALS “cure.” There is a perception among the mainstream that by donating money to the “cause,” there is hope for a cure. But I have serious doubts about how effectively the money will be spent. Hoping that the pharmaceutical industry will come up with a cure for the condition is a naive thought. Here is why:

Ice Buckets: NOT the Cure for ALS

If the above link doesn’t work or if you are short of time, watch the video on this page or below instead:

As much as I appreciate the hardship that ALS patients are living with, I’d like to challenge the belief that it is an incurable genetic disease. Ben Johnson, MD, coauthor of “The Healing Code,” has successfully cured himself of the same disease, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, without conventional medical intervention. He used the Healing Code discovered by Alex Loyd.

There is something called the biology of belief, which I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Perhaps after seeing the following video by Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of the book “The Biology of Belief,” ALS patients like Anthony Carbajal and others will find hope in knowing that death is not written in their book of life after all:

How does the large percent of people that have ‘the gene’ not get ‘the cancer?’

Well, this seems to be the answer to my quest at the end of my post yesterday. According to Dr. Bruce Lipton’s “biology of belief,” it is always our choice—conscious or subconscious—to hold on to a belief, which in turn manifests itself in the physical form. So, according to him, your ideas about certain health issues are always unfailingly reflected in your body and in your life. In his article and video, which I am reblogging here, you can find out more about how this concept plays out in two contrasting examples—that of Angelina Jolie, who chose to do preventive mastectomy to prevent the breast cancer that she believe would descend upon her one day, and that of Anita Moorjani, whose near-death experience awakened her to the fact that she did have a choice to believe whether she had cancer or not. The story of how she came back to life, and lost her tumor in a stunningly short time, is shocking yet enlightening!

the biology of belief

Having a specific gene that increases the probability of a cancer 
does NOT mean having the cancer. Only certain “percentages” of 
patients with identified genes actually get the cancer. The point is 
that “gene” does not cause cancer, for if it did everyone with the 
gene would, by definition, end up with the cancer. The most 
important question is, “How does the large percent of people that 
have the gene NOT get the cancer?” A question medicine totally ignores.
The answer lies in the fact that it takes from 15-20 different genes 
must be modified to get a cancer off the ground…the other genes 
(and perhaps the identified so-called “oncogenes” as well) are genes 
that are activated in regard to our responses to life. Perceptions 
and the mind are the primary mechanisms that control gene activity, 
this being the meat and potatoes of Epigenetics. Consequently, the 
initiation of cancer is now…

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‘Hunger’ in the Subconscious Mind


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Hungry Child

I don’t know about you but the idea of hunger—and food—looms extremely large in my mind. Often times I have conflicts with my husband, who does not seem to be bothered by not eating for a long stretch of time.

Besides the fact that physically we are so different—he having Type A blood and I being a Type O, which means that I have much more stomach acid than him and that I am naturally hungry a lot more frequently than him—our upbringings also play a very important role in our differences.

Growing up in the Chinese culture and after an era when Chinese people suffered from a massive scale of famine, I have inherited an unfortunate collective memory in my subconscious mind. My parents’ generation experienced the “Great Famine” in the 60s in mainland China. They had very little to eat. Food was “allocated” to each family in the form of rations. My parents would use the food stamps they got from the government and had to line up at 3 in the morning to get a piece of meat. If they were lucky to get an apple, they would eat the peel and save the fruit for me and my brother. Whenever hunger stroke, my parents would tighten up their belts—literally, to stop the hollow growls.

Because food was so scarce, it had taken on a venerable position in our society, especially among those who had experienced extreme hunger, like my parents. As a result, the ritual of sharing a complete meal together with the whole family also became something holy. Dinner time must be duly respected. If, for example, you are engrossed in studying or another activity that you delay your arrival at the dinner table, you’d stand the risk of being severely scolded or ridiculed. After each dinner, a few words of appreciation and compliment to the cook—usually the mother—would be expected. Such is the scenario that played out at my home throughout my childhood.

Food is often used as a reward for children in my culture—and it could also be used as a form of punishment in the act of withholding. One often hears the chiding of mothers in a threatening tone: “If you are naughty, you will not get rice!” Rice in this case actually means meal. So kids in my generation were often threatened to go hungry as a result of not obeying the parents. I don’t know if this kind of language is still used in today’s Chinese society, as I am not in touch with the parenting world, being childless myself. But I can imagine this threat does not go along with today’s affluent society anymore.

Anyway, what I’m trying to analyze, is how this threat has been etched in our psyche… so much so that the fear of hunger has become something larger than life! Irrational as it may be, my subconscious mind still holds on to this false belief that if I skip a meal or two I’d be very sick and even die. In the Chinese vocabulary, we have this phrase, “hungry to death” (餓死了), which is an exaggerated way of describing the feeling of extreme hunger. Perhaps this kind of expression shapes the way we think as well.

I guess this is a long-winded explanation of why I turn into a beast when I am confronted with hunger. It’s something really difficult for my husband to relate, as he grew up in affluent Europe and has never inherited this kind of cultural and collectivist burden associated with hunger and famine. Well, his ancestors in Sweden also experienced famine, but the latest one happened in the mid-19th century, so the memory of famine is not in his genes.

By contrast, I have inherited the stress chemicals flowing in my grandmother and mother’s blood—my grandmother having experienced the Japanese occupation and my mother, the Great Famine. Did you know that environmental stress affects unborn babies and goes down through as many as four generations? So, isn’t it not that strange that there is a fear of hunger running through my veins?

Having analyzed this now, I am ready to work on my subconscious mind and erase those genetic memory. Exactly how, I don’t know. But I am confident that I’ll find a creative solution one day.

The Joy of My Father Lives on


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My father was a silk textile designer in the early half of the 70s.

Father was always painting, painting and painting, getting so much joy from his art.

Father was always painting, painting and painting, getting so much joy from his art. Left: dad in front of one of his paintings in the 80’s; right: taking part in an art exhibition in the 90’s.

In my morning prayer today, the thought of my father suddenly entered my mind. It was his soul paying me a visit when I was giving thanks to the feeling of happiness—the exact word written on my chakra candle with a frankincense scent. Then suddenly I remembered how my father, when he was young and I, a child, always exuded a sense of calm joy and optimism. I always used to wonder how he managed to remain calm and find happiness inside of him, no matter how rough and stormy the circumstances in life were. To me, he was like a rock, solid and unmovable. It had remained a mystery throughout my childhood.

Fond memories of him making jokes, making us kids laugh, of his gentle ways, his love for his pot plants and for Nature, and all those walks in the mountains he took me to… they flashed through in my mind’s eye, like snapshots in quick succession.

Fast forward to the last decade of his life, this joy gradually eroded. I believe that his marriage with mom had taken a heavy toll on him. Mother was always nagging and criticizing him, complaining that he did not make enough money for the household and not being truly appreciative of his art. He eventually resorted to having a secret extra-marital relationship to regain that joy. But within the family he was miserable. He probably felt imprisoned—a free and lighthearted spirit being tied to worldly responsibilities. All his life he pursued art and beauty. He just followed his heart to do what he loved to do. Of course it had not been easy on the family in terms of material comfort, but he was nevertheless such a responsible family man, guided by traditional Chinese values, that he did all he could to raise us and keep the family a stable place for us to grow up.

At nearly 75, he got lukemia, which, according to Louise Hay’s book, “Healing Your Body,” could probably be caused by the thought pattern of “What’s the use?” and the process of one’s inspiration being brutally killed. It is not too difficult to see the linkage there from hindsight… but no one in the family noticed back then.

I feel sorry that his sorrow and sense of futility took over his joy toward the end of his life. But my memory of his joy remains to this day and it is this memory of him that stays with me as the most vivid part of him, after his soul has returned to the realm of pure being and pure love. Tears swelled up in my eyes as I ruminated on how I can now feel a strong sense of joy inside of me, sans the mystery. In fact, after I started practicing Transcendental Meditation, I have been able to constantly tap into the bliss that I didn’t realize was always there, inside of me. And recently, with the use of an amazing new technology, the orgone generator, created by Karl Hans Welz, this bliss has been given an extra boost. It is an amazing experience.

Choking in Our Trash


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Does lying in one’s own garbage seem shocking to you? At first glance, these images from the ongoing series of photographic project, “7 Days of Garbage” by Gregg Segal, seem really gross. But after staring at them for a few seconds, it dawns on me how close to reality these scenarios are. While the photos show Californians lying amid a week’s worth of their own garbage, I can easily imagine worse scenarios if the photos were taken in Hong Kong!

When it comes to environmental protection, Hong Kong would probably score very low on the international scale. While there is a tiny scale of recycling effort, most people do not make recycling a habit. There is close to zero recycling for glass bottles, except for a small non-profit social enterprise that collects bottles and other recyclable trash from a few selected locations and charge a fee for its service. The fee generally puts the “common people” off from wanting to recycle. Basically, the government doesn’t give a damn about recycling, has no political will to push for the development of a comprehensive recycling industry, and is clueless about what to do next about the ever-rising pile of garbage in our backyards.

There are several large dumping grounds for trash in our small city but those are nearing full capacity. We have hundreds of high-risers built atop land that was “reclaimed”, meaning, land that was originally ocean but built from scratch using garbage. The government is looking to build incinerators but what terrible pollution would that bring to our already polluted air?

Adding to these problems is the lack of awareness among the citizens. It is appalling how people dump whatever they don’t want into Nature. They give absolutely no qualm about polluting Nature with stuff that will not disintegrate for millions of years, let alone care about how ugly it looks. It’s just a “surface nuisance,” as the brilliant comedian George Carlin has said in his famous skid about the environment. “[The earth] wanted plastic for itself!”… The age-old question of “Why are we here?” can be answered simply by: “Plastic!”

A poetic image? What is a sofa chair doing on the beach?

A poetic image? What is a sofa chair doing on the beach?

Refrigerator and Liquid Gas Petroleum can on the beach!Refrigerator and Liquid Gas Petroleum can on the beach!

Beautiful decorations hikers left behind

Beautiful decorations hikers left behind

Nowhere have I seen furniture and big pieces of electrical appliances thrown in Nature as in Hong Kong. The reason why people do that is because one has to pay a fee (roughly US$60) to throw away a piece of furniture in the landfill. To save money, people (usually movers who help people get rid of old furniture) would just drive to a remote area in the New Territories and dump the furniture in Nature. These movers have absolutely no regard for Nature.

In some areas of Hong Kong, the water currents would bring in trash from Mainland China. How do I know? Well, just look at the packages… the words are written in simplified Chinese, which is not used on Hong Kong. I have a lot more photos of such trash but I think I’m grossing myself out at this point.

A country that contrasts greatly from Hong Kong is Sweden, where I lived for five years and observed how the citizens were conscientious about recycling everything possible and doing compost in the countryside. There is a bit of economic incentive for people to recycle plastic bottles and aluminium cans—at supermarkets there are machines that take these and give you a coupon that can be redeemed for cash. But most people would recycle whenever they can—with or without cash rewards—and would walk the extra mile to dump their pre-sorted trash into the proper containers.

Overall, the Swedish people keep their Nature absolutely pristine. You won’t find a single piece of trash when you go hiking or swimming. Other European countries are also equally good at environmental protection, such as Switzerland. You can clearly see how their citizens are properly educated to respect Nature and treat it as an important asset and treasure in their lives. Not only that, there is a general sense of reverence for what is considered sacred. In Hong Kong, I have observed the disrespect people have for Nature—mostly out of ignorance; and also the way they treat Nature as a big kitchen cabinet from which they get resources (like fish and seafood). Perhaps they need to have a look at pictures like the one below to be reminded what keeping Nature clean would mean. But I’m afraid that we would need another campaign like the “Lap Sap Chung Campaign” launched by the former colonial governor, Sir Murray MacLehose in the 70’s (which I witnessed growing up in the city), to raise awareness among citizens and encourage them to put trash where they belong.

The pristine St. Moritz Lake

The pristine St. Moritz Lake


Related article:

Mesmerizing Photos of People Lying in a Week’s Worth of Their Trash