Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Point of Gratitude

I think I've written on gratitude many times before, but it still keeps coming back to me. What I find interesting about gratitude is that our society and everything about it really isn't set up for it, so you really gotta keep it up yourself if you want it to last.

I've had some amazing experiences in my life (or I should say one seriously amazing experience in my life) that have been firsthand confirmation of some of the principles we hear about in all the self-help/personal development books, namely that we create our own realities. It's a game of semantics but when you really come to realize it it's incredibly freeing.

The thing is we tend to look at what we lack in our lives. We hear this all the time, but have you REALLY thought about this idea?

I've lived in 3 different countries enough to realize that no matter where I go, I tend to focus on what I don't have. As an example, all I can think about when I am in another country aside from Taiwan is that I don't have the good food from Taiwan, or the mobility. When I am in another country aside from the US, all I can focus on is that I don't have kale. And when I am in another country aside from Italy, all I can focus on is that I'm not hearing the beautiful sounds of Italian and that the food isn't incredible wherever I decide to eat at.
Why do we do this?

A joyful successful life is not possible without gratitude. A successful life is possible without gratitude, but a joyful one to boot is not. I'm going back to gratitude everyday now, because I'm remembering how important and essential it is. I talked to one of my roommates yesterday about this and she asked, "Is it really that necessary to do all that stuff though?"and my heart went all in (partially unexpected by me) with a huge, solid "Yes...It's everything."Because, as I explained to my friend, if we don't live a joyous life, then it will all just be the rat race and getting in and out of the rat race and running on autopilot and never experiencing anything truly amazing. It's the waking sleep, as Andy Shaw calls it (image from him):

I have a genuine desire for myself to embrace all that personal development talks about; to really soak in, internalize and realize my truth from internalizing it all, and live from that space. Because I've been there before, and being short of that is not worth living.

Back to gratitude, I have a track outside my apartment. I live in a school and the school track is a 1 minute walk away from my front door. And I sometimes get the opportunity to stop and realize how amazing that is, and when I'm running on it, really appreciate it being there. When we appreciate things instead of wondering what we'll do when we don't have them anymore, we can really lean into joy and understanding how great of a life we have, and that is pretty much regardless of the material things you have, because when I appreciate the track in my backyard, it's not about the track. Making it about me having a track is an ego trip, not gratitude. It's about acknowledgment and deep thanks for my life the way I have created it so far. It's about responsibility, not about entitlement.

I just downloaded a gratitude journal app on my iPhone (the one by Happy Tapper, I like it quite very much) and have been writing in it whenever I feel like it. I also write on a notepad in the morning or whenever I'm around it. And I also have a stuffed beanie baby giraffe I bought a few weeks ago at this toy store. It looks at me in this head-slightly-tilted way, as if saying "what are you grateful for today?" and every time I see it I make a point to say, out loud, what I am grateful for. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this information with whosevers eyes read my blog and send my deepest desires that he/she will find a way to bring a practice of gratitude into their lives as well.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back to Basics

If you don't keep it up, you will lose it.
Well that's half true. The truth is probably closer to something like if you don't focus and constantly refocus your attention, you will forget it. Which sounds more plausible really because that's what's really going on. I had an amazing experience a little less than a year ago. I feel like the beautiful period lasted maybe two months, while the incredible awareness lasted for maybe two weeks. Either way, I stopped paying attention to it and I lost it.

What I discount now and especially during the period immediately after I "lost" it (forgot it), is that I did so much to get myself there. What's there? I guess in general I'm speaking of this way of life that is in constant flow and your underlying feeling is joy. Not really happy like crazy manic happiness but just a sense of deep peace and joy for the miracle that is you and life as it relates to you. A space where creation just happens so naturally and normally that you wonder if you ever had a thought that you don't create.

I've been going back to basics, back to my practices that helped me get there. When I look back on records that I have, I realized I did so much more to get myself there than I think I did. I was really really focused on the "I love myself" practice. My commitment was much much more fierce than the maybe 10+ times I've retried (not including days like today where it's just upon waking up then it fades away within a few minutes) to commit myself to the practice. I think I was just in such a bad period before that that I had a REALLY STRONG reason and contrasting feeling to do it.
But I stopped shortly after I was in a relationship with my wonderful fiance. I guess I thought I got things handled now after such a huge transformation.

Here's the thing. During the time period I was in a state of strong awareness, I experienced so "directly" that we are creators. In reality we are always creating, we just don't know it. And then we think we don't, thus creating the experience that we don't...which just proves that we do create. But anyways, during this time, I knew we create, and I just did it. Everything that was crossing my mind as a desire was coming true in less than two days.

Anyways as I stopped my practice of focusing my thoughts, my ability to create "directly" (as I describe) was dwindling and trickling away, and I started getting worried and nervous which obviously was just crowding out any remaining good stuff...and then stuff started hitting the fan and then here I am again. Well it's not exactly the same but I was pretty dejected as my base underlying feeling again. Maybe worse since I had "solid proof" that the stuff works. I went into fight mode and fix-it mode and of course it just made things worse and worse.

We really gotta tune into our feelings and love ourselves. I found that you gotta do these things otherwise you just won't get there. I guess I'm generalizing, but if there is another way someone oughta let me know. I mean I know of some other teachers and masters who have done things other ways, but I think for the vast majority of us who are making a living not by "directly" teaching, we have to do what the teachers are telling us to do. We gotta honour their words and do these things.

I'm going back to the basics and back to where I started,
Catt xxx

Friday, August 9, 2013

Juice, Juice, JUICEEE!!

It's been less than a year since I started juicing. The first time I had a juice was in early October/late September 2012. But today, I just realized how much I LOVE JUICE!

I really never thought I'd get here. Though I was never too averse to even strong-vegetable juices (whatever discomfort went away within less than a month anyways), today I cannot imagine my life without juice. I still eat "standard" for dinner and sometimes for lunch, but without having a juice in the day my day feels deflated of it's happiness. I don't think I'm dependent on juice but I certainly am in a deep love affair with juice. I love Juice!!

I've only had sweet juices and mostly reluctant to get creative outside of green juices (green lemonade!), but I've REALLY wanted to try "The Sicilian" from Crazy Sexy Kitchen. I've heard Jason write about how if you juice garlic the smell will stay there for days so I'm kind of worried and will probably use our old juicer to play around with savory juices.

Anyways, just wanted to tell anyone who's thinking about juicing or anything like that, DO IT. YOU WILL LOVE IT.

By the way Philips Avance is super incredible. I wish they had it in the US. My boyfriend has a nicer juicer than me now; how fair is that? ;)

I think since I started juicing I never really upped the exercise intensity as much as I've liked to, but it's coming along. The thing is I've actually lost a bit over 7kg since September 2012, though I haven't even paid as much attention to the weight anyways since it's just the way I feel when I have juice that makes me love it. I won't say that I've change 180 as a person or anything like that but I know that without it the person I'm becoming and stepping into would not feel as good as she does today.

Catt xxxx

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five Things About My Short Trip to London

I'm not sure what it was about my short trip to London with my fiance was, but I really miss London! I was only there for two days and I didn't really go to many tourist attractions and things like that or get to know the city so well. I was trying not to be attached just because we were there for such a short time period but after a week I still miss London! I guess we went on sunny days which made it a LOT better but still I don't know why I still miss London.

1. I love Joe and the Juice
I only got to go here once, the one on Regent Street (which looks like the Corso Buenos Aires of Milan, but London-y!), but I loved it! The boys there were so nice and chill and they were super-friendly (unlike my experience at Crussh - they weren't mean but they were also not what I'd call warm and friendly), like the boys at the Pret-a-Manager we met. They were very flexible in allowing us to decide what we wanted in our juice, and I love how they blended the spinach with the juice and I've been doing that a lot now! I love green smoothies so this is like the perfect in-between! We also got some sandwiches - I got Tunacado; it was heavenly. The style of the store is kind of hipsterish, but really very nice overall. I kept wanting to go back there but it was quite far from where we were staying at and Luton airport so we didn't end up going back.

2. The park(s) are amazing in London
I only went to Regent Park, because I couldn't leave there! It was so gorgeous and had a beautiful rose garden too. Many people were sleeping there and the days I was there it was nice and sunny. They also have lots of ducks, and I loveeee duckies.

3. Parking is expensive in London
Extremely expensive. I thought Italy was expensive, but London is like the double for a lot of things!

4. My fiance and I recommend the Grim Dykes Hotel
If you like nature-y places it's really a great hotel. You'd have to drive to get there and if you're renting a car you might as well just take the car everywhere, even though it is 5 min. from the metropolitan. The metro, or they call it the tube, looked pretty expensive in London, and split into zones. It's like that too in Milan, but the most expensive ticket in Milan is probably 4 euros, while that seems to be more of the standard for a single-way ticket in London. Anyways the hotel has great service, delicious breakfast (continental and cooked), and it's got so much nature. They have a couple of hiking trails which are short but FILLED with the freshest air I've had in a LONG time. My lungs were literally singing with joy with the air I was breathing there. Even though where we live in Milan there are a lot of trees and it's out of the city, it's nothing compared to when you get full blast of nature and it's seriously clean, crisp air. And they have this pond that looks a bit creepily abandoned (omg do not go at night), but it's got ducklings who are quite keen on some pieces of bread (and I love duckies!). They've also got a vegetable garden which the restaurant uses sometimes, which I adored. It's really pretty gorgeous of a place.

5. Be with someone you love
I know many people want to punch me in the face for this, but I mean anyone. If you don't have anyone that means you probably haven't been very honest about yourself. But even then you could not have anyone I guess. The point is, home for me doesn't really mean a point on the planet, it really means the space where you can be yourself. Sometimes points on the planet prevent this from being true (not even talking about politically oppressive societies - just sit next to the phone in my house for a week and you'll know what I mean). It's a personal practice but definitely worth it. Always ask yourself first "where am I going" before you ask "who am I going with" and it should work out to the best (lessons from CwG :))


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Juicy Clean Sweep

Last week, my fiance and I went on a Juice Detox from Jason Vale.

I am a pretty big advocate of Jason Vale. Jason was first introduced to me by Andy about a year ago. I started reading his Slim4Life Freedom from the Food Trap around this time last year and things have really changed for me. People being like "I could never give up junk food" doesn't bother me as it used to before while I was cleansing. I've gotten past a lot of judgmental remarks that used to bug me as a result of reading Slim4Life. It really isn't like any other diet books that teaches you what to eat and what not to eat. It really transforms the way you think about food. I'd say it's a bit like hypnosis, but really, it's just getting fuller facts (and of course, there may be even more facts out there and the rule of thumb for me has always been follow how you feel) so that you can really be the one making the decision. Anyways long story short,  I highly recommend this book!

The programme my fiance and I did was the 5lbs in 5days plan. I thought it would be pretty hard because I have done one-day juice fasting before and it was difficult, but this was way easier than the one-day fasting. I'm not really sure why, but I think it's the "restriction" mentality. If you're only doing one-day, you feel like you're restricting yourself for a day. If you're doing 5 days of juice only, you kind of think you're on a trip (or something like that; something less temporary).

So I got this book in April or March on Kindle as the "taster" edition, but the full version is coming out in September. I never done a 5 day juice detox before in my life, and the 21 day cleanse I went on still consisted of loads of solid foods. What I like is that you can trust Jason gets the nutrients you need down, and plans like this really are worth so much.

My fiance and I also bought the app, which to me was essential for the completion. It's really not hard, 5 day juice detox, but it isn't so easy if you're kind of blindly doing it just making the recipes and then have normal life for the rest of the part. The app helps a lot because there are coaching videos with tips and tricks and you get to know what to expect. In short, it's like having illustrations in a cookbook (not to mention he also does the recipes so you can watch what to do). I think I would have done terribly if Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution had no photos with real action going on (like he is in the photos so you know how much of what to use and what shape to cut things in etc). It gives you a benchmark and an idea of how it's done, which is essential. You also feel like you're having fun with Jason during the 5 days and Jason has a great personality (well on camera at least ;)), which makes the 5 days easy to do. We also did, on day two, get the new Philips Avance which is really a dream. It's not as easy to clean as they advertise it of course, but really if you're going slowly you can clean this in 5 minutes (1 is a bit exaggerating and in the video they probs didn't clean it completely clean, but I've never had an easier to clean juicer than this!)

I never experienced serious detox withdrawals, as even though before this programme I stopped juicing for a while I've always had loads of fruit and veg in my diet since I read Slim4Life. The reason why I started this programme was I was sooooo out of it. I liked Jamie's recipes and I liked cooking, but I had no desire to eat anything (don't get me wrong; I desired to eat, but I didn't know what!). It sucked!! I really felt clueless and kept asking "what should we eat for dinner........." knowing that whatever my fiance said I would say "I don't feel like it......" Well I'm glad to say that for now, a few days after we finished the plan, I don't have that problem anymore! I've been having ideas of what I'm craving again, and of course I don't crave any junkie food (if I do, never in large fiance knows I love me my tiramisu!!), but that happened after I read Slim4Life already.

Anyways throughout the programme I never experienced any detox symptoms that people complain about. I experienced a little bit of craving for fried foods (I had a thing for homemade fries) and roast veggies but it wasn't too bad. We didn't exercise twice everyday (I think three of the five days) but we both lost quite a bit and my tummy became a pancake! Which is super exciting because that's like the one thing that was always not happening!

The juices were delicious and very satiating. I was never hungry except on the last day, where I didn't drink every juice fully because we were traveling to London.

The differences in our programme included that we used steamed beetroot, which made the taste so different (yeah I know it's kind of really weird). We just could not find any fresh beetroot in Italy! Also we defrosted frozen peas for the sugar snap peas because we couldn't find that either! We couldn't find kale, but since we grow kale in our little garden we did that. We also could not find any parsnip (we called a lot of farmers for this), so we used carrots instead.

Other than that the results? Well a belly as flat as a pancake is what I've dreamed of for years! Aside from that our scale is not very accurate; it ranges from 3kg differences at times so I think I lost 5lbs? I don't know but I definitely look more vibrant, which I can really tell, and no more "I don't know what to eat" (those are the most miserable things ever).

I highly recommend the plan to anyone who is thinking of taking control of their health. But I must warn that this is a serious commitment - it's a serious dive in and no looking back to being slim, feeling the amazing energy of a healthy lifestyle, and the capacity to live like you mean it!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Pamper Yourself to a Easy-to-Do, Natural Food Facial!

I love getting facials. Actually, I've only gotten one before; the rest I've done myself. The one I got at a boutique was expensive and did not include all the things they said they would include, so I decided to find out ways to do them myself. I had problem skin before, but ever since I started cleansing with oil (that's for another time), my face has become a lot more clear, and given that it's only been a month since I've started, it's been the most effective treatment I've ever done (that includes sleeping before 10pm everyday). Anyways, I had a problem with my ear recently while in Italy, and a medical practitioner told me to do breathe in a lot of steam everyday for 10 minutes. This reminded me of facial steams. So as I started doing it everyday, I also started giving myself a facial everyday (not the best idea, but I figure since I'm steaming everyday for now). Anyways I wanted to share how I do my facial everyday as it's great for my skin and easy to do! I got my inspirations from Crunchy Betty, and have used no commercial products in this facial.

First of all disclaimer if anything anyone tries from my advice screws up,'re allergic, you burnt yourself and everything..burn your table...I am not accountable, etc. Also, if you have severe acne or other problem skin this is probably not a good idea.

I'm just sharing what works for me and has been easy enough for me to do regularly! I love that this is all FOOD and it works better than a facial at a spa (okay, the ONE facial I got at a spa)! I've been doing this everyday and my skin is being pampered big time, but I think once or twice a week is more than enough. I call this one my Italian Foods Facial, because I'm here, and well, chocolate, red wine, and basil...pretty Italian! (Plus prepping this facial steam is like prepping a pasta).

Catt's Luxurious Italian Foods Facial Routine
Read everything thoroughly before you start.
The basis of this facial is cleanse, steam, feed, and moisturize. I get things going for other steps while I do one step, as you'll see below. You'll only really need things to mix ingredients in and a small pot for the steam and an even smaller pot if possible for heating wine. And a towel for the steaming! Remember to have your hair tied and pulled back!

Raw honey (~1 tsp)
Sea Salt (~3 tbsp)
Red Wine (you only use ~1 tbsp, but you might need more to heat it)
Basil (~2 tbsp)
Cacao powder (or cocoa powder...I think there's a difference but not much) (you only use ~1.5 tbsp)
Green tea (fresh and cooled)
Jojoba oil

1. Put the kettle on the fire with enough water to fill the small pot for the facial steam.

2. Rinse your face with warm water, and put ~1 teaspoon of honey in the palm of your hand. Wash your face with the honey like you would any cleanser, then rinse off the honey with warm water. Pat-dry your face. (Note: Honey best as raw honey! There are great raw honeys in the US. It's the solid looking honey).

3. Transfer the hot water to the small pot you will use for your facial steam, and put that on a medium fire.

4. Get your sea salt (different from table salt! I use this one - it's a large crystals sea salt) and dump it into the pot and stir until the salt is dissolved.

5. Either while the water is coming to a boil or when it's already boiling (put on low heat if so), make the liquid for your face mask. You have to make it now so that it has time to cool down for use later. I use a tiny tiny metal pot on a tiny tiny burner for the coffee makers (moka) in Italy. I don't think they're that common, so I'm thinking if that doesn't work, you can have another pot with boiling water and heat the wine in some small bowl in the boiling water or something like that. Actually I've never tried it, so don't take my word on it. Or you can heat more wine than needed and fridge it for later on. Anyways, this is my favourite wine, but I'm using it because it was opened two weeks ago and while we fridged it I don't think it's a good idea to drink it anymore. But it's still got the beneficial properties since it was fridged.

6. The way to make your facemask liquid is to heat the red wine (I use around 3 tbsp; probably 1/5 of a cup) on a very low fire, and add basil leaves to it once it starts getting warm. I use fresh basil leaves, as I have a nice little plant (I live in Italy right now). Let it boil a little, but not too much. If your skin is dry, boil it until there is no sharp smell (boil the alcohol away). If you have oily and problem skin, the alcohol will help so don't boil it too much!

7. Leave the basil-infused wine to one side. It is time for the facial steam!

8. Put your pot on a coaster/something-so-that-it-won't-burn-a-surface.

9. Drape the towel around your head and around the pot to form a little "tent," as seen in the photo.

10. Hold your face over the steam for 10 minutes, and breathe deeply. The steam opens your pores and the salt is good for detoxing. Now, don't be stupid and burn your nostrils or anything. Keep the appropriate distance, which will change as the temperature changes. Turn your head so that all parts of your face get the benefits of the steam. If it's too steamy for you to handle, you can take breathers.

11. After the steam, rinse your face a few times with warm water, then once with cold water. Pat dry.

12. Transfer the wine to a cup, leaving the basil leaves behind (or something you can mix it with).

13. Get the cacao powder. Mine is from Italy and it's "bio," meaning organic in Italian. It's a wonderful thing!!

14. Add enough cacao so it becomes a spreadable paste, a little thicker than nutella but not so that it's clumpy (it will work even if it is clumpy).

15. Spread this chocolate wine mask all over your face. Isn't it wonderful?

16. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Read, sing Italian songs, practice presence, etc. Don't eat the mask (though I'm sure it's safe to).

17. Wash off the mask with warm water.

18. Tone with green tea (that was made earlier). This is the green tea I use (it's not Italian; it's Taiwanese), and I put it in one of those spray bottles (I got this one at Target! Go to the travel section not the toiletries section) and keep it in the fridge so that it's cold. Green tea is high in antioxidants, which are very healing to the skin when applied topically. The coldness closes the pores.

19. Finally, moisturize a bit with jojoba oil. It's oil and it's especially important if you have oily/combination/problem skin. This is because if you do not moisturize (and this is a good moisturizer as it is natural and very similar to the skin's oils) your face will work hard to produce more oil. I know you've heard about this tons of times before, but until you actually try it it doesn't do you squat! I got mine for 8$ at Trader Joe's. I know, my ingredients come from three different continents, but I'm sure you could find something (and there's always amazon!). You can also use grapeseed oil to moisturize (I use it to wash my face!)

Ta-Da! A luxurious [mostly] Italian facial that is easy to do, enjoyable, and costs way less than a facial at a spa! It really leaves my skin so smooth and supple (the chocolate does that part!), and it really cleanses the areas that need to be cleaned.

Happy Pampering!

-Catt xxx

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Emotional Hindrance

Our emotions are the truth and we should always follow our emotions. But there is a difference between changing a situation/improving a situation we feel bad about and judging something as bad. One is brief and done in order to understand ourselves, the other is to have others feel sorry for us (manipulating others) or getting things and others to change for us.

This is something to always remember: we, literally, make up what is labelled good and what is labelled bad. This is why we have so many differences in opinions about things, let alone different emotional reactions about things that we try to cover up with contradictory words.

Most of the time we don't accept something because we fear change, even change that improves us. More accurately than "we fear good change," our minds (and to an extent our bodies, if you like) react to and judge the onset of change as "bad," which is why we start doing weird things when things start feeling unfamiliar. Aside from this just being a bad habit we just picked up by mimicry, it is in part biology - the idea of homeostasis. I can stand outside in the cold and come inside in the warmth and my body will maintain a temperature of 36C, plus or minus 1 degree.

Unlike the body however, emotionally, our state of homeostasis is determined not by biological functions but by our emotional functions, which are usually determined by what we might call our "programming." This comes from our upbringing - our parents, siblings, those around us, those we go to school with, our community, our country, etc. And it works the same way as our biological homeostasis. This is what Gay Hendricks calls the "Upper Limit Problem," which is written in more detail in his book The Big Leap.

For instance, when people first meet me they find that I am very easy to talk to and generally, "happy and energetic." While these are good qualities that have given me more opportunities that I've enjoyed than not, how much of it really is consciously determined by me in this life period? In other words, while we choose our circumstances before we are born (in my cosmology), in this lifetime, how much of it was a conscious choice? Of course our "subconscious" and what not is a part of us, but the question of "deservingness" comes in (my philosophical tendencies). Yet even if I do not "deserve" my "good fortune" and those who are poor do not "deserve" their "bad fortune" (these are judgments which are made up), nothing permanent will come from the "good" being shared with those who do not have as much "good," unless it creates an inner change.

-Catt xxx

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gratitude Alienation

When I tell people about my "favourite" "philosopher," it goes something like this:

Random Person Asking About My Major: Whose works do you admire the most?
Catt: Karl Marx.
RPAAMM: Marx?? Like, the communist Marx??
Catt: Yes but don't tell anyone. Shhhh.
[RPAAMM From Italy: How can a smart girl like you be a Marxist in the United States?]

I'm not embarrassed that I find Marx's works most sensible and grounding, but I am always hesitant to tell people the truth (sometimes I will just opt for Adam Smith, but even that gets "isn't he an economist?") because Marx is so misinterpreted amongst 99.8% of people I run into, whether they are pro-"Marx" (ie, what they think Marx is) or against-"Marx" (usually the same impression of Marx as the pro-Marx people) (and the 0.2% is my philosophy professors).

What most touches me about Marx's works is that occasionally, when I am present and very into how I am feeling at the moment, I can see it everywhere. Today there was an occasion for this.

I was in the dining hall, and I was practicing some mind control in the form of autosuggestion (I still haven't found anything more beautiful than "I love myself," Thank you Kamal!) and being really present. I saw a dining hall worker who I've seen many times and she's known by our students to be kind of "mean," as she doesn't let kids off the hook when something isn't going exactly right and is super strict with the rules. Today she was wiping the tables, and she had her normal expressionless expression on her face (she doesn't look mean or happy) and I watched her reaching from one side of the table to the other, wiping the tables..

I suddenly thought "I love you." I suddenly had a genuine appreciation for what she was doing and how she made it easier for me in school, and that without her there would be a lot more chaos in the dining hall and a less clean dining hall.

And the strangest thing was I wondered why, after being at the same school for two years, I had never been in that state of mind. There were a lot of dining hall workers I was friends with or were super nice so evvveryone loved them, but where was the state of mind that was appreciation/gratitude? Why has that been absent?

I guess my mind went directly to feeling guilty about not having appreciated the dining hall workers (and others for that matter) ever until today, even though I always say thank you and I always am polite and I'm not one to bitch about things as much as I've heard other people do so.

But as my mind went to feeling guilty (a bad habit), it went to another automated method of thinking: she's getting paid not bad.

And then there it was, Ah, Marx. It is okay for me not to be genuinely appreciative because there is monetary compensation independent of my genuinity. And this is essentially where the whole thinking-habits of not appreciating got started.

Marx didn't mean that we won't need government and money in the way we use it now because we give up all our material pursuits, but it's because the appreciation of individuals is fully experienced. We will do things because we are fulfilled, and we are fulfilled by the things we do.

But as I have experienced today, we have alienated ourselves from fulfillment. And it's impossible to experience fulfillment without appreciation and gratitude for who we really are.

Be genuinely grateful!

-Catt xxx

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Worry and Negativity

I once read that thinking negatively does literally nothing for you, and it became so strange when I really sat to think about it.
Thinking negatively, does NOTHING at ALL of benefit for you.
It is one thing to sit there and debate whether this is true or not, but having read so much personal development and if you've been in contact with this material, at some point you "accept" it as the truth. Yet still think negatively.
Why would I do something that does NOTHING at ALL of benefit to me, especially as one who is passionate about living her life fully?
I actually had to stop and realize that I had been spending so much time in negative thought and that it was like knowingly doing something that's terrible for you yet not realizing you are doing it.

While I was born in a "good" environment where no one close to me smoked or did drugs or abused [too seriously] alcohol, I had my own sets of addictions and diseases, namely, thinking negatively and worrying.

I have a friend. She worries. So. Much. Maybe I have more than one of these friends, but especially her, and it drags her down and she's definitely addicted to it, thinking that the more she worries the less she will be caught out and screw up. Well it's just strange that she finds herself in so many situations to worry about. If it were working and she actually stopped getting caught out and screwed up. So then she partially subscribes to the fact that the world just sucks and there's such thing as luck. But come on I know we're not meant to judge the lives of others or compare, but there MUST be people out there who think and live without worrying and can handle their stuff well, and to top it off live abundantly. We somehow think people are poor because they didn't worry well enough. Well in my experiences, the more poor (I mean this in terms of finances and how much one has the life they desire (I've generally been around those who are financially pretty well off)), the more they worry. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

There is NO space for worrying in the life of your dreams, that is by definition. If you worry then it is not the life of your dreams. Unless you're talking about physically, ie. gorgeous husband, gorgeous house, gorgeous car, gorgeous kids, gorgeous hairdresser, gorgeous me, whatever. Why would you want to be there if you still worried anyways?

Worrying is a disease that crushes all the wonderful, life-affirming, creative functions of the mind into failure. It is a disease, and it is surely physical, but it is invisible. I say it is physical because if you take the fact that your mind is creative and it creates the circumstances you find yourself in, and you don't have the life you desire, it is most surely physical - the results say it all.

I found a school with a wonderful philosophy today. It is that nothing permanent changes from changing the external world. The world is your mirror. Okay this is a tangent explaining a principle but anyways back to worrying and negativity.

This stuff is doing NOTHING to improve your if you want to improve your situation, they must go.

It starts by observing, and being aware that it happens, and most importantly, accepting it. Accept accept accept. Accept that there is negativity going on and accept that you worry.

That is step one and almost all you need to get rid of it forever.

-Catt xxx

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Eyelashes Effect - a post for girls on how we may often see guys

The eyelashes effect is something I took note of while I was in Italy. I was looking at my Italian sister’s eyelashes and they were just so long and curled. It is a commonly desirable feature to have long eyelashes, especially in Asia where even if your eyelashes are long, they are flat. While I looked at her eyelashes, all I thought was “I wish my eyelashes did that! If I look at it more, will it become that way more? If I had eyelashes like that everyone would think I’ve got the most gorgeous eyes ever.” At some point in my thinking, I realized that if everyone thought the way I did, what would be the point of beautiful eyelashes? That everyone can wish they had them? The point of beautiful eyelashes is to be appreciated for the beauty they are, not to wish you had them if you didn’t or to be proud you have them if you do. Those are two completely distinct states of mind – appreciation for beauty and longing for acquisition. If you’re thoughts are occupied with one of these, the other is not present. While you are appreciating beauty, you will not be wishing it for yourself. Wishing it for yourself is a statement of lack and that you do not have it, thus will give you, by the Law of Creation, more lack of it (essentially, creating the circumstances that affirm you do not have it).

However, aside from that, the eyelashes effect can be analogous to the way many of us women look at men (myself included at times when I’m not aware). We look at men and imagine them as our boyfriend or husband or boy toy, and how nice that would be.

If you want a reason for why we do this and why we think this way, my best response would be (not to sound strange) capitalism. It is all the marketing and companies that knows we do not monitor what we are thinking. They convince us we would love to have something, and that if we had it, everyone would admire and love us! They capitalize on our lack of thinking and as we buy their products, we reinforce the position in our minds.

This is not an argument against capitalists and companies (you are responsible for your own thinking!) but rather pointing out to an area that is blocking beauty from coming into our lives. Being “whipped” by a guy is unpleasant for you for obvious reasons (no one likes to think she is toyed by a guy!), and on top of that it also means that you are not appreciating a guy. Girls complain that guys only love girls for their bodies, but girls do the exact same thing with a guy – usually not for their bodies as much as if he were hers he’d be the perfect accessory and all other girls would be jealous. It is also logical to say that if you are “whipped” by a guy, you are being selfish and only thinking about yourself! It’s a strange concept as you are thinking about another person, but only in the perspective that there is a possibility of benefitting yourself.

Whenever I find myself judging at someone or something that way, I remind myself of the eyelashes effect, and that if I’m one less person to appreciate eyelashes, that’s one less person appreciating beauty.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

I'd like to share something today. Something very personal to me. Something I would say saved my life. Certainly reclaimed my life.

It's a book that I used a few weekends ago to ask for myself and my emotional well being back. I'm still working on it but the implications are amazing.

I don't know what to say about it, as the best advice I can give is to buy the book and do what it says right's only like 3$ and it will change your life if you do exactly what Kamal suggests. I know that's about all self-help personal development books, but Kamal focuses on ONE thing, and from what I can tell, has huge success with it.

I love myself, I love myself, I love myself..(:



It's easy to forget gratitude. Or rather, it's not easy we're just habituated to it. I had a long talk with my friend the other day about whether this stuff is "natural" or just easier. I don't really know for certain what would be our complete natural state, but I think if we all touch into the intuitive part of us, something tells me we're supposed to be happy and grateful and abundant.

For me, we know on a cellular level that we are not alone, that a lot of life is about merging with each other (not just because we know so well of biological urges, although they are well "advertised" and accepted by the majority). I find this is also true on gratitude, happiness, and abundance (and on health too, as we are the only mammals who don't live 11-20x their age of puberty).

I'm sitting at my school library, and I noticed a lot of people are wearing sweatpants studying with their headphones plugged in. I myself am on a comfy sofa chair in my comfy class sweatshirt with my heels on a coffee table and my favorite pair of UNIQLO jeans. And then I realized how little people have this experience. This experience of having a community (an entire community, not just a building you spend 8 hours a day to) where we have 7 different dining halls, coffee shops/cafes, grills, libraries with comfy chairs, studying rooms, dorms with five-days a week maintenance/cleaning...okay I could go on. I don't come to the library often and I never use the studying rooms and I'm not particularly fond of the dining halls (nor grills nor cafes), but this is about as good as it gets in terms of "stuff"! (Sure you may also want a nice fancy car and expensive jewelry, but really come on). Yet all I hear about college is "poor college students," student loans, too much homework, too many exams, "I'm so stressed out," I don't like what we're studying...

Just typing that last list made me feel pretty bad, and almost angry if I weren't intentionally being present right now.

I am so grateful, and I know this experience is only going to last for another year. While I'm glad I don't have to be studying things I'm not particularly psyched about, it's almost unbelievable how incredible of an experience I've created for myself. Seriously there are so many people to meet here (even though 90% are stressed burn-outs and extrinsically focused) and there are so many facilities that make this an amazing experience. Professors care about me, I have my own single dorm room, my bathroom is always clean (save for serious party weekends), it's life for four years and it's a really nice one. I have practice rooms I can practice music and sing, I get the low-down on the best of the most knowledgeable people on this earth (not to say knowledgeable equates to success/happiness, but you know it helps us grow!) I even have a little kitchenette where earlier tonight I made pesto pasta with fresh basil leaves I grew and organic cherry tomatoes. Charmed life girl!!!

Strange thing is I almost feel guilty for not feeling good, which is so funny it reminds me of this part in Dr. Robert Anthony's book when he told a seminar audience to never feel guilty, and one of them said "You mean, we should never feel guilty, about, anything??" (they were feeling guilty about not feeling guilty haha). But I remind myself to be present right now and just enjoy myself sitting in this comfy sofa chair with my comfy clothes, reading things I love and reflecting on how amazing the life I created has been. I don't want to sugar-coat things and ignore them, but those are things I'm currently dealing with and I am grateful that they are being dealt with better and better everyday.

Thank you, thank you, thank you..always be grateful!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Discovering the Real Parts of Me

I've been thinking a lot lately about this whole "being yourself" business. Recently it has become something I use to make note of what I do not want, and then my ego gets me lingering on it and that it's the biggest problem in the world and can never be solved and oh drama and poor me stuck in a situation where I don't know what I want but the only thing I know is that it's not this.

This is such a bugged thought and I actually didn't notice it until now.

I've been spending a lot more time thinking about what I want as when I studied abroad and had more freedom and space in my mental psyche to dissociate from my identity at school (and even more rigid my identity at home) that I started doing things that I actually did want to do or started asking what I actually wanted to do.

So naturally as I haven't been really marching to the beat of my own drummer I've been noticing all the things that bring me joy and get me excited are not really what I've been doing.

But instead of being inspired by this, my ego wants to bring me down about it and be like look at all the horrible things I have to put up with because I am at school and stuck here for another 3 semesters.

Now it seems clear that given where I was in this soul-evolution thing, this is where I am. What's wrong with it? And goodness I'm only 20 it's not like I'm 80 and realising this (man that would actually be much harder to swallow) so where is the need to feel bad?

I'm glad I saw this one and can continue working on designing my life and things in my life. It'll be fun and I can do my schoolwork well at the same time if I carefully shift my perspective on the things in my life.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Others Think of Us

The only person in this world you can control is you. And most people do a very bad job of it.
It seems like a lot more could be done in a day if I could completely drop the habit of being concerned over what others think of me. It takes up so much time and mental energy..time and mental energy that could be spent on more productive things. I'm always inclined to see productivity as how much psychic energy you can free up and thus how well you can focus on what you're doing.

We literally imprison ourselves by letting what others think bother us. If something bothers us, then we are accepting it as true to the degree we are bothered by this. We have to recognize this as wrong thinking and let go of it because it's just not real and just not going to work if we want to be ourselves and being ourselves is the only way to live a fulfilling life.

For myself right now I am learning to take note of when things to bother me (and it's not that hard..feeling crappy vs. feeling gratitude is what happens for me) and accept that right now this is how I feel, and I have to work with where I am right now. Only until I've completely accepted and love the pain (and all the past decisions that brought me to a particular point) does the pain go away and can I now ask the question, what is the best thought I can have here?

There are so many things we think, speak, and act upon about us that just aren't true..well clearly if they were true we wouldn't be in the state we're in right now. So learning to accept is the first step and then picking the closest next best thought.

As Andy says, worrying about what others think really is insane, but we all do it because somehow we've defined ourselves as how others see us..I guess there's few people who define themselves by their own standards (certainly no one I've been close to) so it's hard to see. But untrodden territory is definitely obtainable, as I've already proven to myself big time.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Am I Still Here Today

So this is a kind of sad post but I'd rather be honest than cover things up.
I watched this once, then listened to it while I asked my fiance to watch it, and then just watched it again, and each time the tears roll.

I was never called names on a large scale in school but at home I definitely felt like it was a daily battle. I don't know what things caused me to believe in things this way aside from I guess getting in trouble for small things that didn't make sense to me all the time and feeling under my brother growing up. I still remember the times where my brother and my mom would make fun of me together, about how I would never have a boyfriend because I have an impossible-to-get-along-with personality and an easily irritable temper. I remember they never picked compassion they picked ridicule and pity/look-upon-like-she's-pathetic. Then my dad would tell me to get over it or learn to cope with it. He didn't pick compassion he picked "strength." And it's all really peachy to say I could handle it all but that approach never worked. It never worked because when I chose "strength" I never let myself be hurt or down. I wanted to be bulletproof and unassailable. It took me a while to realise how this wasn't working for me. It took me some ample doses of emotional pain and physical pain - from domestic violence to forced sex - until I could finally see that something in the way I saw things was wrong.

And more importantly, a very recent realisation, they have to be wrong. They can't be right. Otherwise how would I still be here.

The more we hide things the more out of perspective they get. Whoever came up with the idea that being strong by being unassailable was wrong, and my own life experiences are the experiments to that hypothesis. And I can tell you they're wrong.

But only when we realise the deep seated unassailability we all possess by default, spiritually, truthfully, can we then be "brave" enough to tell the truth. But otherwise, we're accepting us as half-good, broken goods, if we put up a facade that everyone can see as bulletproof..the army of friends that call us an inspiration.

I actually had a pretty good day I didn't wake up sad. I think it's because I let myself really cry over this long enough last night and start realising I can pick better. I'll know I've made progress when I come back to this video someday and find that perhaps I'm not crying anymore and understand fully why we go through these things and what a gift it's been to have gone through all these things, and that I don't need them as a contextual field anymore.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Deep Fears

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I wanted to look at this quote a bit because it's a really strange concept - or more accurately perhaps, an unfamiliar one. I haven't been doing quite as well emotionally recently although perhaps "materially" it's been better than it's ever been before.

This quote reminds me of a quote Dr. Robert Anthony wrote:
A lesson that has taken us far too long to learn is that the opposite of bravery is not cowardliness, but rather, conformity.
I know personally I've been scared to "be myself" because of what others may think or say about me, and for good reason if I am affected by it. If we are really, as Marianne Williamson describes, "powerful beyond measure," surely we would be rejected by more people than accepted. Beyond being brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous, it is really about being ourselves which is brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous, and that's where the confusion comes in, that's where we start to question well what's up with that? I didn't do anything to merit it.

When we really take a good look and observe, it's all around us. To claim who we really are is not a big deal, but with years on years of conditioning we automatically turn right when maybe we're supposed to turn left to get when we want to go.

I think it's time for a few things to be established (for me at least)
1. The things most people say most of the time are just BS (ie. ungrounded or for ulterior motive)
2. It takes thought and awareness to not get dragged into it
3. There is a way to live in this world but not of it

I've been having trouble since I came back to school because suddenly everything in my limited thinking became "I must" or "I should" or "I have to"
The more I dwell on these things the more I feel an obligation and the more it gets crappy.
I'm not here to sell ideas [anymore] or be proof of burden or whatever the terms are. I desire to give and I have no clue who ends up on my blog or anything of that sort but I know that there are people out there who do have similar feelings or situations and I know that there are ways out and I know it will come with a matter of time, for everyone. I've been cowardly recently. In actuality it is just taking the limiting beliefs for real. It's not exactly a matter of being brave just what to pick to represent what is real. I struggle still with knowing that I can live in this world without being of it because no one around me that I'm close to or I know really well does, but it's time I stopped using examples.
I had a problem set for philosophy class and I couldn't really do it because I had no example to follow. Previously, I could only do them because I could follow step-by-step what was to be found. Yet the last one had no example and I found myself clueless. I felt I had no way of doing it. I went to my professor's office hours and he showed me how to do it (my main task of the day..complete my problem set :)), but he tried teaching me (I don't know how successfully) not by teaching me how to do it but how to think about it. I think it's time I clarified things more and allowed this to come through me.