The love of hot dogs – memories and all the feels

An unexpected silver lining of this Covid-19 Work-from-home dilemma is that I get to prepare lunch each day.  Stocking my fridge and pantry with veggies and staples, envisioning a yummy and healthy creation, chopping vegetables, and cooking have become my work at home self care tool. It serves as a mental break in between work meetings, client sessions, and the seemingly endless paperwork. And today, I realize that making food also helps fills a hole in my heart. A longing for someone, for something that is familiar, and soothing.

I love(d) hot dogs. When I switched to a vegetarian diet many many years ago, I was doing really well until I went to a barbecue with some friends. The smell of grilled hot dogs was simply impossible to resist. I relapsed on not just one, but at least half a dozen of hot dogs.  A funny story that I told my then co-workers at the residential treatment program. And for one of my birthdays they decided to surprise me with hotdogs ( mine was vegetarian and regular meat one for everyone else) instead of cake. This group of co-workers was a fun, quirky and wonderful to work with.

Yet today I suddenly realize something deeper. Silver lining number 2 of working from home : you get more time and space to be introspective about everything you do. I have switched to a vegan diet now and have bought some vegan hot dog over the weekend. Because, why not? I eat pretty healthy most days but still allow myself the occasional yum.  Balance is key, I think.

So, I thought about the hot dogs I have in the fridge and an image, the smell of a dish came to my senses. A plate with pan fried hot dogs seasoned with soy sauce. The pan fried hot dogs took on a little crispy texture, often a little burnt on the skin, and tainted the dark color of soy sauce. They just lie down side by side on the plate, waiting for their destiny. 

My mom was not a very good cook. I guess it is obvious when one of the dish she regularly made is pan fried whole hot dogs from the package seasoned with soy sauce. But oddly, that was one of my childhood favorite. Maybe because the dishes that she actually tried to make never really tasted right. ( Sorry, no offense, mom). I loved the consistency of the taste and salty favor of the hot dog. You just can’t go wrong with it. Seriously, that would be the only dish that I ate along with the steamed jasmine rice. I would call that a delicious, satisfying meal.

I remember my dad would say how the hot dog is simply junk food with no nutritional value. But you know, I was a kid, and that didn’t mean anything to me at the time. So there it was, one of my favorite childhood meal made by mom. 

It might seem like a simple, and very non-nutritious dish. But I believe it was made with love, too. I’ve learnt that we, as human beings, are always doing our best, to the best of our ability at the moment. Even to others, it might not seem that way. But I knew that my mom was doing her best to feed all of us.I believe that these hot dogs were pan fried with not just soy sauce but a whole lot of love. That’s why when I ate it, I didn’t just taste the saltiness, but felt the sweetness in my heart.

Fast forward 30+ years, I am living in my own apartment, making myself a little lunch during a work day.  Feeling ridiculously nostalgic while making a plate of stir fried Bok Choy with vegan junk (aka hot dog) and ginger. Lightly seasoned with soy sauce and I ate with steamed brown rice. It is all about balance, right. I guess throughout the years, with all the experiences in life and choices I made, I had become a slightly different version of me. Something like : Christy 2.0 ? Yet, all the things, and food, and people I had interacted with in childhood still contributed to a huge part of who I am. In essence, in spirit.

Today, I celebrate my present and honor my past. I toast to the childhood me who happily chow down many processed and junk food, and I embrace the present me who is devoted to a healthier and more holistic way of living and being. And truly, I am grateful for this life which allow me to think and feel deeply about every single little thing. This is the gift of deep feeling, you can’t help but notice the beauty in every single little thing. 

In the midst of this Covid-19 pandemic, I hope that we can all find ways to feel and share love, in big or small way. Through food or other things. Take care all.

 

Goodbye Kitty

Death is a vulnerable process.

In the past few months I’ve witnessed the vulnerable process of dying, in my home. Bit by bit, drop by drop, I watched her life force drifting away. She wasn’t the nicest cat I’ve met. In fact, she had been pretty mean to other cats in the household. But just like humans, every cat has a story that no other beings completely understand. Cats developed their defensive mechanism, too. 

But no defensive mechanism is strong enough for death. For death just comes, as a powerful force, rendering us speechless as we bear the tender feeling of the impending loss. We say our goodbye, or pretend that it is not happening, as we bear witness of the gradual decay of this warm, furry, physical existence. 

Visper, I see you getting more and more confused each day.  You would fall asleep at the litter box and trying desperately to get back to your human’s bed. You tried to get to your water bowl even when your hind legs couldn’t hold up anymore. Your body was shrinking, your paws started to flatten. It was hard to watch. Even when you are technically not my kitty, my heart broke a little, watching you trying to get up and act normal each day. Until the day when you can’t anymore.

I’ve experienced a lot of losses in my life, but never witnessed, and felt one happening slowly, in a somewhat controlled manner. The day we said goodbye, was memorial day. The vet, a general, kind man came to our house for your passing. Masked, he gently guided your masked human in the process, giving space for him to say his final goodbye. You were given medicine, to relax, and finally go to sleep. It was a very gentle process. My young kitty, whom you found annoying for the most part, showed up and sat there quietly – witnessing your transition. Dear kitty, I hope your transition felt as magical as rainbow dissolving in the sky. Us, the humans, can’t really feel the whole scope of what this ending is like. For we are imprisoned by our ego, our attachments, and we shed our tears because of the loss of this tangible existence of love.

It has been a few days since you passed. I still feel your presence. But perhaps it is all just in my mind. For I, habitually, hold on to the past. I suddenly realized, that living in the present is easier said than none. More or less, we all carry our past with us. Our feelings of the present mingle with the memories of the past, constantly. Perhaps human beings are just constantly confused, or perhaps it is just me. 

Your life and death taught me something, something so profound that I am not sure if I totally get it, just yet. But I wonder, perhaps I should be easier on myself. Perhaps I don’t have to care too much about whether I am carrying the past with me, and whether I am letting the past interfere with my future. Perhaps I should just live, and be who I am, unapologetically. 

 

The fairy mother – Trust and Love in times of uncertainty

The fairy mother

When butterfly kisses the flower
She said
What’s the matter
You are weeping
Are you missing your mother?

And the honey bee
Buzzed by and said
She’s right there
Can’t you see? My dear?

“No”, weeping flower started wilting
She’s sad, swallowed up by despair
Drops of tear tricked down the rim of her petal
And as if by magic
Stayed as sparkling bubbles, reflecting the transient rainbow light. 

Hovering, pulsing,
Kind-hearted hummingbird gathered around the nectar
And smooch…
A kiss, an invisible kiss
On the weeping flower.

Love is sometimes invisible
My dear
But remember
And trust
That you are loved.

And I’ll always be there.

  • Poem written by Christy Choy in November 2018

Going through my notes on the phone and found this little poem I wrote back in November 2018.  I have forgotten about this. And these words, touches me in a very kind and gentle way today. 

This is a challenging, uncertain time on earth -our blue beautiful planet. Fears and panic spread through the ether, quicker than any viruses.  Perhaps we can’t help but breathe them in, and carry these energies in our system. 

Yet in times like these, it can be nourishing to close your eyes and sink into the heart space. And trust, and feel, and connect with the love – the gentle love of the mother that will always be there. Have faith and keep loving. Loving ourselves, and sending love, through our heart to others. 

Love has the power to transmute fears.

There is an invisible web of light in which we are all connected. 

Much love & blessings.  Sending protective energy to all. ❤ 

Endings as forces of transformation

Endings are bittersweet. They can feel painful, daunting; as the people/place/things that we are so accustomed to will be detached from our physical experience. Perhaps forever? As once the circumstances change, things are never quite the same. And there is an uncertainty to it. How will things turn out when I leave this relationship? What will remain if our connection is no longer being housed within these perimeters? Whether it is a marriage, a work situation, a partnership, or a social club. It is strange, as a soul living a human life, to fathom the circumstances of change in the physical, three-dimensional reality.

Yet in spirit, as soul, we are never separate. Separation is an illusion. We are always and forever connected, we are all One. 

Such interesting moments to ponder, to rest in the space between endings and beginning. As I slow down and really savor these moments, these deep feelings, I found something precious. The emotions that brought up during times of endings and beginnings are powerful. So powerful that oftentimes it felt overpowering, too much to feel, too much for our delicate system to hold.

Yet, as I get curious and breath into the moments of unknown. As I think, feel, and embody these changes in movement, I find preciousness. The relational context is transforming to a different form. And all we have to do is to love, trust, and let go. The problem is, and have always been, our attachment. Which, I guess is our work here as soul living as human to learn, and perfect. To be able to merge when we need to, and re-emerge when it is time. Again and again.

Truly, it’s all beautiful experiences. The former co-workers whom I worked closely with, more than 10 years ago, are now my really good friends. Though we don’t see each other often. The past lover, partner, and friends who no longer exist in my physical space on a regular basis might be orbiting in a different energetic space, dancing their own dances. Yet the impact of these relationships, the imprint on my heart through these soulful contacts remain – and they helped me grow into the being that I am today.  

And, in this empty space between endings and beginnings, I get to pause, reflect, and decide how I’d like to be, how I’d like to feel, and what I’d like to create in this physical reality. Endings are  really blessings in disguise.  

 

 

On Radical Self Love

I am learning to love myself, all over again.

Having some space to myself for the past week has given me new perspectives on how to love myself. To love myself means to make space for what’s nourishing for my soul and my body. To eat heathy, get rest when I need to, make space for meditation and contemplations, and to review what’s the most important in my life.

Oftentimes we are operating in an autopilot. Chasing after our tails like a silly doggie, getting stuck in endless drama that doesn’t really mean anything in the end. It is important, and essential to make time to pause in between breath. For hidden within the daily mundane moments are divine messages, but we have to be quiet in order to listen. To become aware of our emotions; our anger, jealousy, irritation, greed, and/or feeling of competitiveness. And it is important to love ourselves even when we are experiencing these darker emotions. For we are spirit having a human experience, and being human is about embracing and mastering the dance between the light and the dark realm.

But yes, I am re-learning this art of self love. And I have to admit that this is very healing and beautiful. For self love calls for radical acceptance. And I love and adore myself just as I am. This love is unwavering and everlasting, and it doesn’t matter what other people or the society think. It doesn’t matter whether I succeed or fail in a task. I love myself regardless, and am committed to taking the best care of me. 

And you? How are relating to yourself? 

The Strange Man with a Mask – seeing through illusions and letting go of the past

Few nights ago, I dreamt of a friend who recently passed away. In the dream, I visited him at the hospital and found him standing to the left of the door, his face covered with a mask but I could still see his mouth – with a wry smile on his face. A shocking appearance, but strangely familiar also. Where have I seen this smile? Was it from him, or was it from some other human I’ve met in this planet?

Anyhow, I walked into the unit, and saw the doctors and nurses next to his hospital bed. And I discovered that, he was there, but missing. What does that mean? I was told that he was there, but he wasn’t really there anymore. “Since he had been gone for 10 days, we would have to destroy his body”. The doctor announced. I was devastated, crushed. “No… “, I exclaimed. But the decision had already been made. And I woke up, my body still vibrating with the visceral feeling in the dream state – the spooky appearance of him standing next me, and the uncanny occurrence of him being there, but missing.

What is this all about? As I reminisced the content, the feeling tone,  and the energies of this dream, I realized that – what is gone, is forever gone. This dream holds an important lesson for me. How many times have I held on to the past, the sweet memories of someone I loved, and dwell in the realm of imagination? The imaginative world is powerful, yet, it will not become our grounded reality until we pour our creative energies into manifesting it.

Too often, we allow the sweet memories of the past in clouding our perception – to discern reality from illusions. For the sweet nectar of the past is seductive, and it can be heartbreaking to see and acknowledge the naked truth. Letting go is not easy. It feel as if we are reaching into our heart, pulling out a piece of the tissue we shared with the beloved. It hurts, and we may even bleed a little. For this is a conscious choosing of an ending, of a clear cut of the emotional cords that once connected us. Yet, we shall live through this , as we endure this heartache. As our cells will regenerate, when we allow ourselves to feel the difficult emotions, while we continue to nurture and nourish our soul with love and kindness. 

And we will continue to evolve, to grow into a more conscious being, as we learn and thrive through new love, and new mistakes we make. And even if we forget, and we let go, the impact of these past, present, and future connections are forever engraved upon our soul. We need not worry for the impending loss, or indulge in obsession –  to hold on tight or dwell in the pool. For what we have lost, will always come around in a different form. Perhaps, we could let the flow of water guide us, and lean backward on the dolphins. Our heart shining with the reflective light, as our hands open to receive – the magic of the rainbow.

With love and blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hang in there – dear fuchsia.

There is a beauty in everything.

When I was a little kid, my dad would take me to the park and let me play, freely. While he chat with his brother or hang out on his own, under the tree. He seemed to have a rich inner world where he was content in engaging with his thoughts for hours. At times, I wondered if he was aware of me, tagging along on his path.

And there I was, exploring the world – the playground, joyfully, on my own. The mysterious little girl with a flute, the group of mean kids who dominated the ground, the random stranger who tried to be close and told me weird stories. This is the predicament about being able to roam around without a helicopter parent, there were tremendous pleasure in the random encounters and adventures, yet there were also these hidden danger in the lush green battle ground. 

Anyhow, that was my early life and I loved it. I loved being able to run around, explore freely, talk to anyone I wanted to, and played the swing as high as I could. As if I was flying, well, until I literally lost my hold of the handle, and flew across the ground. I hit my head on the concrete. My head was bleeding, hard. 

My little mind automatically rehearsed the worst scenario, in preparation of what’s to come- someone calling the ambulance, paramedics got here in lightning speed, being rushed into the emergency room. I guess I do tend to have a vivid, dramatic imagination. 

Nevertheless, my act of clumsiness finally caught my dad’s attention. And what happened next was far different than what I imagined. I was told to get up, and walked over to the pharmacy in the neighborhood, where the clerk was asked to disinfect and put a bandaid on my wound. And then, we went home, as if nothing major happened.

I guess from that point on, I got used to trekking the field of life, riding through the ups and downs, and sometimes – enduring the breaking and bleeding of my heart, quietly and gracefully. I continue to live, to perform the daily tasks, to complete my work calmly even when fire is blazing in the background. 

Now I realize how powerful a grip this was – the childhood experience. The external mirroring we received from the caretakers, sent a message wired deep into my psyche, influencing the way I treat myself and expect myself to be treated. Until the day comes, when I am finally ready to dig my hand into the clumps of psychic entanglements. Loosening the knots and study attentively and carefully, the wiring – extending and reshaping the twisted part.

And here I learnt, there is a beauty in every thing, in every experience. And there’s a softness to be found in strength and resilient. As if a yellow fuchsia, dancing with the angels, while hanging in the wind. 

 

 

Love with Integrity – Speaking up for Justice with kindness and compassion

In moments of life when things seem to be getting chaotic, when I feel bombarded by challenges and chaos, when my world seems to be turning upside down, I would make space for solitude, to breathe, center myself and reflect, go for a walk, and allow nature to speak to me. And the universe would let me know , ” All is well.”

The universe speaks to you by metaphor, by energies, by the synchronistic magical moments, by the encounters of kind and compassionate beings who are really angels in human form – the earth angels surround us and providing what we need. Carl Jung says, ” In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorders a secret order.” This is a deeply felt experience that I have, when I swim in the chaotic water, uncovering the truths beneath ugly facade.  The seemingly random broken pieces would somehow fall into places, as if a puzzle being put together by unseen forces, while the hidden truth slowly reveal themselves – for those who have eyes to see, and ears to listen.

Changes do not scare, or upset me. As, I believe, changes is the constant – it is the law of the universe. But one thing I do value is integrity – to be truthful and honest in our words and our deeds. To follow through with one’s promises and be accountable for one’s responsibilities. To tell things as it is, as much as one’s able to, instead of making up stories in order to manipulate. Integrity is an important quality – of any human being, especially those who choose to live in collaboration with others. 

In Theravāda Buddhism, one of the 7 virtues is Sīla pāramī : virtue, morality, proper conduct. To me, having integrity – being kind and honest with others is good moral. And I guess, lately, I’ve discovered that there are people who have taken the bodhisattva vows – do not practice proper conduct and virtue in their daily lives. It honestly hurt my heart to realize this, but at the same time, I also understand that we are all doing the best we can, at this very moment.

I guess, this is lesson in life – in love and discernment. There are times in life when we have to speak up against injustice, when we have to confront people/organizations who are being unjust and dishonest. This is not done out of hatred or anger, but of love and compassion. For this life is a class, and  we are all learning with and from each other, in our interconnected web of fate that we weave each day.

 

I’ll finish with a poem I love. 

 

The Guest house – by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. 

Transitions – An intriguing time of Uncertainties and Possibilties

The topic of transition seems to be the theme song of the season – this season of life, this moment of change. Many big changes are happening, internally and externally, with our own life and the life of others around us, individually and globally. 

This time of change can be overwhelming and disorienting. For instance, as circumstances around us changes, our role as a human being often changes accordingly. All of a sudden, the position we have accustomed to, the role we’ve  identified as, does not belong to us anymore. In a split second, our identity is shaken up. Who am I, if I am not the doctor treating patients in this agency? Who am I, if I am no longer in this relationship, being connected to this family system? How am I supposed to act, to be, when I am no longer with my community, whom I sometimes feel annoyed with but at the same time shared a familiar ground with for years?

Transitions in life shake us up, and made us realize that this identity that we hold on to is not I. This is not I. I am not the body associated with the image of the picture of me. For my body shall decay, and I do not have ultimately control over when it will stop working.  Time after time, as we go through various transitions, our own or others, we begin to realize the impermanence of the roles we take on, the circumstances around us, the body we inhabit. 

Many years ago I went to my first 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat. It was the first time I have ever meditated. I drove up to this site in Kelseyville with other meditators I just met, and spent 10 days in silence. Waking up each day at 5am, following a straight schedule, diet, and percepts of morality, I sat crossed legged in the meditation hall for many hours each day, paying attention to my breath and sensations in my body. 

I remember we were not supposed to move at all during the hour long group meditations. It was extremely uncomfortable and excruciating. To be feeling all these pain in my body and not move – to me it was tasting suffering, seriously. But it was in that process that I started to practice, in paying attention to what is there, and let it go. For hours after hours, days after days, I continued scanning my body, feeling all the sensations. Whether it was tensions, pain, or the joyful feelings of chills when energy was pulsating through my body, I practiced to simply notice it and let it go – with no aversion and no attachment. 

This is the concept of Anicca in Buddhism – the doctrine of impermanence. The arising and passing away of all things in this world. And our suffering is stemming from grasping for the pleasurable, and aversion of the pain. 

Transitions are exciting and important time, as we temporarily leave one identity and await our next role, next assignment. And if we can let go of fear – the often debilitating fear of uncertainties, but to breathe deeply and rest in our heart, where our soul lives. We will realize that it is all good. Beyond the corner of our eyes, in the shimmering universe, there is a future unraveling – for our joy, our love, and our expansion. This is but a phase in life where we expands, to something different. This is a time to trust in the unknown, and keep following the heart, with the deepest faith that – the universe got our back. The best is yet to come.

 

Let go of everything, and you will have everything.

 

The Healing Power of Words – feelings, reflections, text therapy

I’ve experienced a sudden loss of a dear friend recently. It was horrible, tragic, and heartbreaking, to say the least. It was an unforgettable scene, with all of us being there, weeping, and talking ceaselessly to our unconscious friend at the ICU, I was once again reminded of the fragility, the impermanence of life. 

Yes, this human life is impermanent. This body that my soul is residing in will stop working one day, and decay. And what, what remains? 

The hardest part of witnessing the unconsciousness, and eventual death of someone you care about is that –  there’s nothing much you can do. The feelings of helplessness was extremely unpleasant, and strange. I guess, I am just so used to having controls, or living in the illusions that I have controls over situations.

Perhaps it was out of my habitual pattern, to stay busy and avoid facing my feelings, my heartache, and my grief, I started to put together a little photo book, as a little gift for his family. 

As I started to gather photos from my friends, to put together this album, I received one that feels very very special. It was a picture of a post-it note he had written. It was a powerful one, at least to me, to see his writing and to feel him again. It was as if his message in this little handwritten note somehow came alive. His spirit present, and we can almost hear him speak these words again. Who would’ve known that a little post-it note would hold such treasure?

I was suddenly reminded of the moment when I was at my father’s apartment alone, going through his belongings after he suddenly passed away. I was amazed, and my heart touched when I saw that he had kept a random message that I’ve written for him, as if it was a treasure. It was in that moment which I realized, that I mattered. It was a very healing moment for me as I tried to come to terms with his departure. 

Yes, I love to write. I love words. And I have even started working as a text therapist in addition to my more traditional practices. To be honest, I was very skeptical of the validity of text therapy before I gave it a try.  And now? I’m loving it, and I am amazed by the deep emotional process that happens between me and my clients, between the exchanges of written words. It is such a beautiful way in connecting and working through deep emotional wounds. 

P.S. If you’d like to work with me through text therapy, and/or remotely through video sessions, I am on the talkspace.com platform. Just request me when you talk to the matching therapist.  (You do have to be a California resident, though. As it is where I am licensed.)

May you be blessed with words.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: