The gem

I’ve gotten used to meditate first thing after I wake up, no matter how awful I’ve felt, especially over the last couple of months.

I’m nowhere near the stage of enlightenment. And Ten minutes seems to be the max I can handle to persist on a daily basis.

With the Drip by Drip mindset in mind, I’m now on a 118 streak, recorded by the meditation app.

What I love most about it is the story at the end of every guided session.

Today’s story is so good, that for a cat lover I have to quote verbatim here.

In India, I was living in a little hut, about six feet by seven feet. It had a canvas flap instead of a door.

I was sitting on my bed meditating, and a cat wandered in and plopped down on my lap. I took the cat and tossed it out the door. Ten seconds later it was back on my lap.

We got into a sort of dance, this cat and I…

I tossed it out because I was trying to meditate, to get enlightened. But the cat kept returning. I was getting more and more irritated, more and more annoyed with the persistence of the cat.

Finally, after about a half-hour of this coming in and tossing out, I had to surrender. There was nothing else to do. There was no way to block off the door.

I sat there, the cat came back in, and it got on my lap. But I did not do anything. I just let go. Thirty seconds later the cat got up and walked out.

So, you see, our teachers come in many forms.

― Joseph Goldstein

Soon I will be able to hold my cat in my arms. I kind of look forward to it, which was utterly unthinkable only a month ago.

The things I’ll be doing. The adventure I’ll embark on.

Thanks for the curve ball, Life.


Yours truly,

PS. Listen to the latest RBYZ podcast if you haven’t already. The guest is truly one of a kind! Episode show notes here.
PPS. Clocked in 482 words. Tallying 61,754 words. 14.12 days remaining.



Next time

I can’t remember the last time I snapped any photo of LA.

Maybe I had grown complacent…

Maybe I had gotten used to the expat experience…

Truth is, I just wanted to fit in, so desperately, that I never called myself one.

Now deadlocked with my inescapable fate, I had to reacquaint myself with this term I so vehemently rejected…

We had a beautiful dusk here yesterday. I snapped a photo with my eyes and stored it my memory drive.

I was strolling with my dear friend, who helped me move when I first got here, whom would be the first featured guest on my podcast, premiering next Tuesday, August 28.


I would be angry.

Was the first thing he said when he came up to my studio apartment.


“That you can’t stay here when you clearly wanted to.”

“Trust me, I was pretty frustrated last year. I couldn’t write.”

We talked about anything and everything. I asked him to record an answer for me, which has become the #RBYZ Trademarked question.

Then we talked some more as we walked the neighborhood.

He didn’t need to probe or ask how I was holding up.

I’ve become quite an expert in opening up. I’m rockin’ this podcast about those would-be shameful hours, and blogging makes me shame-free, almost.

“I remember thinking about taking a pill or something so I didn’t have to deal with the mess the next day. I’m just so freaking exhausted.”

He simply listened.

And that’s all I need.

I thought I was a warrior, but it dawned on me that I was picking the wrong battles for the last three years straight:

  • Moving four times within the first months I landed in LAX;
  • Filing a lawsuit against my former landlady, the quintessence of a cunt;
  • Vexed by my former ungrateful roommates who did nothing to contribute other than to complain. When I got our money back, I couldn’t recall a proper ‘thank you’ from the spoiled little brats;
  • Begging for just a five-minute meeting with my billionaire former boss when I didn’t get the work visa lottery…
  • If I knew my ex-boss would let me go a month later, I might not have paid 2.5 G to renew my student status awaiting him to grace me with his presence while not getting not a dime since June 1 because of my visa*;
  • *Thanks to the US immigration laws, foreign students aren’t allowed to work or get paid on paper. They can’t even land free internships…
  • By the way, do you know just how hard it is to get an artist visa as a writer fresh off film school?
  • But even if I did get to stay, what about dinero? How else would I survive the California Dreamin’?

God forbid I’m not a Crazy Rich Asian.

So when my current landlord decided to oust me for his little scheme last Thursday, I was bone-tired. I didn’t have an ounce of energy left. I was depleted.

My lawyer friend looked at the contract and got me a 60-day notice instead of the landlord’s original 30-days.

But I’d already decided to return to China, thanks to the wise words of my psychologist friend, Barbara Kiao.  And without the lovely Angels I’ve befriended in LA, maybe I might have ended up in the Cuckoo’s Nest already…


As I finished editing the pilot episode late last night, I texted my friend, thanking for dropping by.  At the time, he was at his friend’s birthday party.  Surprisingly, he texted back:

Don’t forget: you’re a funny, kind, and beautiful person. You have tons of adventures ahead of you and I’d be honored to work with you again some day.

The warmth coursed through my artery and pumped into my heart, my weary wrinkled heart.

“Not someday. Soon. I wish you said it in my face though.” I reprimanded.

He promised he would next time.

Until next time then.


Yours truly,

Five days later

Five days ago, I was let go.

Five days later, I let it go.

Five days ago, I was depressed.

Five days later, I’m decompressed.

Five days ago, I was full of dread.

Five days later, I’m full of dreams.

Five days ago, I recoiled in fear.

Five days later, I allow myself to dare.

Five days ago, I played victim.

Five days later, I’m my own hero.

Five days ago, I stuffed down a whole pint of mint chip ice cream.

Five days later, I’m content with the organic salad and Paul Newman dressing.

Five days ago, I couldn’t drag myself out of the apartment.

Five days later, I beg my trainer to kick my ass till I’m out of his hair.

Five days ago, you tell me five days later I would be happy and free. I might ask you to fuck off.

Five days later, I look back at myself from five days ago. I have trouble recognizing that person.

Five days,
120 hours later,
I shine like a new penny.

Make it count.


Yours truly,

PS. I’ve decided to quit my free UCLA Extension course. And I do it out of love.

A Beautiful Day in LA

Okay, I’ve been bitch and moan these days.

Having lived in California for half a year now, I have higher standard for the weather. Last few days were windy, cloudy and foggy. Then it rained overnight yesterday. Great.

When I got up this morning, the sun was dazzling.

I decided not to stay inside all day. I went to the nearest Mc’Donald’s for breakfast and enjoyed the perks of living in California.

Cue the background music: California Dreamin’.

Getting back in touch with nature makes me feel content.
I feel something that I thought was dead inside is growing again.
I also feel I can be more tolerant towards the people who are just different.
I feel my consciousness expanding.

I will walk more often as this hectic quarter comes to an end.

Thank you, California.


Much love from me,
Whiny Writer

Again? Again.

Let me begin with a brilliant quote from JK Rowling —

Humans have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them. 
via Albus Dumbledore

I don’t know why people make the same mistake again and again. But I just caught myself repeating the same stupid mistake recently. Worst of all, I don’t even regret it, or think it is ‘stupid’ or a ‘mistake.’ To me at the time, it was a conscious choice.


You see it coming. You know the consequences. But still, you do absolutely nothing to prevent it from happening. You just let it happen. You even encourage it to happen.

But why? I was tempted. I didn’t try to fight it. I felt good even — at least for a while. I promised myself that I wouldn’t do it ever again. But if circumstances allow, it may happen again. I don’t trust my judgement. I need to call upon my stronger will, my higher self to interfere.

In most cases, if you don’t stop it now, the collateral damage may be too much to cope with later. That I know.

Matthieu Ricard, Buddhist monk, the happiest man in the world says —

Happiness is not the pursuit of an endless succession of experiences. That’s a recipe for exhaustion more than happiness. 
Happiness is a way of being
The challenge is to let that way of being overtake all other emotional states.

I will try. I will try.

This time, I mean business.

I will end this note with another quote from JK Rowling —

We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. 
What matters is the part we choose to act on
That’s who we really are. 
via Sirius Black